Want to create impact as a brand? Then you’ll need to build a unique, inspiring brand story. This is the kind of story that explains exactly what your brand does or what it stands for, going straight to the heart of those who experience it. It's a relatable brand story, triggering actions. So you can see why brands need to craft a story that resonates with their audience. But what makes a good brand story great? How do you achieve the best results? And which skills do you need?
Compelling brand stories describe the whole reason for a brand’s existence.
Why do you do what you do? Rather than just being a catchy story for your corporate brochure or website, your brand story explains why your brand exists, and what and how you contribute to society as a brand.
So you need to weigh every word in your story very carefully, because every sentence enhances your brand’s world and experience. Write the right story, and you’ll find that it also conveys the right message, energising people, crafting a personal tone of voice (the style you use to communicate with your audience in all your communications, i.e. your brand’s personality) to make your brand stand out.
Example: the magical world of Disney.
"When Disneyland opened so many decades ago, it was more than an amusement park. Disney pitched it as the first ever theme park: a magical world, a fantastic fairytale in which visitors fully immerse themselves. Every detail was spot on straight away, even down to the lampposts and litter bins which blended in with the enchanting surroundings. Disneyland is picture perfect, appealing to all your senses. So Disney does not just convey its messages in text (and so, in a rational way), but also on another, more sensory level. This is known as meaningful value creation and emotion. What does this translate to in practice? It means giving your fantasy free rein and developing the outcome into something that you can use. This principle is not limited to theme parks, but can be applied to anything. Ever been to Tomorrowland?"
What is the power of an inspiring story?
Just look at history. Since the dawn of time, people have been telling each other stories, as it’s the best way of sharing information and understanding each other, or the world, better. Powerful stories also give people food for (critical) thought, inspiring them. What's more, people remember stories much more easily, and with more clarity (especially when told by an enthusiastic, passionate narrator), certainly when it comes to names, facts and figures.
Build a powerful brand story and you’ll find that you reach the right people, your target audience. More importantly, your brand story is your main source for all the messages that you will be crafting and sharing, serving as a guideline for everything you develop, from impactful social media posts to memorable radio scripts and exhilarating events. A good brand story is also very powerful because it shows that you know what you’re talking about – and shows this not only to the outside world, but also to your own employees. It conveys what you stand for as a team, ensuring that everyone is on the same page. The outcome? Enthusiastic employees and an excellent team spirit!
In summary, a compelling brand story is the foundation for EVERYTHING that your brand conveys.
Example: Tony’s Chocolonely, the story of an unusual chocolate bar.
"This chocolate brand instantly springs to mind because it has such a good brand story (well, and the taste’s amazing, of course!). Tony’s Chocolonely is a textbook example of how to use storytelling (see below) to convey the right message. Everything starts with the product, because instead of being cut into neat squares, the brand’s chocolate bars are pre-scored into uneven pieces, a reference to the inequality in our world. The brand limits itself to one clear story, both on its website and on the packaging: 100% exploitation-free. They also made a film, titled The Chocolate Case, which tells the story of how Tony’s Chocolonely came to be."
Write your brand story, starting from tangible storytelling
So how do you go about writing an amazing brand story? You’ll need to craft a compelling story that will convince your audience, building a great connection between your brand and your target audience’s emotions and expectations. Bear in mind that you are telling the story from the perspective of the reader, viewer or listener of your content, not from your own organisation’s perspective.
Here are 10 tips, curated by our copywriter Anton Vander Haegen:
Take your time: Your brand story describes the heart and soul of your organisation, so it needs to be gripping and inspiring, creating a connection with your audience. You’ll need to give it some thought; don’t rush through it.
Identify your brand personality: Think about what makes your brand so unique and which values (e.g. fun, authenticity, trust) and personality traits you want to convey, as this will help you to establish the tone of voice of your brand story. And remember: a good brand story is first and foremost a human story.
A standout mission: Essentially, companies want to solve a problem for their customers. This mission is a crucial element in your brand story because it makes you stand out from other companies.
Understand your target audience: Define whom you are talking to, and what their needs, wishes and desires are. This will help you fine-tune the message and content of your brand story.
Tell a fascinating story: Use storytelling techniques to make your brand story interesting and, above all, relevant, ensuring that people recognise themselves in it, and can empathise with it. Introduce your brand, and explain what it does and why it’s so relevant. Pepper your story with tangible examples and anecdotes to make it come alive.
Make it personal: Show the people behind the brand. Explain how you built it from the ground up, who was involved, and how it grew into what it is today.
Be honest: Some companies have created a ‘myth’ around their brand origins. Our advice? Stick to the truth. Don’t make up exciting stories because you’re worried that your own story is not interesting enough.
Informal or formal? This is up to you, but remember an informal tone of voice feels warmer and less distant. And informal can still be as polite as formal!
Keep things simple and concise: Your brand story should be easy to understand for everyone, so avoid jargon and technical vocabulary.
Consistency is key: A catchy brand story is consistent across the board, in all of your organisation’s internal and external communications. What do we mean by this? All the content you create should contain the same core values and message, and be in the same tone of voice.
Lacking inspiration? Find out how we built inspiring brand stories for Neckermann and Zorg.
Not sure where to start? Or simply don’t have the time? Springbok is happy to help. Get in touch for a no-obligation chat, to find out how we could help you build an inspiring brand story based on your strategy, as well as writing it out and creating visual content for it.