Building a Brand: How to Tell a Powerful Brand Story

How to Tell a Powerful Brand Story
How to Tell a Powerful Brand Story

“It’s not how good you are. It’s how well you tell your story.”

That exact quote from Bernadette Jiwa’s The Fortune Cookie Principle blew my mind away.

It’s one of my favorite books on that topic. If you haven’t read it, put it on your 2019 reading list now.

Today’s post is focused on how to go about building a brand with a powerful brand story.

Here’s the thing. EVERYONE loves a good story.

A good story can lead a potential customer to pick you or your business over one of your competitors.

Thanks to the surge of social media usage and popularity of platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and others, it has never been easier to create and share stories with the entire world. The flip side of that coin is there’s also more noise. EVERYONE is talking at the same time.

The only way to get noticed and be remembered when building a brand is to change how people feel about it. You need to give them a reason ‘why’ you should matter to them instead of just the ‘what.’

We’ll dive deeper into this soon.

That is why we’re in a time where it’s important for marketers, businesses or anyone to develop a compelling brand story that they can share with people.

Telling your brand story is also an excellent way to build trust as well as reminding people that your business is run by real humans, not robots. That is why companies like Buffer just dominate.

So, how exactly do you tell a brand story?

1. FOCUS on Building a Brand Worth Caring About

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If you want to tell a great brand story, FOCUS. Eliminate every single distraction you have and focus on your brand.

Ask yourself:

  • What is your brand?
  • Who is your brand?
  • Why your brand and not others?

I’m sure the answers to these questions live in the back of your mind. But once you sit down to put them on paper, you may find that articulating them is not as easy as you thought. But don’t fret – step two

2. Find Your Brand’s Purpose

Spend an hour, two or more thinking about what led you to start your business. It’s the reason why your company came to be, how your product came to be.

A brand story is not a long-winded essay about your company or a ‘viral video’. It’s also not a story filled with jargon and neither is it a highfalutin blog post.

Think about why should your customer care? Why should they listen to your story?

Most people focus on what they do, but they forgot to tell the story about why they do it in the first place.

It has to be clear and aligned with your customer’s needs and wants. Identify the purpose of your products’ existence.

The most important part about this is to be authentic; that’s how you can resonate with consumers and help separate yourself with your competitors. It’s YOUR secret sauce.

3. Learn from Other Great Examples

If you want to learn how to tell a great brand story, watch some of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns. Listen to their ‘why.’ Go beyond just finding a solution when building a brand. Many of these campaigns talk about making a difference in their families lives, friends, etc., and that’s powerful.

It could even be about your company wanting to make a difference in the world. Take TOMS shoes for example. Did you know with every pair of TOMS shoes you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need?

TOMS shoes focus on their big ‘why’. The ‘how’ comes later. The story of its big ‘why’ enhances the brand.

When your brand story makes an emotional connection with your customers, they are more likely to spread the word about who you are and what you do. Build a bond between your customers and your brand.

4. Simplify Your Brand’s Value

Your story might be about you or your company, but it should always be told in the context of your customer’s life. I’ve read countless brand stories that were just flat-out boring. They were dull and corporate-centric, and I didn’t feel a single thing. NOTHING.

Remember that your audience chooses the message they want to hear, especially on social media.

Make your customer the hero of your story. Not my words, those belong to Ann Handley from her book Everybody Writes. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling. Focus on how your products or services impact people’s lives.

I love how Buffer is always making their customers feel like a hero. Every time they send a receipt of payment, they acknowledge that their community and customers are the reason that they exist. We are the hero of that story!

Make your brand story authentic and give people a taste of your brand’s personality.

Dollar Shave Club tells a story about how you are paying too much for your razors. It’s a simple story about how their promise to the customer is to provide a quality product at an affordable price with convenient delivery.

That’s the essence of their brand and their YouTube commercial showcases the brand’s personality. This $4,500 promo video went viral resulting in 17,000 new subscribers:

5. Decide How You Want to Tell Your Brand Story

Storytellers have never had this many platforms available at their disposal online.

Some marketers or brands choose to create a video or a simple ‘about us’ page, others choose infographics to show an illustration of how their business came to be.

Stories are also told using a combination of photos. Think of a SnapChat/Instagram story or a Twitter Moment.

Regardless of which form you choose when building a brand, start by writing the crux of your brand story. Then gather any materials to enhance your story further. It could be old pictures, videos, etc.

Next, publish your brand story on your website. Start with a simple About Us on a page. That’s a great jumping off point for your brand story.

I love Darren Rowse’s about page on the ProBlogger site. It’s simple and tells a great story of how he started and why people should pay attention to.

ProBlogger About us
ProBlogger About us

Jeff Bullas (who participated in our Social Media Expert Roundup) did something different when he included a video of him getting an interview. In the interview, he shared his story on how he got started blogging.

About us video of Jeff Bullas
About us Video of Jeff Bullas

But you can also go beyond your website to tell your brand story.

Ahna Hendrix, an amazing social media pro, recently launched a new business called Anahata Custom Swimwear that makes custom swimsuits. She announced the new business in a long-form Facebook post with a native Facebook video. Click here to check out the post – it’s a shining example of how to tell your brand story!

6: Stay Consistent with Your Brand Promise

Confusion is the number one brand story killer.

Make sure your brand stories are consistent. Think about GoPro and Red Bull. What do you feel about their brand story? It’s all about that adventure and freedom, and they’ve not changed that over the years.

Successful marketer Tai Lopez is another great example of someone building a brand with a compelling brand story.

He talks about how poor he was and how having mentors helped changed his mindset and become wealthy today. A big part of his brand story is that he wants to share those same lessons in his 67 Steps course.

Your brand stories shouldn’t be a one-time, stand-alone series of short stories. It should be part of a broader, long-term story.

Summing up

Today, nobody is paying attention to your brand unless you show them why your offering is going to change their life.

It’s not about the product, it’s about the meaning behind it. That’s your brand story.

When building a brand, make your story matter to your customers.

Make it count.

Tell us in the comments below the story of your brand. I’d love to read them.

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