What is a brand story?
A brand story is a cohesive narrative that incorporates the facts and feelings created by your branding or marketing team. Note that we use the word “brand” and not “business” or “company” While a business and the brand are generally the same, it’s best to think of them as two different entities. Your business is what you do, while your brand is why you do it and how you do it.
If you think about your brand story in terms of your business, you’ll probably struggle to create compelling material and as a result, your story would appear shallow. Most people start a business because they’re highly skilled, knowledgeable in a particular area or have an idea they think can make them millions.
However, suppose you were to think about your story in terms of your brand. In that case, you can create material to tap into relatable emotions that compel your audience and result in a deeper connection.
Why is storytelling important?
Humans love stories. Why? Because we’re empathic creatures. And as such, we respond to stories because they inspire an emotional reaction and a sense of togetherness. Stories help us connect and empathise with one another.
In marketing, success relies on your ability to foster a relationship and produce work that encourages others to pass on a “story” about us. While you may think of the media you consume when you think of a story (Disney), the reality is even a customer review or user referral is a story.
If you want to connect with your target audience and create champions (superfans), you need to tell your story successfully. Almost every purchase we make is an emotional decision, so you need to show your customers why they should buy your product or use your service.
If you fail to define your brand story and values earlier on in your journey, every sale will be a struggle. Do the opposite, and you’ll be able to build momentum until the majority of your sales are from inbound leads.
What is a good brand story example?
Now, you know what brand story is in theory, let’s look at an example from the fitness brand Under Armour, specifically the Project Rock Collection.
The Project Rock Collection has an incredibly large following, and those who buy their products love them. The Project Rock Collection is—boiled down—a sportswear and casual apparel company. Of course, their customers don’t see it that way – they don’t see that one rucksack costs almost as much as a monthly gym and spa membership.
Here’s what they have to say on their page:
“My new collection is built for the hardest workers in the room. I don’t care how old you are, what you do for a living, or what your bank account says. This collection is designed for the ones who know that success comes one way—through the work.”
Whether The Project Rock Collection appeals to you or not, this clearly outlines what they value and what kind of person they serve.
You can also see how their brand story repels someone who’s not the right fit. If you are someone who hates working out, putting in the work and pushing past your barriers, you’re probably not suitable for this community. Dismissing is good. Your story should connect deeply with your target audience, it doesn’t need to impress anyone else.
How do I write a brand story?
Before you write your brand story, you need to answer the following questions:
- What three things do we value above all else?
- Why do we love serving our ideal customer?
- Why does our ideal customer love us?
- Who don’t we want to work alongside?
- Why wouldn’t they want to work with us?
- What personality traits does our brand have?
- What tone do we use to communicate with our customers?
- What’s the big picture that makes us get up every morning?
- Why did I/we start this business, and not any other?
When you’ve got an answer to all of the above, you’ll be in a solid position to start writing your brand story and formulating your branding strategy. Now let’s look at what your brand story should include and how you can structure your story.
What should I include in a brand story?
Every story needs a beginning, middle, and end. Fortunately, you don’t need to blandly tell the story of how you got your idea, founded the company, got funded and started selling your product or service. Instead, we recommend considering this approach:
The Beginning: State the problem that sparked this business idea in the first place. Remember to infuse your values here for that emotional connection – Don’t just state the problem, especially if it’s not a compelling universal issue (such as the desire for a new luxury handbag or frosted window decals).
The Middle: Make sure that you talk about your solution – how is this solution unique to you? For example, if you sell CRM system software, the problem is that your sales team can’t see their past trends and habits, and a CRM system lets them analyse past data with curious eyes. Necessary, but not compelling. But does your solution allow them to predict achievable sales revenue? Is it easy to navigate through the system? Does your solution allow email tracking, meeting scheduling, live chat and prospect tracking? Does it integrate with other software to help you quickly email and communicate with leads? Does it allow you to connect with online visitors in real-time? Make sure you convey why you’re unique in the voice that appeals most to your target audience.
The End: Talk about the solution’s success, your excitement to bring it to more people, and your plan of action to connect with your customers and the wider community.
Remember, your brand story isn’t just your “About” page or a marketing tool – it’s the foundation of your sales, marketing and customer success functions. Your story should be an emotional hook that connects you to your audience. It acts as a north star for your brand and informs your visual brand, brand voice, and actions.
How do I find my brand story?
Don’t panic. There’s no “right” or “wrong” way, and you can always come back and tweak it later. As time passes, your ideal customer may differ from the one you started with; You can edit your story to reflect that.
First, you need to ask yourself, “why.” Why did you start this business beyond making money? Second, impact. What impact do you want to see your brand make in the world? Third, address the problem(s) and your solution(s). Fourth, make sure your “why” and the impact you seek to make coincide with your solution. Lastly, think about outreach. How do you connect with your ideal customer? What language and tone will resonate with them the most? When you’ve got all these pieces, you can do like Marvel and assemble them into a compelling brand story.
Next Step: Your Brand Identity
Now that you understand what a brand story is and why it’s vital to your success, you need a brand identity to match. Working with a branding expert or agency can be a big commitment; that’s why we’re offering a free 30-minute consultation to any start-up or business looking for their edge.