An authentic and a well-presented brand story differentiates you from the competition. Beyond its marketing value, the story:
- reveals your true motivations to investors
- guides your values, objectives and actions
- strikes a chord on crowdfunding websites
A great brand story can attract a significant number of social shares, giving your start-up the momentum it needs and possibly earning you a mention on popular media websites. If there is anything besides the actual product or service that can create an emotional connect with consumers, it is the origin story.
Let’s look at some factors that shape the story and show your audience the human side of your brand.
1. Where it all began
Why did you start your business? What is its purpose? The answers to these two questions are the starting point to introducing your brand before your audience. The reason for your existence is directly linked to the utility and value of your offerings.
- Do you exist to address an unmet need?
- Have you created a better way of doing something?
- Have you invented an innovative product?
If you have created a comparable product that doesn’t compete on product/service features, state how you are a different kind of company. Have you, from the very beginning, insisted on partnering only with local suppliers? Do you offer clients free reports and case studies to help them make better business decisions? Both give you a chance to express your values and communicate your brand intentions in your story.
2. The spark of passion
Steve Jobs famously said “people with passion can change the world”. Passion is key to entrepreneurial success or less optimistically, to entrepreneurial satisfaction. We are attracted to founder stories because they give us hope and inspiration, even if we don’t aspire to be entrepreneurs ourselves.
In the 90s, Jeff Bezos set out to build the ‘everything store’ and launched Amazon out of his garage. This, from a man who at 18 years of age dreamed of building space hotels and parks for people in ‘space cities’. The Amazon founder’s spark of passion and vivid imagination are clearly evident from these factoids about his entrepreneurial journey. Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Jack Ma too have interesting stories that have influenced brand perceptions and acceptance.
Not every entrepreneur has a captivating story to tell. Yet you can capture the essence of what it means to be a passionate entrepreneur by conveying that you stuck to your goal and idea.
Ex : You wanted to make party dresses from sustainable fabric after you first learnt about the impact of chemically treated material back in high school. You traveled to twenty cities to talk to natural fabrics manufacturers and mill owners re-selling deadstock/surplus fabrics.
Ex : You spent an extra hour in your college lab every day of the year to design a pre-heated electric butter knife.
One approach is to state the realization or epiphany, and describe how you went about solving the problem or creating positive change.
If you had a tough time convincing investors about your product that, back then, was ahead of its time, or you were forced to reinvent your product multiple times before perfecting it, include it in your founder story.
3. Audience perspectives
During product development, you would have already stepped into your audience’s shoes to understand what they want and judge their potential response to your product. An engaging brand story builds off this understanding and makes you relatable to the audience you’re trying to woo. It helps to frame the story without losing sight of the audience’s viewpoints. This will allow you to build a rapport and motivate them to continue reading or viewing – depending on the format of your story – what you have to say.
- Create an emotional hook
- Use scenarios and buyer personas
- State how your product is helping its intended audience (include a bit of quantifiable evidence)
- Appeal to your audience’s desires and values
Stay true to who you are, and avoid borrowing ideas from popular brands in your niche.
Consider inviting your customers to share their experiences with your brand, which you can leverage to indicate your authority and even utilize as a social media engagement strategy.
4. The tone and delivery
There is no hard and fast rule that the tone of your brand story must err on the side of formal and avoid colloquialism altogether. GoPro’s brand story video has its CEO using slang and chatty language that makes the company appear unpretentious and confident about what its cameras can achieve.
It is great if you – like MailChimp, Lush and Digg – can find your distinctive voice and style. If not, adopt a tone that is likely to resonate with your target audience. Keep the style conversational and edit out sentences that don’t contribute much to the arc of the story, and eliminate overused corporate buzzwords entirely.
5. Injecting personality
An interesting, attractive and unfiltered brand personality is a huge draw and differentiator. Explore ways to communicate your authentic, transparent self through your brand story. Support it with sufficient back-story and context to paint an accurate picture of who you are, what you can achieve, and why your audience needs you.
Dr. Martens is a good example of unique, alternative appeal in today’s world of sameness. The shoemaker is not afraid to show its gritty, unapologetic side, which has allowed it to transform and reinvent over five decades from a brand for the working class and teenage punks and skinheads to a more diverse label worn by music lovers, celebrities and liberal metro-dwellers.
While the main goal of storytelling is to build strong relationships with customers, you can also treat it as a website or Facebook marketing tool. One tactic would be to end your story with a call to action, telling your audience what you want them to do. You can also have your employees share your brand story video or infographic on their social media pages, as part of your social employee advocacy efforts.
Image Credit : Pixabay