A brand story is more than just a theme, content, or narrative surrounding the entity that produces value. The story goes beyond the stylish copy that’s flashing on the website. It’s not the carefully crafted text that shines in the brochure, nor the hidden presentation template used to pitch the investors.
Every brand has a story to tell. Your narrative is not what you verbally convey to people. It is beautifully encapsulated in what people believe about your story, after understanding the subtle signals your brand sends. The story must give the reader a complete picture. It must capture all aspects associated with your brand. It encompasses facts, feelings, and interpretations. It is such a unique creation that a significant part of your story is not even told by you.
Everything you chose to do, right from the beginning, keeps adding layers to that story. Each element of your business adds value to it, and makes it better. The colors selected, and the textures that are chosen, for your packaging and business cards, also are pivotal elements to the brand story. Every element should reflect the truth to be told. They must convey your intentions clearly to the audience.
The roots of a successful and sustainable business are hidden in the seed called branding. You can garner customer loyalty only through it. The story you create around it gets you the attention and love needed for you to grow and thrive.
Why Do You Need a Story for Your Brand?
Not having a story for your brand reduces it into becoming just another passable commodity. A replaceable cog in the ever-churning consumption machine. There is no special feeling for your brand to differentiate it from the rest.
Creating a brand story is not all about standing out and getting noticed. Being imposing to garner attention only carries the effect to some extent. It is about building something unique that people care about. They should be naturally willing to buy into the value you are choosing to provide. It’s about thinking beyond the mere utility and functionality of your products. It’s striving for creating meaningful bonds and loyalty with your customers. Your strategy for growth is inclusive in it.
A brand story example worth dissecting is that of Starbucks, as it created a whole new coffee category. What it did elevate is its perception in people’s minds way above its competitors. That story is the reason why loyal customers pass by equally appealing coffee houses to get theirs from Starbucks. Paying three times more than the average price, every morning.
Starbucks didn’t choose to simply set out their business to sell coffee at premium prices. Their mission was something else entirely. It was to be the third place. They built their brand with much more than just the utility and specifications of their product.
This illustrates the fact that the product is only a part of the story. To complete the brand story, you need a wonderful relationship to manifest between the customer and your brand. That relationship likely begins way before they purchase the product.
Crafting a Compelling Brand Story
1. Determine Your “Why”
Every brand has a story. “Why” is the first great step at the beginning of building your brand story. When you start with “Why” you’ll get a clear picture of the fundamental values that drive your brand forward. Don’t restrict the powerful “Why” to question only one aspect of your brand. Derive a series of questions to answer. Each question provides you with an opportunity to dive deep into the brand you wish to create, and understand it better. Imagination is a great aid in this process.
Take a step back, think about the story around why your brand exists in the first place. Look for the purpose, beyond the product. Do it without entering the realm of philosophy and abstract thoughts.
Recall your passion. The same one which made you enter the industry in the first place. Be honest, true to your intention, your brand story doesn’t have to be spectacularly ground-breaking.
Understanding the “Why” can be difficult. If you had your intentions set on creating a business only to capture the opportunity to make money. People don’t really care about it. They are only looking for solutions to their problems. They are seeking something to enrich their lives. If you manage to find these for them, consider your product sold. With minimum fuss about making big bucks.
When people see your passion for providing value to the world, they’ll want to be a part of it.
2. Understand Your Product
To create a great brand story, you must understand where your product fits in. A brand story that doesn’t resonate with your product might create an engaged fan base, but give only a few sales.
Lack of self-awareness in the product contributes to the biggest mistake brands make. For example, there’s Mercedes and Kia, both are cars, yet they are not sold the same way. Their quality, performance, and experience expectations differ, along with their target audience.
You need to figure out how your product fits into your brand story. You need to assess the quality and price point of your product. You need to address what problem your product solves, what emotions it invokes in your customer. You need to identify what makes your product unique when compared to your competition.
