Creating a Powerful Brand Story (Guide)
ONe of the main components of building a successful brand is through storytelling. Your brand story is extremely powerful in allowing your audience to understand who you are and what you’re all about.
In today’s culture, the market at large craves authenticity and transparency from brands small and large. They are more concerned with and connected to brands that have a strong purpose through their heritage, mission, or product. This is where your brand story comes into play!
To recap, a brand story is the all-encompassing and meaningful narrative that covers the mission, values, origin and ultimately why you exist. A brand’s story reveals its primary purpose for existing, in a way that elicits an emotional response from its audience. This is one of the easiest ways for a brand to become memorable and differentiate itself from others in its market. For us, your story starts with what is known as the “why.” WHY DO YOU DO WHAT YOU DO?! Depending on your specific business, this can mean your mission, why you started, the gap you’re trying to fill in the industry, or the value you aim to provide to your audience.
The power of telling your story
Since the beginning of human history, we’ve thrived through telling stories. Stories bring people together and help keep them engaged by communicating concepts in a way that hits home with us. A good brand story connects your business to the world around you. It is especially important to invite your audience to join you on your brand’s journey and having a strong story does just this, in an organic way.
The brand Fear of God, is an example of a business that tells powerful stories through it’s legacy and reason for existing.
Fear of God (FOG) has continued to dive deeper into their story since its launch in 2013 with every collection they drop. While founder, Jerry Lorenzo’s religious upbringing is the most significant element behind the brand, he was inspired by his own family’s sports legacy, his love of hip hop, and the 90’s grunge movement. Through a perfect mix of luxury meets streetwear, he created a unique aesthetic that stems from these inspirations and also serves as a guide for each new line they drop and the types of collaborations they take on.
FOG uses the personal values found in his family’s legacy and his interests to connect their audience to a deeper meaning behind the collections they produce. For example, their fifth collection launched with a visual storytelling experience. The short film tugs at our heartstrings as it captures the essence of family with its reminiscent shoot, using shots of a young boy and his father, Lorenzo’s grandmother’s furniture, and old family photographs.
When a customer buys a pair of their military sneakers, they are buying a part of their story which allows them to feel like they are actively participating in the brand if not truly embodying the brand themselves.
While personal stories and interests work best for b2c or consumer-driven businesses, you can see how everything is weaved together to create a strong tie to the brand.
Fear of God showed us the importance of:
Understanding who you are.
Bringing an emotional and relatable element into an otherwise sales-y business model.
Maintaining your brand values and story no matter what.
There should never be a time where your brand values or story completely changes depending upon the audience or opportunity. Consistency is key. No identity crisis,’ please.
Having a clear brand narrative that makes you stand out, but one that nurtures a special connection to your consumers.
So, What’s your story?
An Effective Brand Story Tells Your Audience:
What You Do : What types of products or services you offer.
Who You Serve: The target audience you are trying to reach is who benefits the most from what you offer.
How and Why Your Brand Started: Your origin story.
What Your Plans Are: The mission or big vision (goal) you’re working towards.
Creating your Brand Story
10-Steps To Putting Together Your Story
WHY WAS YOUR COMPANY STARTED? While the motivation behind your business is important, be sure not to focus on why you wanted to start your business (e.g. you wanted to work for yourself) unless it lends to the larger story (e.g. I created the brand out of my need for not having safe shampoo for my newborn baby). Even then, don’t focus the story 100% on yourself. Even if it is related, it should only be a few lines to give context and mainly focus on the value for the customer.
5 WORDS THE DESCRIBE THE CORE OF YOUR BRAND. If you had to describe the pillars of your brand in 5 words, what would those be and why? These help you identify key factors that are most important to you and your audience.
WHAT ARE YOUR AUDIENCE’S WANTS AND NEEDS? This is especially important to take a close look at. We exist in a marketplace that is constantly changing and highly competitive. It is crucial to stay ahead of the game, by knowing what is trending and by listening to your customers. There is a sweet spot between framing your story around trends and looking to trends to help upgrade to a message that is still relevant. Try to align your story with the general direction of your particular industry, while still staying true to who you are. Beware of trying too hard to be trendy- it can trigger brand inconsistencies, a risk you don’t want to take.
WHAT MAKES YOUR BUSINESS UNIQUE? Most likely, there is another business who does something similar to what you do that are another option for your customer. Identifying your UVP (unique value proposition) helps you communicate the special factor that make you the right choice.
WHO CAN YOU BEST SERVE? What is the market group or type of person that your products/services best serve. Who do you want to work with and why would they do business with you?
WHAT DOES YOUR CUSTOMER NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOU? Notice how the majority of these questions tend to focus on what your brand is about rather than conforming to who you think you should be. You genuinely will shine through so long as you speak from the heart of your brand.
THE BEGINNING, MIDDLE AND END. No matter the context, every story has a natural sequence. After you are finished answering the above questions, try formatting your answers into the format below.
Problem. The beginning is the problem that exists that you want to solve.
Solution. The meat of your story is how your brand is the remedy to that problem. Describe how you work to solve the problem.
Success. Get others psyched about the success of your brand’s effects. Spread your joy and share your glory through customer reviews, a specific story that made you proud about the work you do, etc.
CREATE MULTIPLE SHORT PARAGRAPHS from your answers (above) in as many different ways as you can. From there, create a more detailed and paired down version of your story that seems most fitting to use across your brand.
CHECK YOUR STORY. Is it entertaining, memorable, impactful, relatable, and most of all, re-tellable?
Finally, WTF aka What’s The Feeling you want your audience to experience after you’re done telling your story? Perhaps you want them to feel a sense of community, connected, empowered, joyful, inspired, etc.
BONUS: Once you complete the guide, email us at email@example.com with your brand’s narrative and we’ll post a select few or even surprise you with a bit of fun, harmless critique (we won’t be too harsh, don’t worry)!
Ooh, I Got a Feeling
If you want your audience to actually feel connected and inspired by your brand story, YOU have to feel it first.
Practice telling yourself on video (your iPhone is perfect) and watch it back. It may be cringey at first, but truly analyze if it comes off the way you want. Also, show a friend to get their honest feedback and see what they remember when it’s over.
Overall, if you know and tell your story well, it impacts how others will talk about you.
Having trouble with your story? Don’t panic- we have you covered! Our Discovery series helps us guide you through this process, as well as better understand your target audience, necessary engagement for your brand, and so much more.