A few definitions… Stories, storytelling and brand Story are getting lots of business press these days. And it‘s great to see so much conversation about the persuasive power of stories.
We‘ve been struck, however, by the varying and valid definitions of brand story and storytelling that are being used in business today.
The concept of brand and its related terms also has been variously defined.
Brand Story is the narrative that, in the telling, portrays the heart and soul of the brand and emotionally connects with the consumer.
Brand Story needs to be infused into all organizational activities and assets (people, culture, product, packaging, facilities, marketing, customer experiences, etc.).
It‘s the “big S” story.
Brand history is the founding and evolution of the company. Many brands view their story as merely their histories. Though perhaps interesting, this is not the “big S” story.
Here we go – with some definition of terms.
What is Brand Experience Stories?
Brand experience stories are the personal stories that consumers tell about their experiences with the products and services.
These stories are very desirable outcomes from effectively infusing your organizational activities and assets with your Brand Story.
What is a Brand?
Brand: The single concept that you own inside the mind of the consumer that is built through the brand image and the brand experiences.
The unique and differentiated benefits that are relevant and compelling to the consumer.
The way the brand speaks and behaves to provide richness and texture in terms of human qualities and characteristics.
What is the brand story?
Like we rightly said – Brand Story expresses the heart and soul of your brand and emotionally connects you with your customers.
Interesting Brand story: NIKE
Think about the Brand Story for Nike, one of the most successful manufacturers of sports gear.
Nike is successful because it doesn’t just sell sports gear. It sells a persuasive and emotionally rich and value-laden story: a story of hard work, sweat, and perseverance—the perseverance associated with doing our very, very best.
It is a story that is incredibly persuasive because it entices consumers to participate—Just Do It—in a personal quest for excellence and fulfillment.
Brand story research
A quick Internet search of companies reveals that many companies view their Brand Story as a version of their company histories. Interesting as these histories may be—and often they are very compelling—they fail in their primary purpose, which is to emotionally connect people to the brand.
We’re not talking about corporate storytelling here. Your Brand Story is not the history of your organization’s founders, although your founders’ story and your Brand Story may indeed share similar elements.
We’re talking about a story that connects you with each customer deeply and personally.
At its very best and most powerful, your story transcends time, culture, and location because it speaks to those ageless and unchanging truths about the human experience—birth, death, growing up, growing old, kinship, struggling against all odds, etc.
That’s the story that needs to be told through everything you do. Great brand stories start with great research.
The purpose of this post is to help you identify how customers connect emotionally to a product or service category and then to the brand itself.
Consumer stories about you are first “deconstructed” to identify the common patterns in the narratives.
The goal is to discover the recurring themes and the broader patterns that go beyond the day-to-day routines of consumers and speak to the more fundamental experiences of the human condition— love, loyalty, friendship, commitment, etc.
What makes a Brand story Authentic?
There are few things you look out for as an evident mark of a brand’s authenticity.
But here is how to discover your brand’s authenticity yourself. By conducting analysis through consumers’ experience.
In the analysis of the consumer stories about your brand, look for recurring emotions, symbols, imagery, and events and then compare those to documented cognitive, mythic, and archetypal patterns.
Through the expert analysis and interpretation of these stories, you can better understand the patterns, themes, words, phrases, and symbolic images that connect everyday stories to ancient and timeless myths and archetypes.
These mythic stories and archetypes trigger powerful and deep-seated emotions. You can then build on this mythic foundation to create an emotionally compelling Brand Story—one that forges enduring bonds between consumers, employees, and the brand.
Brand story: Promise and personality
First, you identify the Brand Story and then you translate it into the brand promise and personality. The brand promise and personality flow directly from the Brand Story research. All three (story, promise, personality) help the organization to establish and communicate the uniqueness of the brand.
A case study
For example, Harley-Davidson’s Story is about the rule breakers who choose to make their own paths.
These strong-willed rule-breakers are rebels and outlaws who stand up for what they believe in.
They challenge the world as we know it. Individually motivated. They represent a release of pent-up passions. Also, they are aware of limitations in society and they set out to break the rules and challenge conventions.
They feel the excitement of being just a little bit “bad.” They stand out because they do not conform to the normal.
Harley-Davidson’s Story can be told by many different people.
The lawyer escapes his high-stress job to experience the freedom of the open road. The young man needs to define himself as someone who stands out from the crowd.
From each manifestation of this Story flows Harley-Davidson’s brand promise—the pursuit of freedom. The Harley-Davidson brand personality is then consistent with the Story and the promise. Harley-Davidson is:
- Fierce individuality
- Rebellion against things that are unjust
- Fearless in the face of danger
- Seeking a better life
- Seeking escape
By building their Brand Story, their brand promise, and their personality into everything they do, Harley-Davidson has maintained brand loyalty for over 100 years.
Customer relationships, market-defining products, and extraordinary customer experiences are the keys to their success.
How to write a compelling brand story: Craft an “About page”
- First, whether you’re “About page” is about you or your company, you need to create a story that resonates with your audience’s needs. Without a compelling story, you won’t connect with your website visitors. And if you don’t connect with them you won’t generate as many sales.
- The second thing you need to focus on is the benefit. How are you going to help people? By putting other people first, they are more likely to come back. Without that there is no reason for people to stick around.
- Third, you need to go for an audience or site visitor’s emotion. You do that by the use of adjectives. This helps create an emotional connection.
- Fourth, you need to keep your about page short and to the point. If it is a video, try to keep it under 2 minutes. If it is text, keep it around 500 to 1000 words.
- You need to have an action point. After someone is done reading about you and your company, what should they do next? The action point helps solve this.
Customer experience as the basis of a successful brand story
Customer Experience (CX) is a Top Priority. Each customer interaction has the ability to make or break consumer perception of your brand.
With one great experience, customers may recommend you to all their friends, increasing your audience instantly. Conversely, one bad experience can turn the best brand advocate sour – and they’ll be sure to tell their friends that as well.
There is an adage that says – People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Customers respond best to brands that:
How to tell your brand story: 11 Brand storytelling strategy that works
- Establish an emotional connection
- Humanize brand experiences
- Make it personal
- Give them a reason to care
- Keep it simple and effortless
- Use language they’ll connect with but be authentic and stay consistent
- Provide Value/ Solve problems
- Empower consumers
- Listen and respond to their needs
- Create great memories
- Show interest in customers outside of just making the sale