Brand storytelling

Once upon a time, there was a brand that struggled to engage with its target audience. Sound familiar? But, when that brand worked out the power of stories and brand storytelling, suddenly it found an audience that was more willing to listen. If you want a happy ending to your brand story, read our guide to the learnings, techniques and concepts that go into telling a great story. 

Brand storytelling

How this guide raises your game.

  1. How and why stories are a great way to engage and build connections with your target audience. 
  2. Learn the important of purpose, structure and the key elements that make up great stories.
  3. See examples of the different types of story and how you can apply them in your marketing and e-Commerce activities. 

Let us tell you a story. 

This is one of the best opening lines you can ever use in any of your communications. 

Because everyone likes a good story. 

Stories are a way to communicate ideas, concepts and values in a way that’s understandable, memorable and shareable. Storytelling has been around as long as humans have.

Our ancient ancestors used stories to communicate. Think about cave drawings and hieroglyphs, for example. These were visual stories that were passed from one tribe to the next, from one generation to the next.

We tell and hear new stories every day. We use stories to entertain and educate. Stories preserve cultures and instil moral values.

And the good news is that because stories have such a long history and are still such an ingrained part of everyday life, there’s lots of techniques and tips you can learn to tell better stories.

And in particular, to tell better stories through your brand. 

Storytelling on stage - woman presenting to audience

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Why great stories have such a big impact

If your brand activation and communication goals need you to engage your target audience, brand storytelling is a powerful way to meet these goals.

You can make your brand communications more relevant, more engaging and more inspiring with stories. And when your brand is relevant, engaging and inspiring, that means happier customers and more sales. 

Stories are a way to organise ideas, concepts and information that takes the audience on a narrative journey. The structure, techniques and words you use to tell your story create an experience for the audience that makes them think, feel or do something different. The experience of hearing a great story is memorable and shareable. 

Stories are an easy way for us to pass on complex amounts of information. And your marketing goal is often to pass on complex information such as why the target audience should believe in and buy your brand. 

Stories help you do this. 

Stories light up the brain

Psychological studies have shown that stories light up the sensory cortex in our brain. This is the part of the brain that processes sensations. So, in effect stories help us ‘sense’ the world around us.

Our brains are wired to recognise and listen out for stories as a way for us to learn, remember and pass on information. 

Some studies suggest that stories may be up to 22 times more memorable than facts alone. But obviously, this is a broad average assumption and doesn’t apply in every case.

It’s not the story necessarily, but the way you tell it that makes an impact. 

Man holding a lit lighbulb to symbolise the enlightenment that three-brains brings to marketing

But, there’s no doubt that stories surround us every day. We see them every day in the movies, TV shows and books that we enjoy. We hear them in conversations with family, friends and work colleagues, and we teach our children with them. They are a way for us to connect and build relationships with those around us.

And so, for brands, brand storytelling does those same things with your target audience. They are a way to converse, to teach and connect, and build relationships with our target audience. Brand storytelling brings to life your brand identity, creates memorable and relevant communications that your target audience connects with.

The purpose of the story

Storytelling in wider life can have many purposes.

Sometimes it is to entertain. Sometimes it is to educate. You can tell stories to preserve cultures, or instil moral values. 

But, most brand storytelling activity would focus on those first two outcomes. Entertainment and education.

But before we cover those, let’s have a quick look at culture and values first. 

Archery target with arrows to symbolise target audience

Culture and values

As we cover in our guide to creative thinking, business culture is a broad topic that broadly covers how things get done in a business, especially how your business makes decisions. 

Culture is what drives the thoughts, feelings and actions of the business. It is a combination of the people in the business, the leadership of the business and the environment in which the business operates.  

This culture defines the values that sit behind the brand identity. These values are a set of core principles that define what the company stands for. They define what it believes in. 

But values are only words on a page until you bring them to life. Until you give them context and meaning. Brand storytelling is a great way to give context to your brand values. You can use brand storytelling to bring your values to life. Brand storytelling makes your values easier to understand and relate to. 

