The most important part of branding is storytelling.
And the most important part of storytelling is connecting with your audience.
You must cultivate a brand story that adds context and meaning to what would otherwise be dull facts and figures.
Your audience should be able to connect to and see themselves in your story.
To do that, you’ll need to tap into your personal history and also humanize your brand.
Think of your brand as a person
Don’t just see your brand as a set of values, a slogan or even a logo. Instead, think of your brand as a person.
It’s not that far of a stretch.
Your brand has a birthday, has experienced growing pains, has made mistakes and has learned from those mistakes.
Your brand has a personality and a specific voice used in communication.
Your brand may be friendly or authoritative or both, but has a strong need to help others improve in some way.
Think of what your brand would say if it was actually a person.
- What parts of your origin story would it highlight?
- What message would it try to convey?
- What words would your brand use to speak to your audience?
- What tone? What voice?
- What platform would it use? (Blogs, social media, video, podcasts, presentations, etc.)
When you shift the way that you think about your brand, your audience will, too. Instead of being a stuffy, corporate entity, your brand becomes people-driven and people-focused.
And when you humanize your brand, the emphasis shifts from money and the bottom-line to providing real solutions for real people. And your audience will positively respond to that.
Answer the Basic Questions
Your brand story should answer the following:
- Who you are (your founders)
- Who works for you (your team)
- Who you exist for (your customers)
- What you care about (your values)
Let’s break that down.
Who you are
Introduce your audience to your brand’s founders. What pain or epiphany drove them to create the solution that is your product or service?
Who works for you
Here’s where you can highlight the rest of your team. Depending on your brand, you may allow your team to pen their own bios, and show off their quirky personalities.
Who you exist for
Define your target customer and explain what they struggle with and how you can solve this issues.
What you care about
This is where you get into your values and discuss what you believe and why. This will help set you apart.
Transparency is directly connected to trust. If you want your audience to trust you, you’ve got to show them trust them. Share a vulnerable moment in your personal history. That negative moment can become a turning point in your business.
Have you lost all your money in a failed pursuit? Share it! Is it embarrassing? Sure is! But, it can help your audience associate you (and your brand) is honest and authenticity. And, if you have a smart strategy, you can convert this raw perception of you into trust.
Emotion draws people in and keeps them on the hook.
Create an emotion in your brand message that makes people feel something when they think of your brand.
It shouldn’t be hard to understand your brand message. It’s okay to connect the dots for your audience. For example, your personal story may be one of triumph over tragedy. Show your audience how you (or your product) helps them do the same thing.
And use as few words as possible to do so. That way, your message won’t get lost in a sea of wordiness.
Everyone is unique, but not everyone embraces their uniqueness. There’s a lot of people who think it’s better to copy other brands. But that’s not where your power comes from.
You create the strongest version of your brand by being true to who you are— whoever that is.
Anything else rings hollow.
Every good story has an interesting main idea. Popular themes include:
- Beating the odds
- Coming of age
You could use one of the above popular themes as prism for telling your story. For example, Nike uses heroism as a central theme for its brand. Every message it shares contains a little bit of heroism, from its marketing material to the way Nike portrays its chief executives as trail blazers and community leaders.
Always have a strategy. There needs to be a definite reason why you choose to share a specific aspect of your story.
If you’d come to look at your brand as a person, you’ll remember that the best conversations are not monologues about one’s accomplishments (how boring is that?). Instead, truly engaging conversations are empathic and empowering.
One person is listening to another person, and sharing messages of encouragement and explaining how they can help solve the other person’s problems.
This is why you must know what your audience wants, and what they’re struggling with. This way, you can come into the conversation with answers. You can share the parts of your personal story that relate to what your audience is going through, and you can present your product or service as the solution.
Your brand story should always provide key takeaways that your audience will associate with your brand. For example, words like “survivor”, “empowerment”, and “dedicated” can be consistent themes you use every time in your brand messaging.
Leverage Your “About Us” Page
When people are genuinely interested in you, they’ll visit your “About Us” page. In fact, this page is likely to be one of your most visited pages. What does your “About Us” say?
Does the content on your “About Us” page only serve as navel gazing? Do you solely concentrate on yourself without finding a way to connect your
There’s a balancing act between providing insight into your brand’s origin story and making your customer the motivation for your existence. Keep that in mind when you pen the story for your “About Us” page.
Share Your Story on Every Platform
Your brand story isn’t just for your “About Us” page— although that’s a great place to start. Your brand story should be inherent in all of your message, from printed marketing materials to social media posts, and everywhere in between.