A brand story is more than just a narrative. Your story goes beyond your logo, copy on your website or the presentation you used to pitch to investors. Your story isn’t just what you tell people, either. It’s what your readers, clients and the general public believe about you based on the signals your brand sends. It is a complete picture made up of facts, feelings, and interpretations. And this means that a huge part of your brand story isn’t even told by you. (Crazy I know right?)
Your brand story is everything you do. From the way you sign off your emails to the profile picture you use to the types of clients you work with. And every element – no matter how small – should reflect the truth about your brand back to your audience.Think of it like a mirror. Is what you’re seeing reflected the truth? Or are you pretending to be a fox when really you’re a peacock? Or do you believe you’re a diamond but people think you’re a quartz?
This is where most brand stories fall down. There is a discrepancy between who the brand thinks they are and who their client thinks they are. This happens sometimes because the brand evolves internally but their marketing is still telling the old story. Other times it’s because brands haven’t taken the time to really capture who they are and what they do so they can attract their ideal clients.
And occasionally, I see brand stories that fail mostly because the people writing them were trying to be clever or cool. Being relevant and timely is important but trying to be ‘on trend’ isn’t going to do it for most people.
If you want to build a successful, sustainable business and become known and loved, you have to start with your brand story.
Here are my four tips for writing a lasting brand story
1. Tell the truth – You can’t bullshit your way through this. (There, I said it). Your content should feature real people and situations, and genuine emotions and facts that you can back up. As much as possible, it should show, not tell. Don’t just tell someone you’re an SEO God or a speed knitter. Let them see for themselves by using testimonials, videos and case studies.
2. Be human – Your brand story also should explain how your business adds value to the lives of your clients. Yes, you may be helping them eat healthier by buying one of your veggie boxes but you’re also helping them create delicious meals they can share with their family. Even if your business sells to other business, focus on how your products or services touch the lives of actual people. Not in a ‘perfect world’ character that is annoying, not relatable.
3. Be original – Your story should offer a fresh perspective: What’s interesting about your business? Why is it important? Why should your clients care? Businesses often fall short on originality because they focus solely on their product or services. It’s important to sell your stuff but people care about the story behind the business. They want to know where your products are made and how. They want to know why you deliver your services in the way you do and why. These little details are what sets you apart from your competitors.
4. Think about your client – So many brand stories are a snoozefest and feel really indulgent. Remember: Your brand story isn’t really about you. It’s about giving your clients the information they need to know if you’re a good fit for them. Please don’t start your story with: Founded in 2011… then proceed to list everything that happened each year since you first opened your doors. Instead, focus on your purpose and your long-term goals. Plan to help get 2,000 girls in school each month or use only recycled materials to make your jewellery? Then let your client know.
Still struggling to come up with a personal brand story that sells?
Here are nine prompt questions to get you started
- What is unique about you or your business?
- What is interesting about how it was founded?
- What problem is your business trying to solve?
- What inspired your business?
- What “aha” moments have you had?
- What is it about your business that you consider normal and mundane but other people think is cool?
- What are three words people use to describe you?
- How what you describe what you do in a job title?
- If you were looking to hire someone like you what words would you put into google?
Want help humanising your brand story?
You’re in luck! I spend my days crafting the perfect brand stories for small business and global brands. And I’d love to help you share who you are, what you do and attract your ideal clients. Send me an email today and let’s get started.
Featured image from Pexels.