Branding is about building a relationship between your business and its clients. Instead of simply focusing on straight facts about your services and process, branding is about sharing your purpose and values and connecting with your audience on an emotional level. A powerful way to do this is to create a brand story and share it through every touchpoint of your business.
Why you need to create a brand story
A brand story is the narrative you build around your business to help your audience understand why you do what you do and how it relates to them.
Storytelling is extremely beneficial as a way to market our businesses. Stories capture and hold the attention of your audience. They’re memorable and live on in people’s minds long after they’ve heard them. With a well-built story that develops and continues over time, you can create a lasting impression with clients.
At its core, branding is emotional. Choosing one brand over another is a way for consumers to say something about themselves as individuals. Creating a brand story tells your audience how you want them to feel and what it means to be part of your tribe.
Elements you need to create a brand story
All stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Another way to look at this is: introduction, conflict and resolution. As long as you have these three basic components, you can create a brand story that your audience will find compelling.
So, what do each of these parts entail?
1. The introduction — This is the part that sets the scene and mood. It’s in this part of your brand story that you explain who this story (and therefore this brand) is for. And who is this story for? Well, your ideal client of course!
Be clear about who this person is and what’s important to them. You also want to explain what their motivation is. What’s that deep desire that’s going to drive this story? That goal they’re setting out to achieve? (This goal, of course, is the result you can offer through your services.)
2. The conflict — It might be tempting to skip over elements in your story that seem too negative, but the reality is that people love drama. Stories without conflict are boring! If you want your audience to feel that emotional bond, you’ve got to show to them that you relate to their problems.
Drill into those hardships and pain points that your ideal client is facing. What’s preventing them from reaching their goal right now? What will happen if things continue this way? This is why they’re looking for help. Spell it out with specific detail to show you understand.
3. The resolution — Here’s where you get to the solution your business offers. Make the connection between the problem your ideal client is facing, and the services you can deliver. Pain that picture of what it’ll look like to overcome their conflict and reach that desired outcome they’ve been chasing.
Making your clients the main character
It’s important that your brand story centres around your ideal client. They’re the whole reason why you spend time developing your brand! Each time they come into contact with your business, you want them to be able to clearly see how they fit into the narrative, and to understand why your business is valuable to them.
Remember to dig into the emotional side of the story you’re telling. Be creative in your language, to really drive the message home and empathise with the journey your clients are on.
And don’t be afraid of creating a bit of tension within them. Although you want to demonstrate that you can lead your ideal clients to the conclusion they’re looking for, the choice of whether they’ll take you up on it is up to them. Until they do, the resolution part of the story is actually open-ended. Will they follow through on concluding the story? Leave that question up in the air.
Putting your brand story into use
Your brand story isn’t a 500 word composition that you put on some page on your website. I mean, it could be something you literally write out like that, but it probably wouldn’t be the most compelling way to tell the story and capture the attention of your audience.
Instead, think of your brand story as something that is infused into every touchpoint of your business. Every time your clients come into contact with your brand — through your logo, emails, packaging, proposal documents, Instagram posts, tagline and anything else — your story is added to and strengthened.
The point isn’t to tell the story in its entirety with each and every piece. Instead, by knowing the important pieces, you can reference them as appropriate. When you put the pieces all together, from your messaging to your visuals, they should all be telling the same cohesive story.
Your brand story doesn’t have to be something mind-blowing. It just has to share what makes your business valuable to a particular type of person. There’s no need for anything overly complex or elaborate. Instead, aim to keep it simple and straightforward — there’s power in creating something your audience can instantly understand.
Rather than adding layer upon layer of new details, focus on depth and really fleshing out the main concepts of your story. Keep things consistent and always make sure everything you do in your business upholds the brand story you’re creating.
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