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 portion of your brand story that you share some of the background of your business. Let your audience know why you do what you do. Define your reason for existing. Why is it important? Why should your clients care? This core aim of your business should be a kind of central theme to your story that always comes back into centre focus as you continue to tell it.
2. The conflict — It might be tempting to skip over elements in your story that seem too negative. But sharing hardships or problems are a wonderful way to make your brand more approachable and real. It feels honest and relatable and helps clients to feel that emotional bond that you’re trying to build, particularly if they’ve experienced something similar. Stories that don’t have conflict are kind of boring. No one wants to hear about things being perfect all the time. Besides, if things were already perfect, why would they be looking for services to hire?
3. The resolution — What is the solution your business can promise to your clients? This part of the story should be directly relatable to the services you provide. Share the ways your audience can overcome pain points and move forward.
Making your clients the main character
You and your business will obviously be characters in your brand story. But very importantly, so should your client. In fact, a really effective brand story allows the client to place themselves in the role of the main character. Each time an ideal client comes into contact with your brand, they should be able to see how they fit into the narrative and even make your story theirs.
Its in the conflict and resolution parts of the story that this is easiest to do. Focus on your clients’ pain points and problems and how your business can help them achieve their desired outcome. You can even leave the resolution part of the story unfinished — leave it to your clients to decide whether they want to finish the story or not. They can continue along with the way things are now (the way they are in the conflict portion of the story) or they can solve their problems with you and achieve their desired outcome.
People are looking for transformations, and your story should make it clear what the transformation your business can promise is. And make it about feelings. How will it feel to fix the problem your clients have? What does it mean to them? What if they don’t overcome the problem? Remember: it’s about creating an emotional reaction.
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.
It’s important to make sure all these elements are consistently presented in a way that supports the story you tell. That the styling, from the visuals to the messaging, all fits the narrative you’re building. Not every piece of content or business collateral may tell the story in its entirety, but it should fit into the big picture.
Your brand story doesn’t have to be something mind-blowing. It just has to share what you’re passionate about and truly believe in, when it comes to how and why you run your business. It also doesn’t need to be anything overly complex and elaborate. You can keep it simple and straightforward — there’s power in creating something your audience can instantly understand. Instead of adding layer upon layer of new details, focus on depth and exploring 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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