- Brand stories help the consumer to connect with your company on a deeper level
- Brand stories aren’t about putting the company at the center, it’s about making the consumer the hero and the company the guide
- Stories work on a deeper psychological level than fact-based marketing
Why Your Business Needs a Brand Story
Have you ever read something that connected with you? Maybe it made you laugh, think, or cry? Hit you right in the feels? About 10 years ago I read The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. I still remember reading it years ago and having to put it down multiple times because it was so powerful and so moving, and I was crying so much, I couldn’t see the words on the page. Here I am, many years later and if you ask me about that book I still remember that feeling.
Now let’s think about your company. When someone asks what you do, what do you say? Do you start listing out the problems you solve? The customers you serve? Riveting.
Ask that person what you do a few days later and I’m going to bet they don’t remember, or they misremember what you told them. That’s because when the brain senses that it’s being pitched or sold to, it has a natural cognitive reaction to resist. It pushes back.
Now if we were to relay what you do in a simple, but engaging story format something very different happens. Your brain actually takes that information and claims it as it’s own- as if they found it. That’s because your mind spends 30% of it’s waking time daydreaming– when you work, drive, etc. But when you are watching a movie, reading a great book, or listening to a great story, your brain doesn’t daydream: That story is doing the daydreaming for you. The story has literally taken over the brain.
Stories go beyond a product. They resonate because they’re human. They hit you in the feels.
It’s not a list of features. It’s not telling them how great your company is, all the great things you’ve done, or all the people who love you. It’s about the customer, your hero. Your company is merely the guide or the helper to get the hero to the finish line.
And you don’t have to take my word for it. A recent study shows that when you read stories that evoke emotion, it stimulates the brain and even changes how you act.
What’s a Brand Story?
A company’s brand story isn’t about throwing together a quick persona and then using it in your PowerPoints and explainer videos. It has a narrative that carries through your site, sales pitch, marketing campaigns, brand voice, logo, and branding. It’s using the best elements of writing to develop a storyline that creates a personality customers can connect with.
[Cue the obligatory Apple-Steve Jobs anecdote.]
When Apple re-emerged with the iPod Classic, it was a story. And it wasn’t a story that revolved around Apple or Steve Jobs. It was about the user and their connection to the music and how they made it easier for people to store, access and listen to the music they loved. And while Apple was part of the story, it was a guide, an assistant to get the hero – YOU – closer to your music. Apple has one of the most loyal, – almost to the point of illogical – fan bases. They are part of the fabric of the user’s everyday life. They are not just well-liked, they are BELOVED.
How Do You Create a Brand Story?
Your story should be built around your hero, and that hero isn’t your company. The hero is your customer. And just like in any good story the hero is a well-developed character who experiences a conflict that’s resolved with the help of a guide.
Creating a brand story is an art and a craft. It takes a lot of work, research, and editing. It makes knowing your target audience at a level that goes beyond just the demographics- it goes to psychographics. What does your ideal customer worry about? What are they struggling with? How does that struggle make them feel? Using the best practices from thousands of years of storytelling and creative writing ensures that you have a story that injects personality into your brand- and your personality and story are what your customer connects with.