How to Create a Story For Your Brand That Connects With Your Audience
Brands have more marketing and advertising options than ever before. Search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, paid advertising, and of course, traditional advertising, rounds out the ever-growing list of marketing strategies to choose from.
However, none of these tactics will get the job done if a company lacks a brand story.
A brand story is an imperative piece of the marketing puzzle. Without it, brands will have a hard time connecting with their audience and driving quantifiable and long-term results.
If your brand lacks a story — or has yet to truly define one — there’s no time like the present. Before launching into a new marketing tactic or advertising campaign, brands must first identify, develop, and distribute their story to their audience.
What is a Brand Story?
By definition, a brand story is a narrative about your company. A brand story uses facts, emotions, and experiences created by your business to develop a cohesive and intriguing story that captivates and connects with your target market.
A brand’s narrative is built from a multitude of various tangible and intangible factors, such as:
- Products & Services: What does your business sell? Why do you sell these products and services?
- Staffing & Customer Service: Who you hire and how they treat your customers is directly tied to the brand’s story.
- Location: Tie your location into the brand story, regardless of how large your company is. For some, the local community will be a pillar of the brand story!
- In-Story Experience: For brands with physical locations, the in-store experience is an essential element of a brand story. From the moment customers walk through the door, they’ll begin to grasp an understanding of your story through the decor, signage, ambiance, and so much more.
- Brand Elements: Of course, brand design and appearance is part of the company’s story. For many companies, the story influenced the final branding design, logo, and strategy.
- Company Values: Most importantly, a brand story is built around company values. Whatever those values may be, they are a fundamental part of the brand’s narrative.
The best part about a brand story is that you get to write it.
You have full control over what your brand’s story will be. Whether it’s a thrilling tale of rising above challenges to become a successful entrepreneur or a story of compassion for the community and giving back, your story is yours to create.
Brands Create the Story, Customers Share It
Companies do the heavy lifting when it comes to building and defining a brand story. But, customers (and employees) are the ones who share the story with the world.
While the company brings the brand story to customers through their products, services, social media content, and in-person experiences, the customers are the ones who share the story with others.
Think of customers as stewards of your brand story.
Because customers carry this power, it’s critical to have the brand story defined and polished before customers have an opportunity to connect with it.
5 Reasons Why Businesses Need a Compelling Brand Story
Brand stories aren’t a frivolous “nice to have” marketing tool. They’re a necessity. Here’s why:
1. Brand Stories Communicate Your “Why” to Customers
Every business has a “why.”
Why you decided to start a company. Why you saw a need for your product and service in the marketplace. Why you chose that community or neighborhood for the first store location. The list of why’s goes on forever.
A brand story is a vehicle for communicating your “why,” passion, and mission to the customers with whom it will resonate most. Without a brand story connecting the dots for them, your audience will be left with a disjointed or inaccurate understanding of the brand.
2. Brand Stories Develop a Connection Between Your Business and Customers
Without a brand story, a customer’s experience with your business is merely a transaction.
Research from Headstream has shown that if a company has a brand story and shares it with its audience, 55% are more likely to buy a product in the future. And, 44% of that audience will share the story with others.
While a brand story is a vehicle for communicating your company’s history and values, it’s also a way to develop a lasting, trusting relationship with loyal customers.
This trust, in turn, translates into a greater lifetime customer value!
3. Brand Stories Build a Community
Customers want to spend their hard-earned money with businesses they connect to. In sharing your brand story with your audience, you’ll build a community of like-minded individuals all connecting with the brand’s story and mission.
The social media tool, Buffer, is an excellent example of this concept in practice. The company shares its brand story, values, and mission through every marketing and customer effort, and as a result, has developed a community of loyal customers and followers.
As the 80/20 rule states, this community may only be 20% of your total customers, but they’ll be responsible for 80% of your sales!
4. Brand Stories Bring Products and Services to Life
On the surface, some products and services are boring. Or, you might sell a commodity product or service that everyone needs, but has a plethora of companies to choose from.
A brand story breathes life into your products and services and gives customers a reason to choose your business over the competitors.
For instance, let’s say you run a locally-owned grocery store in your town. The residents have several other chain grocery and big box stores to choose from, but they come to your market because of the story and the people behind it.
Brand stories transform products and services from boring necessities into an exciting solution or treat!
5. A Brand Story Increases Your Company’s Reach
Remember, customers are stewards of your brand story!
As they connect with your brand and share their experiences with friends and family, your brand story will reach new audiences. Therefore, brand stories are paramount for companies who want to grow!
4 Tips for Creating a Brand Story that Connects With Your Target Market
When you’re ready to define your brand story and develop a narrative that resonates with your audience, keep these four tips in mind.
1. Remember How You Started
Much of a brand’s story is rooted in its history. When crafting a brand story, start here.
Take a moment to write down your history, from where you started to where the company is now. In this story, mention what drove you to start the business and why you continue to run the company to this day.
Don’t stop to edit. Just write!
In doing so, you’ll discover the true “why” behind the brand. This then becomes the foundation of your brand story.
2. Keep It Simple
Your brand story doesn’t need to be a prolonged, in-depth narrative. Don’t overcomplicate it!
Customers should be able to understand what your brand story is communicating within seconds.
Neil Patel put it best when he mentioned that brand stories should follow the “Problem, Solution, Success” model.
This model suggests that in brand stories, companies should address the:
- Problem: Your company likely started from a need or discovery of a problem. Your customers have that same problem. Call it out!
- Solution: Your brand, products, and services are the solution to a customer’s predicament.
- Success: By trusting your brand and products, customers will have achieved some level of success, whether immediate or long-term.
By focusing on these three core elements of a brand story, you can create a simple narrative that instantly connects with the right audience.
3. Develop a Brand Voice
No customer will connect to a brand story that sounds as though it was told by Ben Stein. (Bueller… Bueller?)
Your story needs to have a personality and voice. Of course, it can’t be any voice. It has to be a brand voice that resonates with your audience.
To successfully cultivate a brand voice, think back to your company values.
For example, if your company values include transparency, honesty, and patience, your brand story should be told in a calming, but confident tone.
When completing this brand story exercise, always think from the mind of a consumer. Consider what brand voicing would best connect with their needs and interests while also accurately conveying your brand story.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Customers for Insight
If your company already has dedicated customers, look to them for help refining your brand story. After all, they’re the ones it has to connect with!
Ask them questions like:
- Why do you trust our company with your needs?
- What appeals to you about our company and brand?
- Tell me about your in-store experiences.
- Do you tell your friends and family about our company?
- What benefit do you get from trusting our brand with your purchases?
Their answers will help you understand how to craft your brand story in a way that truly connects with your target audience.
Define Your Brand Story and Create Lasting Customer Relationships
Without a defined brand story, your company will be just another business in your industry. Your products and services will merely be transactions and customers will only frequent your business if it’s convenient.
Transform the customer experience and reach new markets by developing and sharing your company’s brand story.