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What is your brand story and why do you need one?

Saying your business has a brand is one thing, but intentionally crafting your brand story is another. 

Your brand story is an integral aspect of your business and by extension, your marketing strategy. Your story gives your audience a clear idea of your brand identity, purpose and values. Stories have the power to communicate these elements of your brand and forge deep connections with your audience, using narratives that resonate with and compel them to act.

A compelling story can leave a lasting impression on your audience and help develop positive associations for you and your brand. In this article, we’ve broken down what a brand story is–and how you can develop an engaging one for your business.

What is the importance of a brand story to your business?

Utilising brand storytelling gives your business the capacity to engage with your audience on a deeper level. In an environment where audiences see gratification and convenience as a matter of course for any company that wants to stand a chance in their market, a brand story allows businesses to pull at the audience’s heartstrings and get them to stop scrolling, among other things.

Forbes calls brand storytelling the future of marketing for three key reasons:

  • A story can make your business unforgettable because you’re making your brand real and thoughtful, with a narrative that brings them to another world, breaks down complex information and encourages an emotional response.
  • A story unifies your audience and builds a community by turning your brand into an experience they can consume, derive value from and find other like-minded people to connect with.
  • A story humanises your brand by showing audiences what impact you can leave on their lives, how you’re giving back to your community and why their support is important.

When you pay attention to the story your brand is telling, you anchor all your communications on a clear point of view and shape your audience’s perception of your business.

5 steps to creating your brand story

Your brand story is crucial to your business communications, and the process of building it translates into getting each element of the story right before you bring everything together. 

1. Define your brand values

Brand values are the beliefs that govern how you do business.

These values serve as an “authenticity metre,” for a brand which ensures you’re staying true to your core principles, both internally and externally. Audiences use your brand values as the points of reference for your marketing efforts; when you lose track of these values, you send the opposite message of what you’re aiming to achieve, and end up seeming more insincere.

You can develop a strong set of brand values by doing the following:

  • Establishing your team of diverse perspectives, with a sampling of different levels throughout the organisation, to gather insights as well as feedback that gives staff ownership of the process.
  • Identify themes among submissions from members of the team as well as ideas from social listening that focus on your existing culture and capture your future aspirations.
  • Polish and communicate a manageable set of values for your executive team to evaluate and cascade to the rest of the organisation.

Your brand values will set the tone for your story and give you a clear idea of what themes to tackle in the narrative you create.

2. Create your key message

If brand values are the principles of your business, then brand messaging is how it speaks.

Your key and supporting messages act as the thesis statement of your brand story. They may not be stated outright in the narrative, but they’re evident in your brand story. 

  • Start with a brand positioning statement that’s able to briefly and specifically summarise your solution to customer problems, which lists your company’s mission, how you’re going to achieve it, why the solution matters, who your customers are and the pain points you’re addressing.
  • Check out your competition to find out how they market themselves and differentiate your messaging in case there’s any overlap between your audience and theirs.
  • Develop your brand’s unique voice so there’s a clear personality that you and your audiences can identify immediately.
  • Create a tone and style guide so everyone who speaks about your brand is on the same page about the benchmarks for your brand’s messaging.
  • Engage your audience and keep the conversation going to maintain that connection which helps reinforce your brand.
  • Assess and adapt your brand so your overall marketing strategy remains relevant in changing environments.

While it can be daunting to establish how your brand will come across in various communications, sticking to a messaging framework can help you set up the way you structure your conversation.

3. Highlight your brand story’s conflict (and solution) 

Every story has a conflict, even branded ones. Your brand story’s conflict should highlight the main pain points that your business is trying to address with its products or services, while the resolution serves as the introduction to the solution your business offers. 

Applying this to your business’ marketing can be as simple as recalling your college writing courses and following the same pattern:

  • Place your character in a setting and describe it.
  • Follow your character through to the middle and introduce their conflict.
  • Feature your offer as part of the resolution at the end.

It’s crucial to include a conflict and resolution in your brand story so you’re able to make a case for your offer’s relevance in your audience’s life. 

4. Incorporate your brand story into your content marketing strategy

A brand story by itself is just the beginning; it’s one of the foundational pillars of your content marketing strategy, and it needs to be the basis for any marketing initiative. 

A brand story needs to be incorporated into a content marketing strategy so you’re able to set your business apart from others by highlighting your key and supporting messages, and integrating it into the overall plan for the content you’re producing.

When you consistently circle back to your brand story in the content you produce, you’re able to reinforce those messages and build a complete impression of your business for audiences.

5. Include a call to action at the end of the story

A brand story’s ending needs to be a compelling call to action that inspires your audiences to act positively towards your business. 

According to Hootsuite, a brand story needs to list a specific action that you want audiences to take after experiencing the narrative. As your brand story sets the tone and direction for audience expectations, your call to action needs to match the outcome you’re hoping to achieve by utilising storytelling in your marketing.

Some of the most effective call-to-action statements are:

  • Concise so make sure you aren’t extolling the benefits of your brand to the point your audience is no longer interested.
  • Clear about what you want your audience to do after reading your brand story.
  • Thoughtful as well as aligned with your brand story, so you strike a chord with your audience’s emotions and get them to act.

Call-to-action statements need to be aligned with your overall brand story, so your key and supporting messages must also be relevant to the outcome you’re aiming to generate.

When your brand story is compelling, you can shape perceptions of your business and drive your audiences to act. This way your brand has a life outside of your internal marketing documents, and you keep your audience engaged with relevant messages. 

Brand storytelling can do all this for your business. Are you ready to create your brand story? Contact us so we can get started.

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