Crafting a brand story is a vital aspect of any successful marketing strategy. While creating content to increase sales is important, the content must do more than provide potential customers with information about your products. With endless options available your business must find a way to stand out in a crowd. Customers today are looking to give their business to companies that resonate with their goals, values, and experiences.
Your brand story will give them a reason to trust your business as well as the services and products you provide.
Similar to stories you read in books, a brand story triggers a response in our brains and opens the door for connections to be made. Great stories stick with us and promote further action.
It’s important that your business tells a brand story that resonates with others. To get started let’s take a deeper look into why your brand needs to tell a story.
Why your brand should tell a story
When you share your brand’s story with your customers you are establishing a deeper connection with them. An emotional connection that will establish trust and encourage them to take action and possibly tell others about your brand. Brand stories make your brand appear to be thoughtful, memorable, and real. People rarely feel the same emotional drive when confronted with facts, but Cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner explains that we are 22 times more likely to remember a fact when it has been wrapped in a story. Stories help us grasp information easier. Adding hard numbers into your story will raise the stakes and bring your call to action to the surface. For example, if you are the owner of a health insurance company you may want to include how year after year you beat competitors rates in your brand story. This will subtly show potential customers that your company can be trusted through the emotional response your story evokes, and the data that you have to back up your claims.
Overall, your goal with a brand story should be to humanize your brand by demonstrating how your company’s values, beliefs, and attitudes connect with your target audience.
How to craft a compelling brand story
It’s important to note that no brand story will look the same. Each company has a unique story to tell, so it’s good to find what works for your business. There are a few steps to take when crafting a compelling brand story.
- Define who you are:
Before crafting a compelling brand story you need to write a brand statement. A brand statement is a short summary or statement of what your company does and how that solves your customers problems in a unique way. This is the place for you to define what you offer and who you are as a brand. In this step it’s also good to review your mission statement or write one if you don’t currently have one.
A mission statement is geared towards a company and its employees; a brand statement is solely geared towards customers and potential customers.
A brand statement defines the following:
- How your company serves customers
- What your company does (services, products, ect.)
- Why you do what you do
Similar to any story, essential elements of a brand story are character, conflict, and revelation. Expanding your brand story to follow those three key elements will help you craft a brand story that turns prospects into customers and causes others to connect with your business.
- Establish a presence and “answer the what”
Answering the “what” requires you to establish the characters and conflict of your story.
Although it may seem like your business is the main character in your story, that’s not the case. Your customers are the main characters in your story, so it’s important you know who they are. If you need to identify your target audience before crafting your brand story. The conflict of your story then stems from the problems your target audience faces. Without a conflict your brand story would simply be a sales pitch. Showing you understand the challenges your target audience faces allows you to connect with them on a deeper level, rather than remaining a stranger to them.
The more specific you are with your story the better. Include details to create a more universal appeal. For example, if you sell business cards to business owners, mention the quality of card stock you use, how the production process works, and even where the products are made. These may seem like small details, but chances are your target audience will appreciate you being vulnerable with them.
- Add the details and “answer the how”
To make your story even more engaging, answer the “how”. Set up a clear path for your potential customers to interact and spread the word about your business.
This is where you provide further insights and solutions to address these problems and further establish your expertise. You will show customers that you are genuinely concerned with them and want to assist them. Again, this adds a personal touch to your brand and helps you stand out against competitors that aren’t taking the time to connect with their customers.
A good way to implement this portion is through a FAQ page or informational articles and videos on your website.
- Make it stand out “answer the why”
Everyone remembers how a book finishes, but people rarely remember how it starts. The same is true with your brand story. The ending is just as important as the beginning, maybe even more so. A surprising ending can transform a mediocre brand story into a great one.
To ensure the brand story leaves a mark, help your audience see things in a new light. This is where you can show that your brand stands out from the rest, and corresponds with the “why” of your brand. Addressing why your brand offers the services and products it does shows your target audience how you can address their needs. In this portion of your brand story show customers how your brand’s mission is linked to a larger value or principle that drives both you and your customers. Finding that connection will further establish the trust between you and your customers.
For example, if your company sells reusable water bottles that are made from recyclable materials it would be beneficial to explain that your company does this to help fight global warming and eliminate plastic waste. Your customers will resonate with this message and see your products not just as material things, but as important elements in their life.
When you cause your customers to think twice about your company, services or products – the experience is locked in their minds. Customers link your business to a positive emotion and will want more from you.
Finish this portion with a strong call to action to increase traffic to other areas on your website.
- Follow the two C’s’
After you establish your brand story it will be told over and over again. Whether it’s through in-house creative or your customers informing and shaping your brand through posts online, comments, and/or reviews – your story will appear in multiple places. While different elements of your story may live in different pieces of content it’s important to keep your story consistent and cohesive.
Keeping your brand story consistent begins with a consistent tone of voice. The tone of your brand is unique and should match your brand personality. If you need help identifying brand personality take a look at the customers you’d like to attract. As you know customers are more likely to buy from brands that they have a personal connection with. To get started begin listing traits you notice in your customers and narrow it down to three to four adjectives.
For example, if you want to target recent college graduates with a medical degree you might target those who are:
If you target people who play a musical instrument your list may look like this:
As you create content for your brand keep your list in mind. Will your audience resonate with what you’re saying? What would my brand sound like? Should my message be formal or informal?
Use this tone throughout your content, and adjust it slightly when needed to fit different audiences or media. In these cases be careful not to shift from your brand story to keep everything cohesive. If you notice your story beginning to shift, go back and review the original story. Noticeable changes may indicate that your brand story needs retelling.
Your brand story matters
Creating a compelling brand story that draws people in is a major key to success for any business. Your story helps you connect with your customers and potential customers in a special way and will benefit your business down the road.
Every business – no matter how big or small – has a story that’s worth sharing with the world. The key is to find what works for your business and give your customers a reason to keep coming back.