Storytelling in business isn’t about your everyday ordinary yarn. Brand stories that motivate consumers reveal the unexpected, challenge action, and resoundingly strike an emotional chord within. Your brand story should be an important element of your brand strategy because it strongly influences the brand experience. It’s not just rote copy or boring statistics. It’s life as you are living it as a business.
You may or may not have noticed that many companies are trying to tell and sell their stories these days. How will yours stand apart? How do you even begin?
Basic Elements of a Good Brand Story
Creating your unique brand story is not “storytelling” in the sense of making up fairy tales. It’s telling what is true, and telling it well. The stories about you and your business must be told in a way that relates to the consumer. The basic elements of a compelling story include:
- Truth – Truth must be your cornerstone. Your story must be about real people, real situations, real emotions, and real connections. It should show – not tell – how your business adds value to the world around you and to consumers.
- Humanity – Your brand must speak in the language of the people. No matter your industry or niche, your products or services must touch the lives of actual people. Use this gem from writing experts: when writing about people in your company, be specific enough to be believable and universal enough to be relevant.
- Originality – Your story cannot sound like every other, or any It must be original and offer a fresh perspective. What is unique about your company? Why is that interesting? Why should it be important to a consumer?
- Customer-Centric – In telling your story, it must always end with a consumer connection. Lofty, self-indulgent corporate stories are just boring. Consumers are asking, “What about me?”
Armed with these fundamentals, ask yourself some questions:
- What is unique about my business? Why is it unique?
- What is interesting about how it all began? How was I involved?
- What problem is my business trying to solve?
- What inspired my business?
- How has my business evolved?
- What aspects of your business would you consider normal and mundane, but other people would think is cool and unusual?
7 Components of a Compelling Brand Story
- Characters – Who are the main characters in your story? How do they contribute to the overall story? What about them is compelling or memorable? The other, unseen characters in your story are your target audience. Before they consider buying into your story, and your products or services, they must see themselves in the story. How do they fit? What action will they be compelled to take after experiencing your brand story?
- Challenges – Every memorable story has an element of conflict or challenge. Consumers need to understand from your story how the problem or pain in your story is solved by your products or services. Your pain is their pain. If it works for you, it will work for them.
- Motivation – Your business motivation cannot simply be greed or success. Consumers want to be inspired. Share your overriding inspiration for starting your business and invite them to be inspired alongside you as you see your dreams come to fruition.
- Setting – What is the framework for your story? Where did it all begin? Can consumers relate? When establishing your brand story, the setting is where your product or service exists for consumers.
- Obstacles – These are problems that you face as a business. The consumer doesn’t face them, unlike the challenges mentioned above. Today’s consumers are interested in the total story of how you bring your products and services to the world, and that includes the hurdles to face.
- Climax – This is the end-all and be-all of your brand story. It is the key moment when consumers must feel the need, the absolute necessity, of buying your product or booking your service to solve the problems they face.
- Closing – It’s decision time. By now the consumer has decided and you leave them happily contemplating the difference your product or service will make.
A powerful storyteller once said, “People don’t remember what you told them; they remember how you made them feel.” Making consumers feel strongly about your brand story is paramount. If they don’t, they will forget you and move on to another company whose story resonated with them. Pose a problem, validate the problem, evoke emotion, provide a solution (your products and/or services), demonstrate the benefits, and provide a simple way for them to become a valued customer.
What is unique about your brand? How are you leveraging that into a successful brand story? We’d love to hear about it! Share your story and its success in the comments below.