Let’s say one of your brand values is to be environmentally friendly, for example. Rather than just say it, tell a story that shows how you are environmentally friendly. What do you do to back this value up? Use brand storytelling to show the actions you go though to substantiate this claim. 

Or let’s say, one of your brand values to to be innovative and pioneering. Tell a story that brings this to life. Use brand storytelling to show people how you are innovative and pioneering. 

Brand storytelling and brand positioning

This brand storytelling helps bring to life your brand positioning that you develop as part of the segmentation, targeting and positioning process.  

It helps clarify and articulate your benefit, your reason why and your reason to believe. You can use brand storytelling to convey the culture and values that sit behind your brand identity.

Only your brand can tell those stories, so it’s an important way to stand out and be different. It gives your audience a reason to listen to you. 

And when audiences listen to your stories, that’s a great thing for your brand. It drives brand engagement, brand choice and long-term relationships with the brand. 

3 steps of the process - Segmentation - divide the total marketing, targeting - pick the most attractive, positioning - build your brand

Entertaining stories

Most brand stories are either entertaining, educational or both. Entertaining stories help to take the audience on a journey. They take the audience to new places in their mind. 

Entertaining stories play heavily on emotions and feelings. They aim to make people laugh or cry. They aim to make people feel frightened or angry.

These types of feelings work on the limbic system in the brain. This is the part of the brain that assess and responds to emotional stimuli. 

Woman on couch reading

When you use brand storytelling to entertain and connect with feelings and emotions, this creates much deeper and stronger connections with the target audience. As we’ll go on to show, it’s a commonly used advertising technique to create a more impactful experience for the target audience. 

Entertaining stories are often easy to remember and pass on. They can become a way to reinforce a brand’s values and personality.

Brand storytelling example – Hewlett Packard

For example, read The HP Way by David Packard* about the origins of Hewlett Packard. 

He tells a great story about how competitors in the early days of the business would lock up all their tools at the end of the day. They feared that employees might be tempted to steal the tools.

But a lot of the culture at Hewlett Packard was built around the concept of trust in their employees. Packard shares the story of how they went the opposite way. No locked cupboards. Employees could do whatever they wanted with the tools … because they trusted them.

This is a very simple story which is much better told in the book. But it is a very neat way of highlighting a complex issue (trust) with an easy to share story. You can visualise the ‘no locked cupboards’ and compare them to places you know where the cupboards are always locked. You read the story and associate a culture of trust with Hewlett Packard. 

Educating stories

If your story exists to educate, you can also use stories to bring to life this message.

You use a story to educate consumers about a problem or an issue. And give them easy ways to solve it.

Companies that have a clear purpose often use stories to bring their purpose to life.  

Brand storytelling example – Who Gives a Crap?

So, for example, the brand Who Gives a Crap share the story of why they came into being.

Young Girl reading book

By using the privilege of access to safe sanitation in developed countries and setting up a system where buying toiler paper from them helps improve toilet facilities in underdeveloped countries, they tell a great story.

It identifies a problem and makes it clear what action you can take to help with the problem.

If you just tell someone a fact, they might remember that fact, or not. But if you tell someone a story that includes that fact, they are more likely to remember it. The story brings the fact to life and makes it more vivid and memorable.

Imagine we had to teach you musical scales for example. Not the most riveting of subjects.

But include those musical scales in a story about a family’s daring escape from Nazis during WW2. And make them singing the scales part of the story. Then suddenly it’s much easier to remember. 

We all know “doe a deer, a female deer, ray, a drop of golden sun” from that story, right? We’ll bet there’s a lot more people know those scales because of the Sound of Music, than ever formally learned them in a music lesson. 

Whatever the purpose of your story is, there’s no doubt that showing it through brand storytelling makes it more interesting. Brand storytelling makes it easier to understand and more memorable to the target audience. 

The elements of a story

So, now that we know why stories and brand storytelling matter, how do you actually put a story together? What are the key elements you find in stories?

We’ll cover the basic elements in this guide. The hero / heroine lead character. Then, the problem or challenge that they face. We’ll cover the role of the guide in the story, and what that means for you and your brand. Then, we’ll cover the plan and and call to action that need to be part of the story, as well as the failures and successes that drive the story to the goal. 

