Does the backstory of an organization’s timeline really matter? Can your commitment to climbing Kilimanjaro in college get you customers now? Does the origin of the family recipe behind the bakery influence a buyer’s purchasing habits? You bet it does! The influence a compelling story brand has directly impacts behaviors and relationships not only with customers but suppliers, media, associates, and a community at large. With narratives now being propelled across social media in a matter of minutes, who creates the narrative, who distributes the narrative, and who answers to the responses to the narrative is critical. Telling your story defines who you are as an organization, what you do, why it matters, when the pivotal points in your story happened, where you have been along the way, and how you got there. Whether your story feels good or rubs people wrong, it is your story. If it is filled with villains and drama or feel-good moments that spark joy is not as important is how the story is perceived and how the story gets you recognized and set apart from others.
The one who writes the story, owns the story. Telling the story is an important element in the brand strategy. The story must be compelling, engaging, and productive if it is to attract customers, establish you as an industry expert, help expand your organization, or ultimately increase revenue. Your story brand can position you favorably in a posture to impact customers and lead your organization towards desired outcomes. Story branding captures the hearts and minds of those in your circle of influence and sets you apart from others with similar messaging. Done well, it will allow you to establish relationships, discover new opportunities among like-minded individuals and organizations, and create powerful connections to engage new conversations with those who matter most.
A strategic story brand should be an integral part of any new brand identity program. One of the first conversations I engage with a brand development client is a deep dive into their mission, vision, and core values. This critical investigation is often seen as unnecessary. But honestly, those initial meetings are what form the functional foundation of the brand identity and the narrative surrounding it. Simple questions upfront can make all the difference when developing the narrative for strategic marketing later.
Two basic but highly critical elements of the story brand are the company name and the tagline developed to support it. Usually under ten words for both, these few short words often form the plotline of any story developed. I rarely develop a new logo apart from a new tagline and if the client insists, I usually comply under duress! These critical elements must work together if a brand strategy is to succeed. After the name and the tagline, it is critical that all messaging including key words, phrases, and outward facing statements are all aligned with the story brand. Even something as simple as an email signature, or bumper sticker on the company fleet of trucks must align purposefully with the brand identity if strategic brand marketing efforts are to be successful.
We can never forget that a picture tells a thousand words. This is especially true in story branding campaigns. Each photo, infographic, illustration, sign, display booth, and individual company apparel can further engage customers and others in your story brand.
Story branding is important in today’s fast-moving marketplace where public opinion can make or break a business or organization. define the who, what, when, where, why, and how of your organization’s story. Then, own your story, align it with your brand and tell it in a way that matters.