3. Understand Your Audience
Knowing who you are talking to is essential to get the necessary heads-up to start a striking brand story. Understanding that aspect forms a firm base over which the story builds well. This one is an obvious step as every brand that aims to make it big, goes to lengths to know its target audience. You can only create a compelling brand story when you identify their passions and pain points.
Like the questioning exercise followed for the previous idea, you can follow a similar approach for this one too. You need clear answers when you ask yourself what is at stake if your customer doesn’t choose to buy your product. You need to illustrate an image in your mind while defining who your current customer could be. The same image can also be developed and improved when you start defining who your ideal customer is.
The process of narrowing down your ideal customer may prove to be intimidating. But that painful part is essential in carving out a resonating brand story. A major misstep majority of the retailers make is, they try too hard to appeal to all kinds of customers, instead of speaking directly to their target.
There are so few products that cater everything to everybody. It can sometimes be acceptable to cater to a broad demographic, but going too broad might push away some customers. You need to be mindful of a realistic, interested customer for your product.
Maybe you find it difficult to identify your ideal customer. While in that phase, you can start listing out the values you stand for. Start associating the kind of customers who might find these values appealing.
Understanding your ideal customer is indeed a significant accomplishment. But it’s not enough. Not until you utilize it to prove your passion and make meaningful connections that lead to sales.
Building a Brand: Implementing Your Story
Creating a brand story is only a part of the puzzle solved. Implementing it across all areas of your business is a whole other task. Every interaction counts. It should vibrantly bring your brand’s story to life.
A brand only has a few seconds to create an impact and transition into a sale. The brand should strive to communicate clearly, the design must be clean, just like its message. The brand should be displayed creatively in the logo. If the impact cannot be created with one glance, the brand can be assumed to have failed conclusively.
Consistency is the Key
When the story seems diluted and the message inconsistent, it drastically minimizes the impact. That’s why brands have to constantly engage in active and consistent communication. It has to utilize all available channels. It has to come with an impactful message that resonates with the audience.
There are some areas where your brand story is easily identified and associated with. The one that stands out is your store, packaging, or service capabilities, if that is a part of your business. The other significant medium that has clout on marketing presently is social media. The obvious next is your website, and the most recognizable part is your logo. Every interaction a customer has with these many representations of your brand adds to your overall appeal in their minds.
These channels offer you an opportunity to actively propel your narrative. With them, you constantly need to display that you are living up to the expectations you have created.
A little note to remember. When in the product development phase, avoid creating products with varying varieties of branding styles. Every element of your brand needs to be selected with a purpose to accomplish and an intent. Your products and communication need to assist each other. They should not cater to a niche while occupying a huge part of the shelf space.
Making Your Brand Story Authentic
Clever marketing tactics can only help you to some extent in establishing your brand. But consumers are smart. They can sniff out a phony from a mile away. So, it becomes very essential to have an authentic voice for your brand. It should authentically represent you, your products, and your values.
Potential customers subconsciously shun buying your product, if you try to mask it with poor advertising. And that affects sales.
A lack of authenticity can be a result due to many factors. Not knowing why you are in the business. Not able to explain it clearly. And not understanding your customer. It’s important to lay the groundwork first.
Documenting Your Brand Story
Along with consistency and authenticity, another vital characteristic that refines your brand story is documentation. You need to document everything for your reference, for your employees and customers. A fascinating insight can be found when you are re-living the journey of your brand.
Documentations, policies, and guidelines reduce your story to being misrepresented or mistold. Every component is essential in protecting the authenticity of your brand. Even the font you use for your sign should have a unique attribute. Documentation ensures every aspect of your business is well aligned.
Train your staff in understanding your brand. Make them familiar with your vision and mission for the business.
Once you feel you have got the story right, just get creative!. Use typography and color to communicate. An authentic brand story and the associated visuals are prime aspects that let out your brand essence. Ensure you create something that succeeds in gaining the trust of your customers today with Moshi Moshi, your communication partner.