Hero / Heroine

Every story needs a hero (or heroine) character. 

A story takes the audience on a journey and the hero / heroine is the vehicle that carries the audience along on that journey. It’s the experiences, thoughts and actions of the lead character that help the audience feel like they are part of the journey. 

You want the audience to identify and connect with the hero / heroine. Through the thoughts, feelings and actions of the hero / heroine, the audience needs to feel they share a similar view of the world and how it works.

With brand storytelling, it’s even important that the customer feels like they identify with the hero / heroine of the story. That they could be the hero / heroine of the story. 

As individuals, we interpret experiences through our own unique and individual view of the world. We are the heroes and heroines of our our story. Each of us have a “self”-centred view of the world, that’s shaped by our current situation and our past experiences. 

If your brand story is about how you overcame a problem or challenge, then that problem or challenge needs to be something the target audience understand and relates to. They need to think “oh, I need to fix that, too”. If they don’t find the problem you solve relevant (to their life), your brand story won’t interest them.

Your customer is your hero / heroine

If you have developed a customer experience persona as part of your customer experience development work, this helps a lot to create the hero / heroine character.

The customer persona works like a character description of your ideal target customer. 

You should use this to tell your story from the point of view of that idealised customer. The words this character uses and the problems they face.

Use this to show the way they make decisions. 

Make the connection between the audience and the hero / heroine. 

Customer Experience Personal Template Blank.001

Problem – from an unexpected change

That character then, needs to face a problem or challenge. If everything is good with the character, there’s no real story. But when the character (or customer) faces a problem that the audience recognises, there’s a story. Because there’s the instant curiosity to find out how the problem gets solved. 

From a brand storytelling point of view, this should relate to the customer need that drives your brand positioning. Your benefit, reason why and reason to believe become key parts of the solution to the problem that the audience faces. So, it’s important to establish that problem that the character faces right away.

It’s for this reason, for example, that you see so many advertising headlines that start with a question. 

A question is a great way to grab attention and identity a problem quickly. 

Need help doing your taxes? Losing weight? Choosing a new phone? 

It doesn’t have to be dramatic. But it does have to be relevant. These questions are the problem that starts the story for the audience. They are the questions that the audience want to know the answer to. 

Forest and tree image with question mark symbolisinging strategy

A guide

To answer these questions and problems, you need another character to help the hero / heroine start to move in the right direction. The hero / heroine doesn’t just do it themselves. They need help. 

If they can solve the problem without help, then it’s probably not too much of a problem. And the help usually comes in the form of some sort of guide. Someone who has experience, knowledge and skills that can help them. 

These “guide” figures are everywhere in stories when you start to look. 

Think Yoda and Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars saga. Yoda guides Luke to solve his problems with The Force. 

Think Gandalf and Frodo in the Lord of the Rings. Gandalf guides Frodo to return the ring and destroy it. 

Or think about Back to the Future. Isn’t Doc Brown the guide for Marty McFly?

In many stories, there’s a more experienced mentor figure who educates the hero / heroine. They provide the resources needed to start to solve the problem. And they point the hero / heroine with the problem in the direction of their goal. 

DeLorean in a car park

In brand storytelling, this is where you want the brand identity to come in. The brand is there to act as a guide for the hero / heroine (the customer). You are there to offer advice, wisdom and support. Your brand points them in the direction of their goal, and helps them define their plan.  

A plan

And so, that advice, wisdom and support, and the direction towards their goal becomes the plan. In stories, this might be a journey to a destination. Or a series of meetings with other characters and situations. 

In brand storytelling, it essentially becomes the series of actions that you want the target audience to take. To solve their problem, they just need to buy this product, or book that appointment, or visit that website. The story makes it clear what they need to do to overcome the challenge or problem. 

Call to action

Stories then also need a call to action, a trigger that sets the chain of events into motion. This might be the search for the hidden treasure. Or the rescue of the kidnapped prince or princess. But something needs to happen in the story, so that the hero / heroine begins the process (the story) to overcome the challenge. 

