For those who are just entering the realm of entrepreneurship the topic of a brand story may seem an elusive one. Yet the power of brand stories can be seen all around us, from the squeaky clean and instantly likable story of Innocent fruit smoothies to the inherent good of Toms – a shoe manufacturer who, for every pair of Toms they sell, they provide a pair of shoes to a person in need.
In essence, a brand story can be seen as less of a marketing buzz term, and more of a human element to the product or service that a company offers.
Brand stories: We connect, we emotionally invest and, perhaps most importantly of all, we trust.
So, just what is a brand story?
A brand story goes far beyond being simple content with a narrative; it isn’t merely defined within a short blurb, through 500 words of copy upon your website or within the pages of even the glossiest of brochures. Most importantly, a brand story isn’t just what you tell your target market you’re all about, it’s what they already think and feel about your company based upon what your company has done and the image that it presents.
Gaining a little insight into story telling done right: Google and Apple
Being inspired by the brand stories of others can help provide the perfect place from which you can begin to think about who your consumer truly is and what they care about. Take a look at the following killer brand stories and prepare to be inspired.
Of late Google have really been on a marketing mission to humanise their search engine. You’ve likely seen the adverts yourself on TV. The way in which they tell their brand story is by honing in on some of the most seemingly mundane of searches, and working it into a relatable tale.
Take this great video where there’s nothing more than a series of searches, coupled with impactful sound effects. This is then not so much their brand story, as this man’s life story. And who can’t relate to the classic love story?
You can see more of these so called ‘search stories’ right here.
Apple (The early days)
Apple has been company very much defined by the late, great Steve Jobs, and from the earliest of days they really knew how to set themselves apart within the market. Take this advert from 1984 which introduced the Macintosh computer. It draws upon the novel of George Orwell’s 1984, where they eloquently drive home the message that they were the only innovator within the market, pretty effective stuff, right?
All of which should really come as little surprise, as Jobs was probably one of the greatest story tellers and business speakers of all time; just take a look at this video where he addresses Stanford University.
Google and Apple are probably the best to learn from, as they make up two of the most profitable (and innovative) companies in the entire world. Now, let’s get onto how you can create your brand story.
Crafting a compelling brand story: 5 simple steps
1. Step away from thinking like a marketer
Stop thinking as a marketer thinks and forget completely about trying to sell products. Your brand story should be you sharing things about you or your company that sparks human interest. Don’t hold back on personality – provide concrete reasons for your target market to care about what you have to say.
2. Be approachable, be conversational, be informal
Brand stories that are too formal come across as disingenuous, regardless of the industry you’re in. Consumers have a keen nose for messages that have been crafted by a marketer with an eye on pushing the product, and when coupled with stock imagery this can be a real brand killer.
So think of your consumer as though they were someone you knew well – a friend or relative. And imagine yourself catching up with them for drinks. This should be where your brand story’s tone is taken from. It should be real, chatty and free from long winded terms and marketing buzz words.
3. Break it down with brand architecture
Brand architecture is the process of establishing what your business qualities are. It creates a list of commination goals, written in the language that your customer speaks. It changes an intangible business goal into something with customer context.
A great way to do this is to create a list of words that are connected to your brand, these may include words that your current customers have used to describe you, or terms that your staff would say define your business. From these you should sort through your list and identify which most well fit with your brand, going on to put them into an order and eventually working them into a singular sentence.
Putting it all into a compelling story
Finally, with all of the above pointers in mind, and all of your research to hand, you should begin to think beyond what you’re going to say, to consider how you will say it. This should take into account:
- The tone – such as informal, amusing or catchy;
- The ‘voice’ that will best connect with your target customer;
- The communication medium through which you’ll deliver your message – such as through customer video testimonials, imagery and an about us page. You should make sure that this message runs right through from the homepage of your website, on into the social media updates that you publish.
All of the above should help you craft a brand story that’s compelling and carry it on throughout everything that you do. However it’s vital that you continually re-evaluate your brand and how you may better communicate it. Always consider consumer responses to what you have to say, figure out what works and what doesn’t when undertaking marketing tasks and ensure that your entire business, and all the departments within it, understand your brand story.