How to Create a Compelling Brand Story

Great brands make an emotional connection with their market.

And in today’s digital world, that can be more complicated than ever. Customers’ expectations of brands are changing, and we’re undergoing a massive shift in how we deliver that brand experience.

Some brands won’t survive.

But it’s still early in the shift. Even if you’re an “old school” brand or traditional B2B brand, you can still evolve your brand experience to meet your customers’ changing expectations by connecting with the emotions of your buyers.

By being authentic.

By being human.

By creating an expectation for the experience that you will deliver. And then by following through and delivering upon it.

And your brand story can help to set that expectation.

Creating a Compelling Brand Story

Most of us know the stories that lie behind the big tech brands that we use today – Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak at Apple; Sergey Brin and Larry Page at Google; Jeff Bezos at Amazon and Elon Musk at Tesla.

Here are some other examples of compelling stories that you might be familiar with:

Dollar Shave Club became a billion-dollar company that was propelled by a funny and authentic brand story.

Brand Story - Dollar Shave Club

Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company has raised hundreds of millions of venture capital funding for its non-toxic household goods products company and leads with a compelling brand story.

The Honest Co Brand Story

Warby Parker has changed how many people purchase eyeglasses and shares their story.

Warby Parker Brand Story

Blue Apron is attempting to change the U.S. food system.

Blue Apron Brand Story

People today have more choices than ever, even in B2B, and they are choosing to do business with companies they want to do business with.

With brands that support the things that are important to them.

With brands that make them feel good.

With brands that are aligned with their values.

You don’t have to be a consumer brand to connect with your audience in this manner. Even a 92-year-old industrial machine manufacturer is sharing a compelling brand story.

Formed out of the 1925 merger between the C.L. Best Tractor Company and Holt Manufacturing Company, Caterpillar is now one of the most recognizable industrial brands in the world.

Brand Story for Caterpillar

But it wasn’t always recognizable. Caterpillar shifted its marketing approach in 2015 to share their story. They invested heavily in content marketing to communicate it to the market.

Writing Your Brand Story

As you’re thinking about your brand story, start by thinking about your story theme. At the highest level, there are only a handful of story themes:

  • A quest for something intrinsically special
  • Rags to riches
  • Good against evil
  • Revenge
  • Love
  • Survival in a new environment
  • Individual against society

Most movie scripts and novels follow one of the above themes. If you’re a startup or a relatively new company, your story could be about your founders and what they set out to change. If you’re a more established brand, your story can reflect the values that the company holds, or something that it’s focused on changing.

Think about your brand’s personality and positioning and write short summaries of story ideas. Then take a fresh look at them and consider:

  • Credibility: Why are YOU qualified to sell this product?
  • Differentiation: Why are you DIFFERENT from everyone else who sells this type of product? (Be positive and truthful).
  • Purpose: Why are you in business? What difference or IMPACT are you trying to make? (Be emotional if possible. People want to know that you care).
  • Intrigue and Personality: What makes your story worth listening to? What will appeal to the customer on a personal level?

Memorable brand stories tell the unexpected, challenge you, dare you and strike an emotional chord. They can convey your personality, share what you stand for, set expectations and communicate your values.

Your brand story can influence the brand experience. It’s not ad copy or boring facts.

It’s a powerful element of your brand strategy.

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This is content contained in Module 4 – Differentiate of our online strategic marketing course. This module is about defining the elements of your brand that shape your brand experience. You can also view additional articles about choosing a great brand name, designing your brand architecture, shaping your brand personality traits, writing your brand messaging,  developing your corporate identity or conducting a brand audit.

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