The goal – success and failure consequences. 

The final part of the story is then the build towards and arrival at resolution. What happens when the story is done? And what happens along the way to get there? 

It’s important that there’s some sort of struggle. Problems that are easily solved are not that interesting or compelling in a story. The story should make clear what the successful resolution of the problem looks like. And what the consequences of failure are. 

Brands can use the resolution and the key scenes in the story to help paint a picture of what they can do to make the life of the audience better. They can use brand storytelling to show what life will be like when the consumer interacts with the brand. And they can use brand storytelling to show the consequences if the consumer fails to interact with the brand. 

Brand Storytelling and Brand Identity

You can see some of these elements on the outer circle of the brand wheel that we cover in our guide to brand identity.

Each of these elements build on each other. They tell a short story about how the interaction with the brand makes the consumer feel. And consequently, how that changes or impacts the perception of the target consumer.  

So, those are the basic elements you would expect to find in a story.

The hero / heroine encounters a problem. A guide helps them with a plan and a call to action. And the scenes of success and failure play out until the resolution of the problem.

Brand identity wheel

For further reading, we recommend The Science of Storytelling by Will Storr and Build a Storybrand by Donald Miller. Both these books have more ideas and inspiration on the key elements of storytelling.

The structure of a story – the story arc 

So, when you know what the key elements of the story need to be, the next step is to organise them into an order.

This is the structure of the story, the sequence of events and details that cover the journey of the story. 

Most stories will follow a common structure. At the most simple level, they will have a beginning, a middle and an end. And there are a number of jobs to be done at each of these stages to establish the story arc. 

Brand storytelling - the story arc with beginning, middle and end

The beginning – introduce the hero / heroine and the problem

In the beginning, we meet the hero / heroine. We find out who they are, and learn the problem they need to solve. This beginning of the story helps us to understand the context and environment of the story. 

The problem needs to create a tension or struggle for the characters. 

From a brand storytelling point of view, this is where you hook the audience in to read more. You want to make the character and the problem feel relevant to the audience. They need to want to know the answer to the problem. So, think about what’s likely to bring the problem to life for the target audience. 

Let’s imagine you’re a plumbing business, for example. Far more impactful to start with “drip, drip, drip, doesn’t that leaky tap REALLY get on your nerves after a while?” than “hey, we’re a plumbing business”. The leaky tap is the problem you can solve.

Or let’s imagine, you run a pizza restaurant. Far more impactful to start with “the widest range of tasty pizzas delivered within 45 minutes” than “hey, we’re a pizza business”. Not having the pizza you want and having to wait for it are the problem you can solve. 

The middle – introduce the guide and the plan

The middle of the story is where you see “the plan” come to life. You introduce the guide and the guide helps the hero / heroine build the plan. 

But, in real life, plans never go exactly as well you’d like. So there are always ups and downs in the middle to the story. The middle of the story shows the struggle to overcome the initial challenge as it builds towards a climax. 

You want to highlight the key steps the hero / heroine takes to head towards their goal. This is done through a series of scenes that move the story and action forward. These take the audience step by step towards the end. 

When brand storytelling, there is a temptation to only show the “good bits”. And to remove or omit any “bad bits”. Those times when things didn’t go right, or didn’t go as planned. 

But this would be a mistake. 

By showing your brand as less than perfect, you make your brand more relatable and human. No-one is perfect. In fact, perfect makes most people suspicious. If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is. 

So, when you can show something going wrong, but how you dealt with it, it’s a more engaging experience for the audience. 

The end – define the goal, success and failure.

Every story then has an end. A climax. A resolution. 

Whatever happened has changed what the world was like at the start of the story. There’s a “new normal”. The hero / heroine defeated the evil empire. The police caught the diamond robbers. Whatever it was.  

In brand storytelling, this end or climax is really to highlight what will happen for the target audience if they follow your brand as the “guide”. Paint a picture of what “success” looks like. 

Is it more customers? Or more engaged customers? 

Is it less worry about the business? Or more headlines and positive coverage? 

