Craft a Brand Story Your Audience Will Never Forget
Nothing quite beats a good brand story for engaging your target audience. Virtually every marketer agrees: an effective brand story humanizes your brand, elicits an emotional response, fosters trust, and ultimately helps drive sales through positive brand recognition.
Engaging in effective brand storytelling that resonates with your customers is easier said than done. It takes insight, planning, and consistent messaging. With these goals in mind, here are some fundamentals of brand stories to consider as you craft yours.
First, identify your audience
Let’s start with the groundwork for developing an effective story.
As with any marketing effort, audience identification should come first. Before you start telling a story, you need to clearly understand who you’re engaging with. And consider that specific segments within your audience may require different approaches to maximize outreach effectiveness.
CRM software and other available analytics tools can help you dig into your audience analytics and gain valuable insight. Use this information to start crafting audience personas. Dig into their needs, values, and sensibilities, and consider how your message can best speak to them. This is invaluable marketing knowledge for efforts well beyond developing your brand story.
What is a brand story?
Before crafting a brand story, you should understand what you’re trying to achieve. Let’s examine what constitutes compelling brand stories and why they are valuable.
Simply put, your brand story is the history of your company thus far. It outlines your origins and goals, the obstacles you’ve faced and your triumphs over them, and your current position as an industry expert.
HubSpot defines a brand story as one that “recounts the series of events that sparked your company’s inception and expresses how that narrative still drives your mission today.” Indeed, it’s not just your brand’s blockbuster movie; it’s also the prequel and the promise of a brilliant sequel. And just like compelling films, compelling brand stories ensure “your audience will remember who you are, develop empathy for you, and, ultimately, care about you,” HubSpot continues.
The key components of a brand story
A brand story is indeed a narrative. It has critical components to cover and fundamental tenets to adhere to. To be effective, it needs to present a clear-cut story following a three-act structure:
- Origin story. The first act tells the story of the beginning of your business and your call to action.
- Initial conflict. The second act covers your trials and the challenges you faced.
- Resolution, triumph, and the future. The third act outlines your success and discusses what the future holds.
How you approach each step depends on you and your audience, but the basics of a brand story should follow this structure. You can humanize your brand and outline what differentiates you from the competition in each act.
Craft a brand story your ideal customers will never forget
With the three acts in mind, you can delve step-by-step into developing your narrative. From your company’s origins to the present day, follow these five steps.
#1 Answer the fundamental questions
First, remember that your brand story needs to answer key questions. Be sure to include the following:
- Who you are
- What called you to action
- Which challenges you faced, and how you overcame them
- How your journey guides your current mission
- What the future holds
You won’t communicate a compelling story if you don’t answer these questions sufficiently. How extensive you are with your answers is negotiable, but overlooking these questions isn’t.
#2 Keep it brief and human
It’s important to keep your story brief. Answering the above questions is vital, but so is not boring your audience. Shakespeare said that “brevity is the soul of wit” — and you want to entertain your customers and inspire engagement.
For this step, embrace the tenets of visual content to engage your audience. You’ll likely use ample visual content to craft a brand story, so its principles apply here. Keep it brief and digestible, and focus on the human aspect. Audiences generally don’t connect with contract terms and loans, so lean into human aspirations, emotions, and values.
#3 Focus on your origins and cultivate empathy
The next three steps focus on effectively leveraging each phase of your story. First among them is your origin story, and this is the phase that best cultivates empathy.
This chapter communicates your call to action and needs to be distinctly human. It should establish a convincing, relatable setting and place the focus on the people behind the brand. A brand story is not one of a faceless entity, after all, but one of the people making up the brand.
Take advantage of these aspects. Present your founders and your ideals. Set the scene and explore the feelings around that time. Steer clear of business endeavors and goals, and focus on the human element.
#4 Highlight the conflict and inspire
The second act of your story presents the challenges you faced, and how you rose above them. If the first phase successfully cultivated empathy, this is the one that best leverages it.
This is where you reveal the adversity you faced, possibly from the status quo in your industry. You can reveal internal tensions as well, as long as they were resolved for the sake of your goal.
This phase may be the most vital as you craft a brand story. Stay away from technical terminology and industry jargon and follow your values-driven journey. Outline your challenges clearly and compellingly and pave the way to a satisfying resolution.
#5 Leverage the conclusion and make yourself unique
And finally comes the resolution: how your brand succeeded, what you’ve learned from experience, and how you hold your values to heart. Craft a conclusion your brand story can leverage, positioning your business as the ideal solution your customers need. But do so in a strictly human way — remember that this is a story first and a marketing asset second.
The third act is the one that highlights what your brand now offers as an alternative to the status quo. It summarizes your experiences and communicates your aspiration to be an industry leader. This kind of message, which can so easily fall flat without context or depth, will be rooted in the story of your journey.
For this final phase, leverage the entire story you’ve woven thus far. Base your promises for a bright future on the history, conflict, values, and experience you’ve outlined. Differentiate yourself from the competition based on your story; that’s the goal you’ve been building up to.
Creating a compelling and effective brand story is equal parts marketing and storytelling – perhaps more the latter than the former. Your goal, as with any good story, is to invite emotional engagement and cultivate empathy.
That is why it’s not easy to craft a brand story. It requires a firm grasp of your audiences, a careful approach to structuring your message, and a keen focus on humanization. The storytelling is as important as the marketing, even if the ultimate goal is to market the brand.
We understand the importance of telling a compelling brand story. If you’d like to know more or need help with your branding efforts, please contact us today.
And they all lived happily ever after.