What is a Brand Story and How to Start Building One

To create a brand story, some companies confuse the concept by simply reiterating a historical narrative of the brand coupled with content.

What is a Brand Story and How to Start Building One
Photo by Gordon Cowie / Unsplash

While the brand story touches on marketing and infuses the company's history, a brand story is more involved, going beyond what's presented in marketing material and providing a complete illustration of the brand.

The Brand Story, Defined

A brand story is a cohesive narrative that includes facts, feelings, and the history that created the business. It is independent of traditional advertising. Instead of showing and telling about the company, it uses a story to inspire an emotion or reaction from clients, buyers, and shareholders.

The brand story has three primary ingredients:

It's impactful and meaningful. Your customers are dealing with content shock - many brands are vying for their attention, hoping on the latest marketing trend to try and grab their attention. Instead of spending all your energy on fleeting marketing trends, focus on what people care about. Every piece of content should tell the story of your organization and brand, seamlessly attaching your humanity to the brand you are selling.

It's personal and emotional. You can use the brand story to be educational or inspirational. But for it to be impactful, it needs to be confidential. A strong brand story stimulates empathy and affects people. For example, if you sell an automated email service, focus on how it makes your customers’ lives easier and more stress-free. If you can trigger an emotion of inspiration or empathy within the first paragraph of your brand story, you are off to a great start!

Most importantly, it's authentic. When you share your brand story, people should be able to recognize that it is your story: a story about the brand, what it stands for, and its mission. Your story is the foundation of your brand, and any sign of inauthenticity could render that foundation unsound.

Benefits of a Brand Story

A brand story helps to build memories, taking advantage of human psychology. We are primed to remember stories. As a brand, take advantage of that! The Stories' impact on human emotion remains the same even when used in marketing material. You do not, however, have to create a brand story that is a tear-jerker; you have to make a story accessible and relatable to your target.

The brand story is also a natural motivator. It should encourage action, emotion, or motivation. If your call to action is to make your readers remember your brand, then, for example, it will be helpful to recant your brand story sprinkled with humor or even an embarrassing account. It makes the brand more relatable and authentic.

Starting a Brand Story

Take your notepad and create a long-term story arc. The story of your company and brand starts with the founder and why they started or participated in the company. Do not overlook any details - write the story like a historical account, including anecdotes, compelling facts, and a testimony. Recall the unique challenges that your story's hero had to go through and overcome.

Develop a statement. You are not a published author, and there are elements to storytelling that are more suited to the halls of your local library. While telling your brand's story, make sure that you stay focused on a statement that sums up why your company exists in the first place. It should be creative - it is different from your mission statement. A brand statement will consider what matters most to your customers and the organization's more profound purpose.

Consistency is important. Keep your brand story, the values of your company, and advertising consistent. Your prospective customers are very good at spotting a brand that needs to be genuine. The relationships you are trying to build will be compromised if customers feel like you are fluffing your story or are just interested in pulling on their heartstrings for financial gain. Inconsistent behavior will only result in a loss of customers.

Get your audience's attention and be effective in your storytelling. You can do that by intimately knowing your audience. What demographics are you targeting? What demographic are you surprised has become receptive to your message? What motivates them? Build your stories in such a way that they will spark interest from your followers.

Lastly, track your links and determine where your posts are popping up. You'll find the brand story becomes part of the conversation on social media, forums, and other websites there.