Writing your brand story can seem like a daunting task. If we step back and look at why your customers buy from you or engage in your brand experience and what a brand story should look like, the task is more approachable.
First, let’s talk about what a brand story is not.
Brand stories are not marketing materials. They are not ads, and they are not sales pitches.
Remember that marketing materials —ads, brochures, websites, etc.—should be shaped by the story, not shape the story. Effective marketing materials will serve the brand, not drive it.
Then, what is a brand story?
You can get started by asking, “Why does my business exist?” and then building your story around it. Every story has a beginning, middle and an end. Brand stories are no exception. The three-part model should have a natural progression.
- Beginning: Problem. Explain the problem that you set out to solve or niche you are trying to fill.
- Middle: Differentiation. Describe how you differ from your competitors.
- End: Success. How does this benefit or connect with your customers or clients?
TOMS® shoes is a good example. Founder Blake Mycoskie was inspired to start the company after doing volunteer work outside Buenos Aires and noticing how many children were without shoes. He developed a shoe based on an Argentinian design, and now the company uses its “One for One” concept to donate a pair of shoes for every pair sold to communities in need around the world. Mycoskie’s inspirational spark is clear. TOMS differentiates with its South American-inspired shoe designs and the corporate responsibility business model. The brand builds a connection with its consumers who feel good about the benefits that their purchases bestow on communities in need around the world.
Now that we have outlined what to include in a brand story, let’s talk about the attributes of a good one. Think of these as the benchmarks against which you measure your story.
Concise is the name of the game. If it takes you longer than a sentence or two to convince someone why they should buy your experience, it’s too long.
- Emotional Connection
Invite your customers along for the ride. Sharing why you started your business and what niche you are trying to fill creates an emotional connection and communicates that you understand their needs.
Be you. Use what differentiates you; all your expertise, dreams and desires will help tell your story.
Are you a powerboat racer? Are you multi-lingual? Did you have a different career that brought you to the point of starting your business?
- Rooted in Purpose
What experience are you trying to deliver? Not the product or service but the customer experience. Being able to articulate the experience builds loyalty with your customers and clients.
What is your story?
Here’s the challenge – break down your story into the beginning/middle/end components described above, turn it into a narrative, and practice telling it to anyone who will listen. As you refine it, check it against the attributes of a good story and continue to refine. You may be surprised by how well the story comes together and the positive impact that your messaging has on your bottom line.