Brand Story : Building connection with your brand
Brand story is being used by companies today to build audience engagement, gain their trust and to fuel sales as a complementary marketing strategy to a business’s traditional advertising campaigns. Unlike advertising which relies on a show and tell method of delivery, a brand story is relaying stories to an audience and evoking an emotion with them, hopefully creating a ‘feel good’ experience that flows onto others.
The concept of brand story is not something new though. Iconic brands like Coke-a-Cola, Disney and even the Red Cross have long realised the power of stories in connecting with their audiences. Everything goes better with Coke is firmly implanted on the minds of just about every human on this planet. If there was a natural disaster in the world today, we would see the Red Cross at the forefront as the trust source to aid in the relief.
Today global giants like Nike and Apple create a brand story that not only builds trust with people, but creates disciples. So what is the story that has early adopters sit outside an Apple store for twenty four hours or more just so they can be the first to purchase a new iPhone or any other Apple product? Let’s start off with defining what a brand story is.
What is a definition of a brand story?
"A brand story is a collection of stories about you, your business and your products or services, that evokes an emotional response that is by the nature of story, your brand"
Essentially it's what others say about a company. It could encompass a customer experience, a product, service, pricing or quality relayed as a story.
The power of stories
Stories create emotions. The more descriptive the more we connect. And if a story is able to tap into all five senses - smell, touch, taste, sight and sound, then we are really hooked.
Remember the last time you were at the movies. How many of the audience were idly chatting away during the screening?
None I would guess as everybody was glued to the screen immersed in the story, their senses fully engaged. Done right, this can be the power of a brand story for a company as well.
A brand story oozes the personality of your customers
This is not an advertising gimmick thought up by some Versace wearing marketing executives to create a few sales. It's a compilation of stories personally delivered by people who trust your brand and are happy to share their experiences. People by from people they know, like and trust.
Brand story structure
Simplicity is the key here. The audience must be able to get the story and tell it in their own simple words.
Donald Miller, President of StoryBrand, points out that every company needs to have clarity in their message. If not, a visitor to that company will burn too much energy in trying to decipher a company's story and will promptly leave without purchasing their product or service.
In Story Brand, Donald Miller lays out a seven part framework to effectively convey a message. A simple brand story focuses on three of these points, written in the language for a customer.
- Problem. What is the main problem of the customer?
- Solution. What solution does your company provide?
- Success. How does success look when a customer takes on board your company's product or service?
Success is the beginning of the relationship between the customer and company, not the end. Ideally the customer spreads the word far and wide through their own personal story.
Your brand story is your survival
Most people would say that a company's survival depends on its ability to turn a profit. True as that maybe, a profit is somewhat dependent on the company having a growing team of raving fans eagerly spreading a company's story.
Making money is one thing. But what does your brand REALLY stand for?
The founders of Emma and Tom's, a fresh juice company, express their mission clearly on their site.
"Each year we donate over $100,000 worth of our products to community groups, charity events and fundraisers such as Pink Ribbon, Second Bite and the St Kilda Mission. We also run a social enterprise “Unite Projects’ to help fight youth homelessness in Australia. We have raised over $350,000 so far, and we are working with local communities to help make a difference."
It's clear why Emma and Tom's exists.
Where do you find a brand story on a company's website?
Your brand story can be found throughout your website but is most viewed on your About page. This is the page visitors go to find out about you, to see if there are any similarities and to gain a connection. Typically if a visitor likes what they see on a company's About page, then there is a greater chance of business occurring.
The best way to connect with people is via a story. Your story should not only tell a visitor who you are, what your business is about and what your mission is, but the story should show the reader all these attributes. Showing your story gives you a better, more engaging connection.
Your brand story on your About page can be displayed in words, a video, audio or a combination of all three. With Google's recent acquisition of Alexa, voice will play a bigger role in search results in the coming years especially as the trend toward searching via a mobile device continues to gather momentum. A voice search into your mobile phone will become second nature and companies that provide clear, succinct answers will win.
Smart companies are also opting to have their website scripts translated into other languages. This opens a company up to gaining more search traffic in foreign countries (with less competition) and gaining a strong foothold into markets they may not have gone after in the past.
5 key ingredients for a great brand story on your About page
- Use story. Stories connect with people.
- Help. Talk about how you are going to help a customer. An About page is not all about you. You need to talk in the customer’s language and show them how you are going to be able to help them by solving their problem.
- Be emotional. Use words that are descriptive and impact the reader. Make them strong so that they trigger the sensory part of the reader's brain, thereby building an emotional connection.
- Keep it short. If you are using video, keep it under two minutes. Alternatively if you are expressing your story in words, keep it to a maximum of 500 words.
- Have a call to action. Once a visitor has read your About page, make sure you give them some direction as to what to do next. Do you want them to download your free guide? Do you want them to check out your products or services? Don't let your new connected visitor aimlessly drift off. Direct them where to go.
Brand story example
There are many great brand story examples on the net, but Story Brand Guide Australia offers you 20 great websites for you to check out, all in one place. Look for a brand story example on each website’s About page. Shultz Photo School does this very well and their call to action seamlessly blends into their story. Brilliant!
Stories are extremely powerful. Your brand story should be the catalyst for growing your brand.
Delivered in the language of your customer, it is the platform for creating and building trust.
Like all great stories, your brand story will evolve and should continue to live on, hopefully inspiring customers to spread your company's message far and wide. Become a better storyteller today and watch your business explode.