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How to craft a compelling brand story

What’s your brand story and why do you need one?

Brand stories are the key to acquiring brand ambassadors. Humans are hardwired to understand the world through stories. They’re also hardwired to pass them on. In the digital age, re-telling stories or sharing content has become a way for various audiences or ‘tribes’ to distinguish what is useful and what is not in the face of information overload. And this is something that good marketers take advantage of.
Come up with a compelling brand story which targets your ‘tribe’ or target audience effectively and they will pass it on, not just to other members of their ‘tribe’ but to other ‘tribes’ to whom they belong. But it’s your job to craft a story they’ll want to tell. And to be credible, it has to be something which is honest and transparent and that runs right through everything you do − from price tags, brochure and website to your viral videos.

“Come up with a compelling brand story which targets your ‘tribe’ or target audience effectively and they will pass it on, not just to other members of their ‘tribe’ but to other ‘tribes’ they belong to.”

 

How to construct a good brand story

Every story needs a hero, a goal, and obstacle, a mentor and a moral. Where many marketers get it wrong is they make their company the hero. In fact it’s your customer that’s the hero, and their journey towards your product, past their pain point (the obstacle) that forms the meat of your brand story. Your company becomes the mentor, helping them on their way, and the moral is the call to action – i.e. the message that they’d be better off purchasing what you offer. The best brand stories make your company into a facilitator rather than a rescuer. That’s because you want the customer to take action in the form of finding out more, or buying.

Attention-grabbing elements of a good brand story

There are no new stories. But just like children who demand the same favourite bedtime story over and over, people love to hear the familiar. What will also catch their attention is something entirely new – something freakish – because we’re evolutionarily hardwired to spot danger. Humans developed stories with morals in order to reinforce altruistic behaviour. Therefore a key element in stories is whether bad or unconventional behaviour is punished (think Eve), subverted (think Robin Hood) or rewarded (where the rebel triumphs and establishes non-conformity or innovative thinking as a virtue). A great brand story often contains all three of these elements – the familiar, the freakish and bad or unconventional behaviour which is either punished or rewarded.

How to research your brand story

The best brand stories are found, not invented. They come out of what makes your business, your history or your product unique. Working on your brand story is something you should devote time to right at the beginning because it’s your foundation and the key to future growth. It’s essential that your brand story and its values permeate every single expression of you business including who you hire and your production processes right through to your marketing materials. If it doesn’t, it might be time to change your operating practices so that it does (become your story).
Sit down at the beginning and think about:
• how you came to start the company, or the story of its history
• how your product or service was designed – including any human stories of the needs it was designed to meet or from the people who came up with it
• the values your company espouses and how they came to be important to you
• the stories of your satisfied customers
• how your customers feel about your product and about your competitors.

Building blocks of a good brand story

It’s likely that your brand story is to be found within the above elements. In addition, a good brand story is:
• emotional – this is what makes it memorable and causes your audience to connect
• unique – this differentiates you from other brands. What makes you special?
• simple – the simplest stories are the easiest to recall
• shareable – make sure your brand story is easy to share using graphics, blogs, videos or pictures.
Brand stories which employ guilt or doom and gloom produce resistance. Therefore make sure your brand story empowers your customer as well as entertaining them and requiring something of them. And above all, tell them in a human voice. Your tone should be conversational, because it makes your story feel more human and more authentic.

 

If you’re having problems figuring out what your brand story is, why not let our expert marketing team help you? Call Oxygen today on 0845 2606 255. We’ll make sure your story gets heard.

 

Steve Lodge: Steve trained as a NCTJ journalist and is an experienced copywriter. He has over 15 years in agency, and started Oxygen in 2002.