In an effort to create a brand story, some companies tend to confuse the concept by simply reiterating an historical narrative of the brand, coupled with content. While the brand story does touch on marketing, and infuses the company’s history, a brand story is more involved, going beyond what’s presented in marketing material and, instead, providing a complete illustration of the brand.
The Brand Story, Defined
A brand story is a cohesive narrative that includes facts, feelings, and the history that created the business. It is independent of traditional advertising. Instead of showing and telling about the company, it uses a story to inspire an emotion or reaction from clients, buyers, and shareholders.
The brand story has three major ingredients:
It’s impactful and meaningful. Your customers are dealing with content shock – there is a myriad of brands vying for their attention, hopping on the latest marketing trend to try and grab their attention. Instead of spending all your energy on fleeting marketing trends, focus on what people actually care about. Every piece of content should tell the story of your organization and brand, seamlessly attaching your humanity to the brand you are selling.
It’s personal and emotional. You can use the brand story to be educational or inspirational. But for it to be impactful, it needs to be personal. A strong brand story stimulates empathy and affects people. For example, if you are selling an automated email service, focus on how it makes your customers’ lives easier and more stress-free. If you can trigger an emotion of inspiration or empathy within the first paragraph of your brand story, you are off to a great start!
Most importantly, it’s authentic. When you share your brand story, people should be able to recognize that it is your story: a story about the brand, what it stands for, and its mission. Your story is the foundation of your brand and any sign of inauthenticity could render that foundation unsound.
Benefits of a Brand Story
A brand story helps to build memories, taking advantage of human psychology. We are primed to remember stories. As a brand, take advantage of that! That impact that stories have on human emotion does not change even when used in marketing material. You do not, however, have to create a brand story that is a tear-jerker, you just have to create a story that is accessible and relatable to your target.
The brand story is also a natural motivator. It should encourage action, emotion, or motivation. If your call to action is to make your readers remember your brand, then, for example, it will be useful to recant your brand story, sprinkled with humor or even an embarrassing account. It absolutely makes the brand more relatable and authentic.
Starting a Brand Story
Take your notepad and create a long-term story arc. The story of your company and brand starts with the founder and the reason he or she started or participated in the company. Do not look over any details – write the story like it is an historical account, including anecdotes, compelling facts, and a testimony. Recall the unique challenges that your story’s hero had to go through and overcome.
Develop a statement. You are not a published author and there are elements to storytelling that are more suited to the halls of your local library. While telling your brand’s story, make sure that you stay focused on a statement that sums up why your company exists in the first place. It should be creative – it is different from your mission statement. A brand statement will consider what matters most to your customers, and the deeper purpose of the organization.
Consistency is important. Keep your brand story, the values of your company, and advertising consistent. Your prospective customers are very good at spotting a brand that is not being genuine. The relationships that you are trying to build will be compromised if customers feel like you are fluffing your story, or are just interested in pulling on their heartstrings for financial gain. Inconsistent behavior will only result in a loss of customers.
Get your audience’s attention and be effective in your storytelling. You can do that by intimately knowing your audience. What demographics are you targeting? What demographic are you surprised has become receptive to your message? What motivates them? Build your stories in such a way that they will spark interest from your followers.
Lastly, track your links and figure out where your posts are popping up. There, you’ll find the brand story becomes part of the conversation on social media, forums, and other websites.
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