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Branding Principles 101: Brand Story

Our brain thrives on storytelling. We are programmed to listen to stories, we are programmed to tell stories. Every company needs a story to tell the world that represents the essence of their brand to the world. A brand story is absolutely essential to selling your product, or service.

Ultimately, people value humans over brands. Who are you? Why did you start this company? What’s your history? Without a human story, nobody will care, so tell a genuine story that evokes an emotional reaction. This can influence many areas of your brand including the types of products you make, price, level of quality you and your customers expect, marketing, in-store experience, purpose, values, store locations, and–most crucially–what other people say about you.

Apple does this very well. Their origin story is super compelling - Steve Jobs and Steve Wosniak in a garage making the first Mac from radio shack parts. And this translates into everything they do - Look at the design of their computers. Think about apple stores and their ‘geniuses’. Consider how they make major product announcements. Everything is aligned behind their brand story of innovators making beautiful products that challenge the status quo. So I encourage you to write down a list of things that go into your brand story - what makes it unique? What gives it a human touch? What about you gives your target customer something to FEEL something for your brand?

What defines a great brand story?

Storytelling can be taught, and mastering the rules can help us create compelling narratives. When done successfully, a great brand story should do the following.

  1. Show how the product or service can improve the consumer’s life. It doesn’t have to be a HUGE change, it just needs to be an improvement of some kind.

  2. Pack an emotional punch. Whether we like it or not, humans are driven by emotion. People buy things because of the emotional impact or advantage they offer.

  3. Connect with the audience. The story involves the people you are selling to.

  4. Tell the truth. The best brand stories make you believe that the story they are telling is truly the brand’s mission.

How to write a brand story

Storytelling can help change your business. So how do you write one?

  1. Think about what you can turn into a story. Is there something that you’ve observed your consumers doing? Is there something they have told you about using your product or services? If you’re not sure, a survey could help.

  2. Find a hero. A good brand story features a main character that your audience can relate to.

  3. Give your hero a goal or desire. Think about how your main character wants and how you can show that want.

  4. Add a source of conflict. What keeps your hero from getting what they want? What must they overcome to achieve their goal?

  5. Make it entertaining. How will your hero achieve his or her goal in an interesting way?

  6. Let your hero change. Think about how your main character or supporting characters develop over the story. This is an essential part of making your story compelling to your audience.

  7. Keep it simple. People can only remember three pieces of information at a time, so don’t pack your brand story full of unnecessary details.

  8. Continue to innovate and refine over and over again. A good narrative doesn’t happen overnight, in fact, it can take years to perfect.

Happy writing!

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