Every brand has a story. A tale of how it came to be, the person behind the logo, its history, how it grew, its ups and downs, etc. A story can be compelling, interesting, some have even had TV series or films made out of them (I’m thinking Mr Selfridge or the story behind Apple).
Many have used their story to great effect, so much so, that it’s become intertwined with the brand itself. But a brand story is more than just the company history. It’s a narrative, yes, but it tells the story of the heart and soul of the brand, its aim is to create an emotional connection with its customers. Not only should it be engaging, captivating, endearing and meaningful, but it should also communicate what you stand for, the values of your company, the customer experience and your brand promises.
At the same time, it’s important to not over think the process itself too much. Storytelling is something that we do naturally in our day-to-day lives without even realising that we are doing it. This shouldn’t be some huge sales pitch in which you are selling the features and benefits of your products, nor should it be a dull corporate account of your company’s vision.
With that in mind, every company should be creating and developing their story to help to create relationships with not just its customers, but also its employees, stakeholders, suppliers and anyone else that comes into contact with them.
Done well, a compelling story will contribute to the creation of a successful, sustainable business with loyal brand fans. So what should a business consider when telling their story, and how should they use it to grow their business?
To start with, a brand story needs to have legs.
There’s no point, in this case, for this story to have an ending. It needs to evolve, and develop as the company grows. There should be twists and turns, offshoots, additions to the story, all to entice customers and keep them entertained and wanting to know what the next instalment holds.
Likewise, it needs to be a story that hasn’t been told before. In the same way that a company’s offering must be sufficiently different from its competitors, so too should its story. And it must be relevant to the people reading it, so the target audience must be high on the consideration list when compiling the narrative.
Be conversational! Don’t get overly hung-up on grammar, for example. And keep it short, sharp and to the point. Your customers want to learn enough about you to buy into your brand, but not be bored to tears with long, drawn out prose.
In this day and age, there’s no benefit to keeping a story within the realms of the company HQ. It’s so important to create relevant and insightful two-way dialogue with customers and, in some respects, this is the most important conversation you should be having. In this way, the brand story develops with its customers as they contribute and feedback with their thoughts, insights and opinions.
There’s nothing more valuable than involving a company’s audience and using them to shape how the brand evolves. It’s taking the existing story, and rather than just telling it, you’re creating it with your customers. Increase the ownership outside of the company by sharing it, and inviting contribution and input. They’ll feel involved and loved, and you’ll be well on the way to building a database of superfans!
Finally, keep going, evaluating, adding to, and taking away all the time.
It’s a never-ending item on the to-do list. Your brand story should be preserved, valued and treated with respect and given the time it deserves, after all, it’s what makes your company what it was, is, and will be in the future.