Nothing captures the imagination like a well-told story. We’re hardwired to be attracted to them, and when it comes to promoting your business - audiences are much more inclined to connect with a good story than a good product.
In the past, companies were just cold entities that supplied us with goods. But these days, that’s not enough to get people to engaged with your brand. Instead, customers are attracted to brands they can relate to, brands that interest them - brands with a great narrative to tell.
Telling a compelling story is just one aspect of good marketing. Before you begin, keep in mind that you'll eventually want to create your own website, content and other marketing assets to provide a home for your brand’s story, and a place for people to interact with it.
What is a brand story
Your brand story is the narrative of your company and an important part of your #brand identity. While many brands choose to highlight the story of their inception, or that of their founders - you don’t have to be limited by these guidelines. Think outside the box and expand the limits of your creativity - just make sure it’s intriguing and relates to the qualities of your brand.
A good brand story is meant to communicate who you are. This is true for any brand, be it a company, organization or a personal #brand. That means it should encompass the values and ideals your brand represents. Your story is what connects your branding efforts with one another, creating a bridge between your mission statement, brand style, and marketing campaigns.
Another goal of your brand story to humanize your business, making sure people can connect with it, and fostering a sense of familiarity and personality. Plan on updating your story periodically - the world never stops changing, and neither should your brand - so don’t hesitate to adapt it to fit current times.
Why do you need a brand story
Telling a compelling brand story can get people interested in your company, creating an unforgettable impression. This is a major part of building a brand. You should always strive to be the first brand in people’s minds when they seek out the products or services you provide.
While gaining recognition for your brand is a must, that's not all it’s about. Your brand story should give audiences something to relate to and support in addition to providing a good narrative. This is crucial for fostering trust and familiarity with potential customers.
At the end of the day, branding is a tool used to grow your audience and increase sales within a competitive market. Today, there are endless options for any given product or service, so people prefer to interact with brands that hold the same values as them. In fact, according to some researchers, shoppers are 55% more likely to buy products from brands with a story they like.
What makes a good brand story?
It takes planning and thought to create a brand story that will be effective. A well-crafted brand story should include these principles:
Create an emotional connection
Brand storytelling is all about connecting with your audience. The best way to do this by honing in on shared ideals and values.
You can achieve this by identifying your brand's core values and incorporating these into your brand story. For example, your brand story could revolve around a love for nature, and therefore your story emphasize the importance of sustainability in your product.
By forming a shared worldview with your customers, you can create an association between your brand and the ideals you stand for. You can form a bond over practically anything people feel strongly about. This can be as simple as an aesthetic view or a passion for a product, activity or idea.
Show your human side
You want people to feel as if your brand is a person - with a personality, emotion and an opinion. This is the best way to give your brand a voice that will connect with others. Ultimately, your brand story will be used to communicate these characteristics.
A good way to do this is by presenting the actual people behind the brand. This doesn’t have to be limited to the company’s founders - your story could be told through your employees and customers too.
Telling your story is a powerful tool, but make sure you can stand behind it. People can recognize when a brand isn’t authentic - and it’s not an attractive quality. On the other hand, customers appreciate brands that are true to themselves and honest to their customers, and will be more likely forge a loyal relationship with an authentic message.
Keep it succinct
Your story should also be easily digestible. Most people don’t have time (or the will) to read 1,000 words on your brand. Try to encapsulate all you want to say in two or three simple points. That’s more than enough to communicate a message that will resonate.
Highlight the benefits of your product or services
At the end of the day, telling your brand story is about promoting your product. A successful brand story will connect to your product or services.
In fact, your product and story are part of one package. While it’s crucial to form a bond between your brand and your audience, it’s also important to highlight the product itself. Use your story to tell people what they can expect from your brand by stating what you can do for them and how your products or services will improve their lives.
How to create your brand story in 4 steps
Your brand story is an integral part of your company, so you should take time to brainstorm ideas and flesh out an accurate narrative. These steps will help guide you:
01. Define your message
Before you build your story, you should understand what you want to convey. It’s easier to craft a story around a clearly defined message. To start off, your message should answer each of these questions in a sentence or two:
What does your brand do?
You already know what products or services you provide. But that’s just the surface of what you do.
Every product has an additional value or impact on whoever buys it, and this is a critical ingredient of your brand's story. Take board games, for example. The value isn’t in the pieces themselves or the rules of the game, but in bringing people together to have fun
Why do you do it?
Most people prefer to buy products from a brand with an agenda they believe in.
Define a higher purpose for your brand, one that people can relate to. This means defining what drives your brand and how it benefits others. You will attract more customers by giving them a reason to connect with - and support - you.
Who are you?
You don’t want your brand story to be all about business, products and sales. Customers like brands that have a personality, and one of the best ways to do this is by giving a “face” to your company.Your brand identity is an extremely important part of growing your business overall, and should influence your brand’s style, colors, and marketing efforts.
02. Understand your target audience
In order to know what story would work best for your brand, you need to define your target market. This way, you’ll be able to craft the narrative that’s most likely to speak the customers you’re after.
The best way to understand your audience is by talking directly to them about their experience. You can do this by sending out crowd surveys and performing research on their habits. Once you have your target market pinned down, understand who they are as people - think of what your brand can do for them, what language it will use to grab their attention, and what methods you will use to communicate with them.
03. Build your narrative
This is where the brand storytelling begins. At this stage, you need to pinpoint the important aspects of your identity and its message, turning it into a story that will resonate with your audience.
When relevant, it's always good to start from a conflict or struggle that your brand seeks to solve or overcome. Describe what caused you to take action. In general, audiences want to know what made you start your brand.
Next, you should describe how your brand works towards that vision. How do you plan on accomplishing your goals? This part of the brand story should highlight what your brand is doing now, and how it will continue in the future.
Finally, explain how your products will impact people’s lives directly, and in the context of the bigger picture. How will it make their lives better? But also - how will it improve the world?
04. Compose your brand story
Once your brand story story is complete, don't let it gather dust. Find the right platforms to broadcast it. This might mean posting a series of videos on #YouTube, creating posts for #socialmedia, landing press articles and interviews with relevant publications, and more.
Each form of media should be optimized for its platform in order to accurately communicate your cause and gain attention. In other words, telling your story using video won’t require the same material as a written article, so you’ll have to create relevant content for each outlet.
Don't forget to tell a version of your brand's story on your website, too. One of the best ways to do this is by creating a dedicated About Us page. Remember, your story is a vital part of your brand, and everything your brand does should be in sync with it.