“The best brands are built on great stories.”
Chief Marketing Officer, Virgin Group
What is a brand story and why does it matter?
Your brand story includes everything about your brand—vision, messages, passion, word usage, colors, logo, images, and tone. When you tell a story it creates a powerful influence in human connection. Research shows that our brains respond to stories intensely. When we read or hear a story, we feel and experience the story on a personal level.
The purpose of your brand is to quickly and effectively communicate who you are, so the right people can connect with you. A brand story is so much more than telling someone what we do. A great brand story will determine what they believe about who we are.
All business owners know they need to have a brand—colors, logos, fonts, etc. But branding shouldn’t start with the visual elements. Starting with the story your brand will be telling makes all the other decisions a lot easier.
What makes a great brand story?
A great brand story will, above all, create trust. All the fonts, patterns, images, colors and visual aspects must be cohesive and clear and must work together to tell your brand story. When you combine the visual elements with a strong brand story, your message is uniquely you. And you end up with the best way there is to attract your ideal client.
I talk a lot about the importance of planning and of knowing your ideal client. When creating or updating your brand story, be sure to keep that person foremost in your mind. Because when you try to talk to “everybody” you end up connecting with nobody.
In order to create a compelling brand story, there are a few essentials you should keep in mind.
First, remember to keep it simple. People trust a simple story more than a complicated one. In its simplest form, your story should include the following three elements:
1. Problem. What was the problem that motivated you to action?
One thing that makes a brand story great is that it has something to say. There is a reason the brand exists that people can connect with. A brand should also have an identity—a personality—because people respond to and trust real people, not a nameless, faceless company.
2. Solution. How did your brand set out to solve this problem?
Here’s your chance to be authentic. Tell us about your “A-Ha” moments as well as a time you stumbled and had to try again. People aren’t looking for perfection as much as they are the feeling of connection. Be relatable and be yourself. People can spot someone who’s not genuine.
3. Success. Did you have success? Get excited. Tell us more.
Use this opportunity to share real success stories about real people. Don’t be afraid to talk about how lives have been impacted by what you do. It’s also a good idea to paint a picture of where the brand is going in the future.
Next, and this is a tough one for most of us, invest in this process and take the time to think through what you want your brand to communicate. Once your brand story is established, it will be easier to identify the emotion and feeling you want people to connect with. Choosing all those visual elements that tie everything together, like colors, logo, and fonts, will be more straightforward.
And finally, remember, the best stories are the ones we never want to end. So continue to tell your story, adding new successes, re-telling your story in new ways, and always demonstrating your passion and commitment to your mission. Just like visual branding needs occasional updates, your brand story will need to be refreshed from time to time too.
Are you ready to create your brand story? Feeling overwhelmed or confused about how to get started? Let’s talk about how we can work together to create your brand story and connect with the people you want to serve. Let the story begin…!
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