Every brand has a story, but it’s up to you to make it interesting, authentic and relevant to your audience. Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with your audience and help control perception and conversation surrounding your brand, here’s how to write your brand story.
1. In everything you do, keep your eye on the prize and focus on what’s in it for the audience. If you’re just telling your story to tell your story, no one will care.
2. Start with the idea
This can be the idea behind your company, your brand, your signature product or just about any idea, but you need to have a central “story line” to follow.
Apple’s iPhone 5 “FaceTime” commercial, for example, starts off with the idea to feature a signature capability of their signature product — FaceTime. It’s a story built on stories simply showing how people of all ages all over the world and in all situations use the iPhone and FaceTime to enhance life’s moments and connect. That’s a pretty powerful idea.
3. Add characters
You can’t have a story without characters. Jack Daniel, for example, was a real (and mysterious) person. Since not much is known about him, the Jack Daniel’s whiskey brand has given him a personality to help tell their brand story and to sell whiskey. You may feel like an old timey American legend while you’re sipping some Jack Daniel’s whiskey or you may prefer to live like “the most dangerous man in the world” and drink a Dos Equis. Your character should be authentic. A character in an ad campaign is different from the character(s) driving your brand story.
4. Show emotion
No one wants to have to see or read a dry, boring, clipped and concise story of how your brand came to be. “Sarah and John talked, they had a great idea for Product W, so they decided to become business partners, manufacture and sell Product W. Today, it’s a very popular product.” Technically, that is a brand story, but it’s not an interesting story. But when you reveal that Sarah and John had been childhood friends and actually talked about the idea behind Product W on the playground when they were 10 years old, the story becomes more interesting. Peel back another layer and tell loyal Product W users that while Sarah and John were building their business they also fell in love and got married and the story becomes more intriguing. Love, heartbreak, triumph, anger — emotions are very compelling in brand stories.
5. Set the scene
Where did it all begin? What were the problems or challenges to be overcome? What was the turning point when the brand successfully broke through? How were the problems and challenges resolved? Provide colorful details and describe the story in a way that makes your audience feel like they lived the history and can be a part of the future.
6. Bring it up to the present and set a vision for the future
Your brand story is evolving and is a snapshot in time, but bring your audience at least up to the present. If you have a clear vision for where you’d like to go in the future, lay it out there and give your audience ways to get there together.
Remember that the most important thing to weave into every step is what’s in it for your audience. After that, be clear, be consistent and let your brand voice shine through. If this sounds like a lot of work, you don't know where to start or if you get stuck along the way, I'm here to help!