Whatever it is your business offers, use the climax in brand storytelling to demonstrate that end goal. Show what it means for the target audience to follow you as the guide. 

Example Story Arc – Pixar

So, now you’ve identified the three key sections of the story, it’s important to then consider how they join together and how the story flows. 

One well-known example to do this, is the story spine the movie company Pixar use. The stories that Pixar create have been phenomenally successful.

Whether you define success as stimulating the imaginative minds of future generations, or simply putting billions of dollars in the bank. 

Their story always starts with “once upon a time, there was …” where we get to meet the lead character – the hero or heroine.

Brand storytelling - the story arc Pixar example

Then, with two sentences which start “Every day, …” and “one day, …”, we find out about the problem or challenge that will drive the story. So, the fish that needs rescuing. Or, the toys that got accidentally lost. Or even, the dark force that threatens the future of the superhero family.

We then basically see “the plan” and the “call to action” play out though the middle of the story as the character react to the problem with actions. “Because of that, …” this thing happened. And then “because of that, …” the next thing happened. The fish / toys / superhero family went on a quest to fix the problem at hand.

Each story then drives towards a resolution or climax, that you can sum up with “And finally, …” where the struggles are resolved. The lost fish or lost toys are recovered. The hero family triumphs over evil forces. 

The learning for brand storytelling

Now, in brand storytelling, the “elements” might not be so fanciful as fish, toys or superheroes.

But the underlying structure and premise still works. 

Your lead character (your target audience) has to recognise the problem. And they have to be interested enough in you, as the guide to follow you through the journey to find the solution or resolution of the story. 

Woody from Toy Story - how Pixar protects new ideas in early stages of creative thinking

Types of story you can tell

The structure of the story acts like the skeleton of your story. It provides a recognisable shape for the audience. And it makes clear to them that what’s in front of them is a story. But there are different types of story. These are like the flesh and blood that go over the bones. And these can vary wildly. 

Christopher Bookers’ book, the 7 Basic Plots narrows down the types of story that can be told into 7 broad groups. These can apply in all sorts of genres of storytelling. Historic or futuristic, romantic or humour, science-fiction or thriller, you’ll find many examples of these story types. 

But you can also apply these story types in your brand activation and brand storytelling. From advertising messages to social media content and your story on your website and in public relations, these plots will be recognisable to audiences. You can use them to give you a direction for the brand story you wish to tell. 

Overcoming the monster

In stories, which are about overcoming the monster, some dark, evil, malevolent “villain” is established. The hero or heroine’s job is to overcome them. This is basically the plot of every superhero or James Bond movie for example. You could even argue, ultimately it’s Harry Potter’s challenge against Voldemort. 

In brand storytelling terms, this story fits really well with challenger brands. Challenger brands are normally small, underdog brands who decide to take on a bigger player in the market. Their aim is to disrupt or change the rules of the game.

The term comes from the book Eat the Big Fish by Adam Morgan. 

Examples in that book include Virgin Atlantic taking on British Airways and Sony Playstation taking on Sega. 

A more recent example, is the British beer company Brewdog. If you listen to the “story” in this advert from them, they talk about a modern day rebellion against bland and tasteless beer. In this case, the “monster” is the bland and tasteless beer, because who would be in favour of that?

Rags to riches

A similar story can be built from those who have had to come out of terrible circumstances in order to reach success or better themselves.

In classic storytelling, it’s the Cinderella story. 

For example, this video of Deng Thiak Adut for the University of Western Sydney shows the harrowing circumstances from which he had to flee in Sudan.

But it then shows how through education and learning, he changed his life. His ‘riches’ are a fulfilled life as a leading human rights lawyer in Australia.

The quest

The quest is another powerful metaphor from storytelling. It’s especially impactful for brands that have a clear and worthwhile purpose. The character needs to reach a distant destination and find or do something to fulfil the quest. Its purpose is the end goal, like Frodo’s quest to destroy the ring in Lord of the Rings, and end the threat of the evil lord Sauron.  

