What Is Your Brand Story?

Every great superhero has an origin story. Every great brand does too. But how do you know what yours is? It’s highly unlikely your brand came to be due to a radioactive spider bite. How do you sort through the story of how it did come to be, and make it just as spectacular and interesting to the consumer? 

It used to be that brand origin stories took the history lesson route. You’ve seen millions of them. Most of them go something like this: “Sal and Ira always wanted to have a fruit stand so they worked hard, never compromised, and now they have 70 fruit stands in five states.” Yep, that’s their origin story. It’s also extremely boring and it forgets the most important person in the story: the customer. 

That’s right: the center of your brand story isn’t you. It’s your customer. Without them, your brand would not exist. Remember that when crafting your narrative. Instead of staring out with “I had a great idea,” pivot to “I saw how I could reach out to you, my customer, and make your life better.” 

One of the best known brand stories out there is for Spanx undergarments. You’re probably wearing at least one pair of them right now. I, myself, am wearing seven. Sara Blakely founded the company in 2000 after wanting to buy control top panty hose – just without the hose. And that’s a great story. It’s made even better when Blakely explains that the origin of the company wasn’t her coming up with a great idea and realizing she could make millions of dollars off women with muffin tops, but instead that she realized she could “help women feel great about themselves and their potential.” 

Once you figure out your customer centered origin story it is time to figure out the best way to tell it. Remember that you are competing in a crowded marketplace. How are you going to make your story stand out?

Be Human

You want to forge a personal connection with your customer. After all, they are the reason you are here. What do you have in common with them? What do they say about you? Why have they chosen your brand over others? 

Look at how you are phrasing your story. Are you talking on the same level as your consumer? Try to stay away from technical jargon except when absolutely necessary, and then explain terms as you use them. Your brand story should be welcoming your customer into the party, not making them stand in the corner awkwardly while they wonder what all the cool kids are talking about. 

Be Transparent

Brands do best when they let people behind the scenes. Let customers in. Introduce them to your team and let them know why you all show up to do what you do every day. Make them feel like they are a part of that team. 

Be Different

You know there are things about your brand that set you apart. Now it’s time to show them off. Are you involved in philanthropy? Do you have a brand mascot? What is unique about your brand culture? 

Be Authentic

At the core your brand story is who you are. You can’t hide behind smoke and mirrors. Chances are your brand stories has some dark chapters, or problem moments that you had to overcome. Include those in your story, and show how they have helped you become a stronger brand because of them. Even fairy tales have an evil queen or a thicket of thorns that must be overcome. They make the story more interesting. 

Be Open to the Future

Yes, you are talking about your brand’s origin story, but you are telling it to show where you are heading in the future. How has what happened in the past shaped where you are taking your customer, and your brand, in the coming years. If you don’t do this telling your brand’s story could just amount to another “cool story, bro” moment. 

Now you have the building blocks for your brand story. You know its customer centered narrative. You know how it relates to people. You know how it showcases your work. You know what set it apart from other stories. You know how it connects to the past and sets a course for the future. 

So, how do you tell it? Read on to learn more.