Gone are the days of pushy, hard-sell advertising focused purely on a transaction. Most people are put off by and will forget a traditional ad several hours later, if not sooner. In today’s market, consumer decisions are largely based on whether or not they feel personally invested in a company.
That’s why connecting with your audience through a brand story is so important. Your brand story opens the door to connect authentically and engage people on a deeper level. Connection— isn’t that what makes stories so powerful? And today’s consumers don’t just want a transaction. They want to feel like they are a part of a larger narrative even when shopping. (If that in and of itself is as interesting to you as it is to us, you can read a little bit about that in last month’s blog as well.)
So, if this brand story is so important, we should probably tell you what it is, right?
What is a Brand Story?
A brand story defines the purpose of your business to consumers. It’s a thoughtful narrative that shares both facts and feelings associated with your brand. Unlike traditional advertising, which is essentially just show and tell, your story is meant to inspire connection.
Your “story” is always unfolding, meaning that it’s not wrapped up into a 3-minute inspirational video or explained quickly in an Instagram caption. Instead, it should be told as part of your communication strategy. And every time you communicate with your customers (whether that be on social media, through email, or in video), pieces of your story are shared.
Okay, so now you know what it is. Let’s talk about some key elements of a good one.
It’s Not About You
We’re not about to bust out a chorus of Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” or anything… But when it comes to your brand story, really it should be MORE about your customers than about you. That can seem confusing. So let’s break it down.
Even though your story is about your business’s purpose and values, its purpose is for those values to resonate with consumers in a way they not only associate with, but they also adopt as their own story.
You know you have a really compelling brand story when consumers start to proudly represent your brand and tell the story as if it’s their own, and even market it themselves via word-of-mouth, whether in person or via their own social media.
We know what you’re thinking. That sounds cool. So how do you craft such a compelling brand story?
How to Write a Brand Story
The most relatable brand stories address an origin, a struggle, a set of values, a fix, and a transformation. So, think back to your business’s beginnings to find a story that can resonate with your audience.
1. Take it Back to the Beginning – What made you get started? What is the purpose of your business?
2. Highlight the Conflict – What problem(s) did you find people had that needed solving via your product or service? Where was the gap in the market?
3. Be the Hero – How did you solve their problem? What makes you different than your competition?
4. Share the Wins – How has your product or service transformed people’s lives or made them better? What are they saying about you?
Keep it Consistent
A strong brand story is consistent across every channel. No matter where a consumer is introduced to your brand, the story should be the same. A great way to know if your brand story is consistent is to remove your logo from all of your materials and channels. Would your audience still know it was from your brand? Don’t just rely on your logo; every piece of content you produce should contain the essence of your brand story.
Remember, a brand story is all about connection. A great way to connect is to share success stories and re-share anything your audience is saying/posting about you on their own channels. If a customer is sharing about your brand, they already feel connected to you, so that’s great! Re-sharing their content takes the connection even further. It makes them feel seen and heard, which is one of the best ways to create a loyal customer in today’s market.
A good product gets them in the door; genuine connection is what makes them stay.
At the end of the day, you can spend thousands of dollars on marketing, social media, and content creation, but all of that can fall flat without a solid brand story. By creating and implementing a compelling brand story, you can increase your engagement and earn the loyalty of your audience.