Since the beginning of time, stories have been used to communicate values, ideas and what not. Great brands find creative ways to articulate and tell their stories. It is little wonder why most successful entrepreneurs are well versed in the art of speaking and storytelling. Creating a compelling brand story is the key to attracting, sustaining and retaining customers for the long haul.
Your products, history, quality, pricing, positioning and above all, what people say about your brand, would mostly influence your brand story. Hence, it is imperative to build a community of brand advocates who can support your brand story.
This article reiterates what a brand story is, why your company needs it, and steps to creating your brand story.
Your brand story is usually a narrative that conveys the totality of your brand- who you are, what you do, your target audience, and the purpose for which your brand was created. Your story is the foundation on which your company thrives. A brand story, unlike traditional advertising, is meant to magnet interest and elicit positive reactions from your target audience. Every business owner has a story to tell which could stem from the history of the organization, the purpose for its existence and the larger goal in view.
Why does your company need a brand story?
As a result of the linear communication fostered by traditional marketing, consumers became less trusting of brands. In 2014, a survey carried out by the Edelman Brandshare revealed that a majority of customers feel brands are only interested in their selfish desire to maximize profits. According to the survey results, 87% of consumers want more meaningful interactions with brands.
Sharing your brand story is very important because it helps you:
Build a better connection with consumers- you have an opportunity to tell them who you are and what you want to help them with.
Create a level of openness that generates confidence and trust in your brand.
Control to an extent, how your consumers feel about you. Without a brand story, consumers will feel free to think the worst of your brand, or even just ignore.
Connect with your consumers in a way that appeals to their emotions.
Above all, your brand story engages your audiences on a stronger level and entices them to patronize your brand over your competitors.
Steps to creating a captivating brand story
Brand stories open the door to an authentic connection between your brand and its customers. Customers want to know why they should patronize you instead of other brands. The moment you are able to tell them why with a real story, you inspire them to support your brand.
A brand story that is captivating can be the entry point of new customers into your loyal customer base. The following steps are crucial to creating a captivating brand story:
Build your brand
Before you begin to think of creating a brand story, you must have a brand for which you are creating the story. One of the biggest goals for building a brand is to be unique among the competition. Work with your team to create a brand identity that gives customers reasons to patronize your brand. Feel free to infuse your story with the personality of you and your team, it humanizes your brand. Entice your customers with value other brands can not give them. All these present you with a foundation for writing your brand story.
Know your target customers
The most important aspect of creating a brand story is understanding how to effectively express it to your audience. The first step towards doing this is knowing who your target customers are.
Your brand story should be tailored to suit your audience. Building a community of people with interests similar to yours is one way you can better attract and engage your target customers. When you know exactly what your customers want, and what forms of content they would prefer, you would easily and effectively express your brand to them.
Make meaningful connection
Your brand story is not necessarily a story about your company, rather the goal of your story is to create a connection with your customers. Make sure your brand story speaks volumes on how well you relate to your customers. When customers can relate to your story, you have built trust.
Put customer interest first
Let your brand story portray your goals to be aligned with customers’ interest. Customers want to know if you care about their interests before they agree to support your brand. Try as much as possible to reiterate the values that appeal the most to your customers. This is feasible when you know your target customers
Tell the true story
Always employ full integrity in telling your brand story. Most organizations that have been dishonest with their stories have ended up destroying the loyalty and trust their customers had in them. Customer satisfaction and retention comes as a result of consistent integrity, hence, it is advisable to tell a story which your brand can deliver.
Include human element
Including a human element in your brand story humanizes your brand and makes it relatable to customers. It could be your success story, how you started, the need you aim to satisfy, how everyone in your team contributed, what challenges your brand faced, and how it still became a success. Customers are known to identify with brands who tell stories they can relate with. However, make it easy to understand, short, and clear.
Strive to engage your audience
When your brand story is focused on appealing to your audience’s emotions, it becomes more engaging and fascinating. Audience will crave to be a part of your story and with time and consistency, it will yield customer loyalty. List the facts surrounding the making of your brand and tell your story in ways that invoke intense interest from your audience.
Tip: Creating your brand story is all about managing customers perception about your brand. If you tell your story in a way that shows you value your customers, it goes a long way to create positive perceptions in their minds.
Get an experienced brand designer to create an authentic brand story with visuals that convey your brand’s vision. Typography and color can also be used to enhance the visuals. The components of your brand story may vary, but here’s a guideline as to what to include:
Beginning, middle, and end to your brand story
Brand voice and tone
Mission and vision
The following is a made up simple brand story:
1. Why-Problem or Opportunity
One day after back-to-back football practice with my team, most of the guys were so tired but John felt worse. He could not move his body as his muscles were aching and he was dehydrated.
2. Who- Hero of the story
At practice, the next day, John and some other guys didn’t show up. That wouldn’t do well for our team’s performance so, I decided to find a way we can all overcome fatigue after practice.
3. How the Hero Overcame-Mission
I worked tirelessly for the next five years, trying to develop a formula that enhances hydration and provides fast muscle delivery
4. What- Solution
POWER MIX is born!! -An energy drink and great hydrator with the right muscle recovery nutrients. With POWER MIX, my team and I, plus other teams around the world no longer experience sickening fatigue after regular practice.
5. Success-Brand Values/Principles
Just like how we eventually created our drink, do not quit even when you aren’t getting what you want. Keep trying.
Consistency is key.
That’s it. Simple stories such as the one made up are better. Science says so, and experience affirms it. While we may adore the complexity of a Harry Potter plot, we can’t import that same complex model into the brand story. We need simplicity.
All stories to be told have a beginning, a middle, and an end. The five-part model mentioned above carries this natural progression beginning with the ‘why’ of the story- an identified public need you want to proffer solution to, then it goes on to the ‘Who’-who actually feels a need to provide people with a different experience. A good test of authenticity is if you can humanize your story. The ‘How’ part talks about the mission and effort of the hero, the work he put in and then the last part, the ‘What’ when a new product is born to make things easier for all people in shoes like that of John and his teammates. The brand values are not left out in the story as well. The tone of the story above is a mix of casual at the beginning and enthusiastic at the end. The tone represents your entire brand. It comprises the tone of voice that is used, the visuals, style of writing, typography, use of video or animation and photographs. It is advisable to put adequate thought into these components as they all define the brand’s experience.
Successful brands all have stories, take Toms shoes for example, with their One for One mission to donate a pair of shoes to a child for every pair sold. Their story shows their commitment to social good and inspires people. People will patronize the brand knowing that some child somewhere will benefit from it. Your story should give people reasons to patronize you, reasons that transcend maximizing profits. Customers will want to patronize your brand if your story inspires them enough. Also, your workers should be trained on the doctrines of your brand so that they have a clear understanding of your brand’s mission and vision. Ultimately, if your brand story is fascinating, and tailored to suit your target customers, there’s ample opportunity for an increase in the growth potential of your brand.
We help Brands rediscover their purpose through training in four areas of Brand Strategy, Internal Brand, Branded Customer Experience and Sales & Marketing. We help you develop growth-led businesses with value. Let’s talk. Call us at +65 9271 6973 or Email us at Jerome@jeromejoseph.com.