What Is a Brand Story & Why Do You Need One?
Businesses operating in today’s market are realising more and more the power of storytelling to provide cut-through with consumers. The rise of social media and the ever-growing scrutiny on big business practices is prompting companies, big or small, to shape their story and guide the discussions around their brand. Brand stories help to establish a strong connection with the desired audience and build a long-term relationship. The art of story-telling is ancient and has been shown to encourage the audience to ‘feel’ the experience they read or hear, establishing trust and building anticipation around those involved.
Instead of just broad mission statements delivered to mass market, your brand story inserts you right into the conversations of those that are experiencing your brand. Your brand story is not fully in your control though, over-time it will also be shaped by your consumers and their interpretations of your brand. Developing from brand marketing communications and interactions, especially via social media.
The Origin Story
One of the well-known and widely-used aspects of brand storytelling is the origin story. For example, Apple has been able to establish an origin story of somewhat legendary status, there are few people that do not know the origin of Apple in Steve Jobs’ garage. Those consumers also now have an established understanding and connection with Apple driven by that origin story and its consistent brand story ever since. What this origin story allows the business to do however is steer the direction of its brand story and infuse their brand with a recognisable personality for consumers to identify with. It also summarises why you exist. Your origin story, echoed throughout your brand story, explains why you exist. In a short and engaging story, your brand has summed up their initial problem, solution and success. Peppering the story with personality and identifiable figures, you now have a rallying point for your consumers to connect with. As storytelling can steer the consumer conversation, its use in direct and indirect marketing initiatives has become of strategic importance.
What Makes a Brand Story Successful?
Though the story of your brands origin can be an effective foundational tool for your brand, it doesn’t stop there. Your brand story needs to be told, echoed and reinforced throughout your brand lifecycle. An on-going chronicle of brand stories help to shape ‘the’ brand story. As with any branding initiative, consistency is key! We’ve put together a few of the key points to creating a successful brand story to help you get started on creating your own.
1. Honesty & Authenticity – your brand stories need to be rooted in reality. Though you’re creating ‘stories’, you need to be mindful of your consumers. You do not want to deceive or mislead, what you want to achieve is an honest and long-lasting connection that reflects your brand and supports your mission.
2. Add Personality – as mentioned, peppering your brand stories with personality helps to capture your audience and connect with them. Humans connect with humans. A brand story that displays relatable experiences and emotions is much easier to connect with and remember than one void of human characteristics. Whether it be real-life individuals, buyer personas or ideal customers, use relatable characters in a saga of brand stories.
3. Be True to Storytelling – every good story has a beginning, middle and end. This is no different for your brand stories. Open by establishing the setting and introducing your character, move into the middle and present their problem, and finish off with the solution. If you do this well, your reader will share the story and come back for more.
4. Be True to Your Brand – your target audience wants to connect with your brand, don’t confuse them by providing an inconsistent or unrelated story. What you want to provide is a captivating story that your audience can relate to. As Neil Patel puts it, when your audience finishes interacting with your brand story, you want them to say “we relate to you, we understand you, we like you.”
5. Don’t End It – give your readers a reason to come back again. Is there another issue your character can face? Is a follow up needed to see how they’re doing? Whether it’s a content piece or Tweet, when they do come back, reinforce the primary brand story. Provide another engaging piece of content which is consistent with the conversation you’re trying to steer for your brand.
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