For brands, the “quest” brings to life the positive values that the brand has. It brings to life values that they wish to find common meaning with their target audience. They can use brand storytelling to show what they do, and how they do it, to achieve that bigger purpose. 

In this example, from an insurance company in Thailand, the kindness and generosity of the lead character pays off through his positive impact on those around him.

His quest was to being kindness and generosity to the world.

The company behind the advertising wants to be associated with those positive values.

They want to encourage them in their target audience. 

This purpose or quest also works well for brands when they want to focus on environmental issues.

So, check out this story from Coca-Cola, and how they recognise the environmental challenge from packaging, and what they plan to do about it.

Their question is to make the world a better place through more sustainable packaging solutions.  

Voyage and return

Some stories can literally be about a journey. The lead character goes to a strange land and overcomes a problem before coming back wiser and more experienced. So, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, or Back to the Future would be examples of this in popular culture.

It’s a tougher story to tell in advertising format. It’s typically longer to tell, and advertising formats are short.

The closest example we could find was this advert for Google Glass to support Mother’s Day.

This focusses on the return to the wearer’s home. But it has the pay-off of returning with something that’s of value. (the contents of the envelope)

Rebirth

Rebirth stories are where events force the main character to change their ways. A Christmas Carol or Groundhog Day would be examples of this. 

From a brand storytelling point of view, this might not be so much about the brand changing as the brand reflecting a change in the wider world.

For example this advert from Gillette gathered a lot of attention for the way it brought to life issues around male behaviour and masculinity. 

Comedy

Comedy is a classic storytelling technique where a lighter touch is used, and there is a happy and funny ending. 

It’s frequently used in advertising as you can see from this compilation of examples. This takes humorous situations and creates an emotional connection, as we laugh along with the situation. 

These types of stories are memorable and shareable. They are the types of stories that we’ll happily tell others about. 

Tragedy

Tragedy is the flip side of comedy, where a ‘good character” essentially reveals their flaws leading to their downfall, or a negative outcome.

This is a harder story to telling using brand storytelling, unless your story is truly one of tragedy.

Charities who want to appeal for help can use it to show the terrible situations that people can end up in, such as in this Unicef example. 

This takes sad situations and creates an emotional connection as we empathise along with the situation.

But they can also use it in a more disruptive and clever way such as in this advertising video from the Pillion Trust in the UK.

Here, the “tragedy” is the way that most people tend to walk past appeals for help, and don’t stop and help. It takes an extreme way to make people stop and take notice.

It’s a great use of storytelling to highlight a problem we all recognise, but which many now tune out or ignore. 

Where you can apply brand storytelling techniques

Brands and business that want to connect with consumers use brand storytelling to help articulate what the brand stands for, and how it helps its target audience. It engages audiences so you can use it to help build your brand identity.

People don’t just buy what you do, they buy why you do it. And brand storytelling brings to life why you do what you do.

These stories persuade and influence audiences that it’s worth their time to engage with you and your brand. The audience connects with the ideas and concepts in the story. Stories help brands stand out amongst the noise of thousands of messages that consumers see every day. 

Brand activation channels

So, as part of creative skills, understanding how stories work and how to use them has multiple applications. At the basic level, it applies to all parts of writing skills like advertising copy, blogging and sales copy.

But you can use it with more visual areas like photography and video content. You can use it on your website and social media. And obviously, as we showed in the section above, it’s frequently used to create advertising and public relations content. 

Face-to-face

But don’t just consider media media channels as where you tell stories, there are many more opportunities beyond that.

For example, any time you have to physically present your brand or business to others. At an investor presentation, or even speaking directly to your target audience for example. 

If you are lucky enough to talk directly to your end customers, think about those situations as opportunities to tell your brand story.

Handshake to symbolise agency relationship

As we’ve said, storytelling is a powerful communication technique. It’s a great tool to train your front-line staff in. Stories make your brand feel more human and real. Whether, that’s during a sales call or a customer visit.

Brand storytelling style considerations

When you think about your brand identity, it’s important to think about how you can use brand storytelling to bring your essence, values and personality to life.

You can’t just tell people that you are innovative, engaging, funny or whatever. 

