You know your brand, right?
I’ll bet some days, it feels like you and you alone do, even though you’re surrounded by a ton of people.
You probably have a brand bible:
Your brand probably has some kind of brand bible — a formal documentation of all of your word marks, fonts, colours and visual branding elements.
And it makes your life so much easier when it comes to working with any new designer or partner. Immediately, they understand what they can and cannot do with your brand’s visual assets.
A brand bible only goes so far:
But there are other assets, some of them intangible, that are every bit as important to your brand as your logo.
Some of them are just as important, maybe even more important.
Every brand has these things:
Like your stories. And your values. And the archetypes that resonate with the people your brand serve.
Your brand may know about them or not. Use them or not. Nurture them or not.
Either way, they’re there.
A brand story bible is where it’s at baby:
But most brands don’t intentionally gather those assets.
That means stories that could open hearts and change minds are lost. As is a collective sense of purpose. And a clear understanding of the values you share.
These are the assets that will win you business and engage others in your point of view. Not your logo. Or your font. Or your colour scheme.
That’s why we’ve created the Brand Story Bible.
You didn’t ask but about me:
I write for television. One of the most important things you’ll ever create as a TV writer is the Show Bible.
A good show bible does two things:
1. It helps sell the series to a broadcaster
It tells the broadcaster everything they need to know to determine whether or not the show and its concept is a good “fit” for the broadcast objectives.
2. It keeps the team pulling in the same direction
Once the show is sold, it acts as the repository for all of the important information about the show’s concept, characters, background information, plots and stories so that any new writers or directors joining the team can immediately hit the ground running. It is your roadmap to stories that make sense for the show.
3. It acts as quality control:
It becomes the lens or filter through which the decision makers decide if any element — from a script idea, to a prop suggestion, to storyline, to a setting, to a line of dialogue and everything in between — makes sense. It helps the producers and story editors (writer report to a story editor; the story editor reports to the producers) determine if any given element is consistent with the vision and direction of the show.
Knowing how important a show bible is, we decided to apply what we learned to capturing the elements that make up a brand’s story. And the result is the Brand Story Bible.
A brand story bible does what a show bible does. But maybe a bit more.
What a good Brand Story Bible does:
Where a show bible tends to focus exclusively on the show, in our world, a good brand story bible also looks at how the people your brand serves matter to it, interact with it, and relate to it.
It’s never too late to create one:
A brand story bible, whether it’s created at the beginning of a brand’s life or at the 10th, 75th or 200th anniversary mark, challenges those involved to really understand the values of the brand and how those are reflected throughout its storytelling.
Many of the same creative issues that are required of a show bible are also required of a brand story bible.
A good place to start framing your Brand Story Bible (we’ll talk about format elsewhere) is to ask yourself the following initial questions…
- What are our values?
- Are our values reflected in the stories we tell, including digitally, in the media and in our every interaction with those we serve?
- What is our existing brand story?
- Who is our hero (hint, it’s not the brand)
- Are our values aligned with those we serve?
- Would others understand our values through our stories and digital presence?
- Do others see our brand as we want them to? Why or why not?
- Do our personas take into account our shared values?
- Are our personas authentic to those we serve or want to serve?
- Are you able to describe the character of your brand as an archetype?
- What is our theme?
- Do we have stories that matter to us as a collective?
- What do those stories say about us?
And also think about …
You’ll want to also think about themes that are unique or aligned with your brand. Your theme is essentially the way in which your brand views the world. And again, the theme must be aligned with your values. And you must ultimately be able to sum everything up in a single and concise line.
And yes, it’s a lot to do. Like anything, the easier it looks, the harder it probably was to get it to that place. A good Story Bible for TV may only be 30 pages. But it probably took hundreds of pages discarded pages to get it to that point.
A good Brand Story Bible might not be quite so arduous. In some cases, you’re building on work that’s already been done elsewhere.
But you are thinking about those assets differently. Strategically. And that can be both evolutionary and take a bit of time.
But it’s worth it:
An all-consuming knowledge of your brand not only gives it depth, substance and meaning but it helps bring it to life.
Want more tips on creating a brand story bible?
Of course you do. If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for our newsletter, you should now. In addition to getting a snazzy brand story checklist, you’ll get regular tips on creating a good brand bible and first dibs on downloading the ebook we’re writing about that.
Next up: Your Brand Story Bible Format.