Let’s say you meet a new colleague at work; do you decide if you like them immediately? Or do you reserve judgement till you know more about them – like their personality, values, background, goals and so on? Love at first sight sounds romantic and is good for the movies, but in real life, we need information about a person to make a decision to like them. It is the same way for brands; people have specific reasons why they like a brand – and the reasons vary. In fact, the same reasons for which you like a particular brand may be the reasons your friend dislikes it. A good example would be Apple products. Apple fans swear by the closed ecosystem and enhanced privacy that iOS offers, but Android users abhor iOS for those very reasons!
So, how is it that consumers come to know about a brand? It is through the brand story. Human beings have narrated and shared stories since the beginning of civilization; storytelling relaxes the mind in addition to conveying messages.
What is a brand story exactly?
Any brand that is successful crafts a story – a brand narrative that positions it as a unique entity that is able to connect emotionally with customers. It talks about the motivation for starting the business: why you get up every day and do what you do, and why customers should trust you. Think of it as a document that explains what your brand is all about, what it stands for, the difference it strives to make, who it targets, and what its basic personality is. When your new colleague is asked to introduce himself so that others get to know him, he is essentially being asked to narrate his brand story.
The brand story is an inspirational document, not commercial, and it defines the core aspects and personality of the brand. It is not necessary that a brand only has one story – there can be as many stories as the campaigns it runs.
The brand name, logo, colours, and tagline combine together to forge the brand story, and all of them emanate from the central message of the brand story.
What is Brand Storytelling?
A brand story comprises a snapshot of the fundamentals of your brand that defines your vision, mission, values, personality and audience, and is the guidebook for your brand.
Brand storytelling, on the other hand, is how you market your brand – the approach taken to communicate your brand to your audience, in a way that makes the customer feels like they are listening to a story. Brand storytelling combines narrative, information, and creativity to create a robust identity that can help you connect with your audience.
Reasons to Have a Brand Story
A brand story elaborates on what your brand is about and talks about the motivation, thoughts, and emotions behind it. Consumers tend to trust brands they feel emotionally connected to – and a good brand story can help do this. It also:
- Functions as the core brand philosophy, driving the way you do business, your work culture, communication strategy, and more
- Mentions your target audience, their pain points, fears, preferences, expectations and needs
- Outlines your brand personality, defining how your brand will appear to consumers, allowing you to make it unique
How To Write a Brand Story
It is essential that you evaluate your brand objectively along with your target audience and the market, if you want to craft a successful brand story. You need to visualize what your brand is going to be like, and elaborate on it. A brand story offers a product or service to customers; a GREAT brand story offers an experience that is more exciting than humdrum everyday life, and motivates customers to be part of that experience. You’ve got to make them feel that they are missing out on something amazing if they don’t buy or sign up straight away!
Here are a few pointers on creating a successful brand story:
Identify the Background and Problem
Analyse the current state of the market, even the world at large – after all this was necessary during the pandemic. You next have to identify the problem that you’re going to solve. Every story has a hero and a villain. You’re the hero of your story – who or what is the villain? Also, assess how this problem is impacting your target audience.
How will you Solve the Problem?
After identifying the problem, you have to decide how you will address it; you have to give reasons to your audience as to why they should choose you and the solution you provide over that of a competitor.
Simplicity is Key
If you’re looking to forge long-term relationships and build momentum, keep the story simple. Focus on these: the problem, solution, and success. Your brand story, like any story, must have a beginning, a middle, and an end or conclusion. You have to convey why and how you started, the challenges you overcame, the difficulties you faced; the middle should talk about the progress, growth, and the ways and means that were needed to get there; the conclusion here should be the continuing journey of your brand, building enthusiasm in the customer’s mind.
The founder’s personality should shine through! The brand story should sound genuine and authentic, and not like a washed-out version of some other brand! The brand story is not merely your life story, it’s also the reason that the brand is inextricably linked to you, making it unique. People like to interact with and buy from people, and not faceless companies. Ergo, it is critical that the face behind the brand is prominent; now we’re not saying that the founder’s face should be on all marketing campaigns, but allowing customers to see the brand personality and values is what builds trust and loyalty.
What is your ‘Why’?
This is probably the most vital element of a brand; what is the brand’s purpose? Sure, every brand is out there to make money, but there is also a higher purpose; what problem does it seek to resolve? Can it bring about social change? Improve lives? Whatever that ‘why’ may be, make sure that you communicate it to your customers and give them more reasons to buy from you and not your competitor.
Keep it Short
Nobody wants to read epics – attention spans are getting shorter! A brand story should be short and sweet. Stick to one problem that you want to resolve, one broad objective, and talk about those in detail – but not too much detail either. Let the words flow from the heart; be genuine; talk to your consumers. Don’t include lengthy details of products, services, or too many statistics. Let the brand narrative function like an inspirational base for the brand instead.
Now that we have seen the purpose of a brand story and how to create one, let’s take a look at some awesome brand story examples.
Brand Story Examples
This beauty brand talks about redefining standards of beauty for women, wanting to help girls and women build their self-esteem, and using real women instead of models in their ad campaigns.
The iconic face of Colonel Sanders is THE face of KFC – as also its tagline, finger lickin’ good! The brand story mentions how he crafted the wildly popular recipe using secret spices and herbs with the help of a single cook. The humble beginning is something that attracts foodies the world over.
The brand story is written in such a way that it gave a non-biking enthusiast like me the goosebumps. The emotional connect they make with the statement of how four young men lit a cultural revolution in 1903 that would spread far and wide across the globe – pure gold.
Elements of Brand Storytelling
Let’s look at what makes for great brand storytelling:
Define your core values, your target audience, and the tone or voice you want for your brand. This will help you formulate meaningful messages that resonate with customers, letting them know your brand is real and understands their pain points.
Tell customers what your brand can do for them – how you can make their lives better, and how you are better than other brands. If you can save customers time, money, or effort, stress that point and it will help grab their attention.
Connect emotionally with your audience by narrating the founder’s story, how you can help customers with things that trouble them, and so on.
Develop all your campaigns and messaging around your basic values, and be consistent with your storytelling – this helps build trust.
Outstanding Brand Storytelling Examples
- Ikea – this brand tells its story through numerous initiatives, about how it cares for its customers and the planet. Their website says that while they have come a long way from their humble beginnings, their basic goal still stays the same: helping people create a better daily life.
- Coca-Cola – over 9 decades ago, this globally popular drink brought Santa Claus to life in their Christmas ads – and it was a masterstroke. To be seen in the company of the one figure who embodied the spirit of Christmas, joy, laughter, and magic… what could have been more powerful?
- Nike – ‘Just Do It’! This is such a motivational tagline, and so short and simple that anyone can remember it. It spurs people to, well, just do it! To get up and get moving. Daily inspiration to work out.
Your brand story is the guidebook that forms the base for your brand and encompasses the ideals you should strive for, the kind of business you should run and the community you cultivate. Hence, it is critical that you write not just a good, but a great brand story.
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