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- A brand story is a narrative that highlights the distinct aspects of a brand, including its values, purpose, and unique selling proposition.
- Building a brand story offers several benefits, like enhancing brand trust, differentiating your brand, and building emotional connections with consumers.
- To craft a compelling brand story, brands should understand their target audience, be authentic, and have a key message that is unique to who they are.
- Brands can make their story pop by appealing to emotion, being relatable, and creating a plan for telling it.
A good story pulls us in, connects us to the characters, and leaves us wanting more. This is why brand storytelling is such a powerful tool for building connections with an audience. Every brand has a story of why they do what they do, and many consumers want to know how their favorite brands came to be.
Creating a brand story that resonates with consumers offers countless benefits—it builds relationships with consumers, communicates a unique value, and creates loyal customers. To make a truly meaningful impact with a brand story, though, it must be personalized, relatable, and authentic. This guide will highlight the steps your brand can take to make that possible.
What Is a Brand Story?
A brand story is a narrative that provides perspective into your brand identity and how it developed. Ultimately, this story covers the “how” and “why” of a brand’s operations. This story may include ideas like thoughtful manufacturing practices, charitable actions, or a desire to be different from others.
This story should include these three elements:
- Brand values
- Brand purpose
- Unique selling proposition
Although it seems simple, the brand story does many things–it highlights a brand purpose while establishing a common ground for audiences to latch onto. Once this narrative is established, it resonates throughout everything that a brand does.
Benefits of building a strong brand story
Crafting a brand story that resonates with your target audience comes with special benefits that can strengthen the foundation and identity your brand is built upon. By leveraging the powers of storytelling, you’ll realize several positive returns.
When it comes to a brand story, the value is that it’s true and meaningful. A clear and authentic story is a perfect opportunity to position your brand as one that is unique and worth buying from.
Every brand has a distinct origin story with unique personalities that went into creating it. Leaning into the true story behind your brand guarantees that there’s no other brand that’s exactly the same.
Enhanced brand trust
Eighty-one percent of consumers say trusting a brand is key to their buying decisions. An authentic brand story can help create that trust and build loyal consumers.
In personal relationships, being vulnerable helps develop trust between both sides. Building brand trust through authenticity works similarly, showcasing the behind-the-scenes of your brand. When your audience can see where you’re coming from and that you’re creating a sense of transparency, they’re more likely to trust you and want to purchase from you.
Differentiating your brand
A well-crafted story makes your brand memorable and unique, which is crucial for standing out amongst your competitors and grabbing consumer attention. Although traditional marketing efforts are important, it becomes difficult to stand out with the increasing number of brands entering the fold.
Your brand has its own distinct values, origins, and motivations. A creative and thoughtful brand story will compile these to capture customer attention, pique their interest, and encourage them to learn more about you, providing a powerful supplement to your other marketing efforts.
The authenticity with which you communicate your brand story allows you to connect with your audience and develop stronger, longer-lasting relationships.
Storytelling has the superpower of evoking emotion, which creates an opportunity to generate common ground and relate to your customers. This emotion humanizes your brand, showing the heart and the passion that goes into it rather than maintaining the image of a faceless entity, making it much easier for consumers to see themselves in your journey.
Best practices for building a brand story that resonates
Creating a powerful brand story is an involved process that requires you to tap into your audience and question the heart of what you want to communicate. To craft a story that resonates with your audience, consider the following strategies.
1. Know your audience
Step one in crafting a brand story that sticks with consumers is to know what consumers are interested in and passionate about. After all, how are you supposed to develop a story that resonates with your audience if you don’t understand them?
There are two key elements to knowing your target audience—you must first define your target audience and then understand what they expect out of the brands they buy from.
You should work to understand their goals, interests, and motivations using data-driven methods. With this foundation, you can better adapt your story to resonate with your audience.
Take the following steps to better understand your audience.
- Conduct customer interviews
- Perform customer surveys
- Monitor social media engagement with your brand
- Create buyer personas
- Segment your audience into groups
- Determine preferred interaction channels
2. Identify your unique selling proposition
Your unique selling proposition is the foundational element of what sets your brand apart from the others. It points out two things—the value your brand provides your audience and the problems you solve.
This proposition should be clear, specific, and straight to the point, highlighting why your brand is better than others. Understanding and clearly defining your unique selling proposition positions you to get to the heart of what your brand story should communicate.
3. Be authentic
Authenticity is more important than ever. Buyers value authenticity, and they can spot inauthentic messaging from a mile away. Be sure to develop a brand story that is grounded in truth—a fabricated story doesn’t offer any value.
An honest story that consists of real anecdotes and personal experiences is more likely to build customer loyalty. It should also align with your brand’s values, mission, and purpose so it remains true to what your brand is all about.
4. Don’t overcomplicate it
Once you have the story you want to communicate, you must determine how to communicate it. Don’t overcomplicate your storytelling by trying to communicate too much. Your brand story should highlight the how and why of your brand without muddying up the message behind additional small details.
When building your brand story, remember to do the following:
- Use clear terminology – Your story is for your audience, not for stakeholders. Communicate it without using unnecessary jargon or corporate speak.
- Follow your brand voice – The voice and tone you portray in your brand story should be aligned with those you use across your other messaging and channels to maintain consistency and avoid confusion.
- Convey the key message – Ensure your story communicates your unique selling proposition and what makes your brand special.