You need to find stories that show them.

Stories are driven by actions and when audiences process stories, they do so in a visual way.

But, they also look for emotions and characters that they can connect with. In stories, emotions usually drive deeper connections than solely logical factors. 

 

Brand identity diamond

So, if your business struggled to get started or had a major setback, share how this felt as part of your story. If you took a risk and it paid off, share how excited and elated you felt. This humanisation of the brand creates deeper connections with your target audience.

Talk about the bad stuff too

Remember, that struggle and conflict are key parts of any story. So, the more honest you can be about the “bad stuff” and the “hard stuff”, the more engaging your story will be. Stories where everything goes well, the characters have no flaws, and there are no problems, are frankly boring. 

Your brand storytelling shouldn’t be boring. 

Brand stories are not for playing it safe and sanitising the message. 

They should show how you overcame adversity. Or, how you challenged the status quo, and what the result has been.

If your brand had to overcome or challenge established players, or disrupt a less than optimal way of doing things, use that as part of your brand storytelling. Let the stories you tell bring to life why your values are important to you. And, why they matter for the audience. 

Write for your target audience

Ultimately your brand storytelling is not for you, it’s for your audience. 

It should aim to build a community, tribe or following to buy into what you think, say and do in your brand story. 

Stories are meant to be shared and discussed. So, try to write in a way that encourages questions and discussions. Give your target audience ways to ask you questions directly, so you can engage them in conversations. 

Your brand storytelling is an experience that they consume, so make them feel good about that experience.

Think about what you want them to feel after they’ve seen or heard your story. What is it you want them to do? If it’s to drive engagement with the brand, make sure there are ways for them to do that. Make sure the style of your story is authentic and human. Be empathetic to the needs of your consumers.

Make it feel like you are talking directly with them. And, that they can solve problems through engaging with you. 

Your brand origin story

We’ll close this guide off, with a look at the first brand story you should aim to tell. And that’s your brand origin story. 

You would normally make this prominent on your website and through your social platforms. It’s usually the first story, new potential customers will see or read about you.  

These areas are great places to talk to your consumers about why you exist. How did you come into being? What was the idea or vision that inspired or motivated you? What did you do about it, that got you to where you are and what you do today?

But importantly, think about how to make it NOT boring. How can you tell that story in a way that makes it compelling? 

What are the actions or anecdotes you can use to bring the story to life? 

Brand origin story example – Apple

There’s a well-repeated story for example that Apple started off in the garage of Steve Job’s childhood home. Even, if this story was later shown to be a bit of a myth, it’s still part of the story of Apple. People can relate to this rags-to-riches visualisation. 

Beyond basic historic facts, think about the emotions behind your origin story. Was there something that made your brand proud, scared or happy?

Brand stories are more than just bullet point bios, they should aim to transcend culture, time and location. 

So for example, how do you cope with everyday adversities?

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This helps the audience feel on your side. What is it you do that shows that you care about your customers? That you understand their pain points.

Use your origin story to bring out your aspiration, vision and mission. Show your culture and personality. 

Your brand storytelling should aim to make you stand out and be memorable and engaging for your target audience. It brings to life your values, the best behaviours of your best employees on their best days

Brand Storytelling conclusion

Finding, engaging and connecting with your target audience are challenges that all businesses face. Brand storytelling is one of the key creative skills you can use to meet these challenges. 

Storytelling taps into deep and habitual ways that people communicate with each other. And if you can learn how to structure and tell your brand story in an engaging way, you make deeper and longer-lasting connections with your audience. You unlock a powerful way to bring to life your brand identity and connect with your consumers.

This is important as part of the goal for your business. 

Because, after all, we do all like a story that ends happily ever after. 

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Three-brains and brand storytelling

We believe storytelling is an important creative skill that businesses can use to drive their brand identity and create better connections with consumers. But we recognise, it’s not often discussed as a key creative skill. So, we offer coaching and consulting services to help share storytelling knowledge, ideas and concepts that can help raise your marketing and creative game. 

If you want to raise your creative game through creative skills development, contact us or read more about our coaching and consulting services.

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