5. Bring It To Life
Using visuals can elevate your brand story by complementing the message and creating an additional avenue to experience it. When relevant to the story, visuals help emphasize the main messages and ideas you want to resonate.
Some visuals you can use to amplify your brand story include:
- Video content
- Social media posts
When choosing visuals, consider what you want your audience to feel when they interact with your brand story. The images, the color scheme, and the overall design of these visuals should invoke the right emotions to drive the story home.
6. Measure the impact of your brand story
As with any brand messaging or strategy you roll out, collecting data is a crucial part of the process of developing your brand story. Measuring the reach and interaction with your new story will allow you to understand its effectiveness and discover any room for improvement.
Some metrics to consider for measuring the impact of your brand story include:
- Social media engagement
- Social media mentions
- Paid ad clicks
7. Incorporate your brand story into your marketing strategy
Once you have your story straight, it should be front-and-center as a living part of your marketing strategy. This process is not just a box to check in your branding procedures—it’s a valuable part of your brand strategy and shapes your brand image.
Share your story through the following avenues.
- Your website
- On social media
- At events
- In promotional videos
- Blog content
What Should a Brand Story Include?
A brand story should include a brand’s values, the brand purpose, and the unique selling proposition by default. However, a strong story should include a few additional qualities to really make it pop.
Emotion is a crucial element of a brand story and can help create an instant source of connection between brands and their audiences. Using emotion can better implant your brand’s message into the memory of your customers.
Invoke emotion by:
- Creating a hero story of how your brand was created to address a problem and the journey it took to do so
- Being inspiring, explaining a challenge your brand faced and how your brand overcame adversity to make it where you are today.
- Relating to your audience with a set of relatable characters
- Including humor to spark joy or relief
- Pairing your story with visuals and sounds that emphasize the message
To really resonate, a story must be relatable. Ideally, consumers should be able to see themselves in your story, which will generate a sense of trust and loyalty. There are many ways to make this happen.
Brands that embrace specific values, like family or social issues, should highlight that in their brand story. Consumers appreciate when a brand cares about the same things they do.
Include relatable characters that have similar challenges or obstacles that your audience may have faced. You can also do this by choosing influencers and celebrities who have a strong following to speak on your product.
Finally, avoid the image of perfection. Real people have flaws and struggles. A brand story will see far more success from highlighting vulnerabilities and genuine challenges than from crafting an image grounded in perfection.
The whole purpose behind a brand story is to highlight who your brand is and why it’s special, so a story must have a character and personality unique to your brand. To make it stand out, think of things about your brand that truly can’t be said about other brands.
Some ways to do this include:
- Showcasing the brand founder and their journey to creating the brand
- Highlighting your team and the people that make up your brand
- Emphasizing your brand’s roots and inspirations
- Celebrate the location or culture that influenced your brand
All of these things are unique to each brand and can’t be copied, making them a perfect addition to a brand story.
The most essential element of a brand story is a plan. A solid plan allows you to leverage your story properly and ensures that it’s used to reach audiences in a meaningful way. When you create a story, you need to determine how you’re going to put it to use.
Put your story into action by:
- Centering marketing communications around it
- Using the story to inform brand voice and identity
- Developing specific marketing campaigns
- Including it in email communications to relate to consumers
- Using it to provide context for a new product or service
Most brands have a story listed somewhere on their website or ready to share, but they don’t all carry the same weight. These strong brand story examples can inform your brand how to develop its own story that resonates.
Clif Bar’s brand story is at the forefront of its consumer outreach efforts–the brand even includes its story on all of its packaging. Clif Bar’s story centers around its founder, Gary, who needed a snack while embarking on a 175-mile bike ride and was tired of eating bland energy bars. Gary recounts spending hours in the kitchen developing a better product for others to enjoy.
Its story also exemplifies the power of clarity and simplicity. The brand created a video campaign around its origin story, emphasizing that humans like “good”. With this idea in mind, the campaign showed that the company is not only committed to making snacks with good, organic ingredients but also doing good for the community, its employees, and the environment, too.
This story resonates with the brand’s target audience, as many outdoor enthusiasts have likely experienced the same disappointment at having to stomach a lackluster energy bar. With a product developed in the image of fuel for outdoor and exercise enthusiasts to drive it all home, Clif Bar has masterfully created a niche of loyal consumers.
Burt’s Bees provides another great brand story example. The brand is known for its “By nature. For nature. For all.” mantra. This philosophy is deeply connected to the origin story of its founders leaving the city life to embrace nature, eventually discovering how to create cosmetic products from beeswax.
“The Nature of Burt” campaign showcased this story and highlighted the personality of the founder, Burt, while showing some of his silly side. The campaign also spoke to the origin of the brand, touching on Burt’s disdain for technology and love of nature.
This story resonates with the motivations of people who choose Burt’s Bees products–simple and natural is better. Consumers know that they share the value of choosing natural ingredients for their health and for the environment, making them more likely to stand by the brand.
Craft a brand story that resonates
A creative and strategic brand story sets your brand apart in the sea of brand voices. To create a powerful narrative, brands must think about how to make it authentic and unique before implementing it properly.
Brands can create a memorable brand story with a thoughtful strategy that prioritizes the right story elements. For support in creating a story that resonates, turn to PETERMAYER. We’ve helped countless brands leverage their brand story to develop meaningful campaigns and leave a lasting impression on their target audience.
Contact us at PETERMAYER to start developing your brand story and captivate your audience.