Stories Sell.

Brand stories are experienced and felt. They should garner interest and attention that excites.

Steve Lindgren
April 12, 2018
BRANDING
2:30min

It has been true forever that everyone loves a good story. The good ones are fascinating, entertaining, engaging, and trigger an emotional response.

Over the past couple of years, the idea of “story” in marketing has been under transformation. Today, your brand story has less to do with making up a story around your product, and more about the entire message your brand is sending out into the world, and the responses it triggers.

Brand stories are experienced and felt. They should garner interest and attention.

Your brand story is not a 5 page write-up about the history of your brand. I mean, it can be, but what value is there in a document like that to your customer?

Instead, think of your brand story as something much bigger.

You see, your brand or business already have a narrative attached to it whether you know it or not, and whether you like it or not. Developing your brand story gives you the power to work that narrative for the good of your business. Think about the company, Patagonia for example. If you don’t know anything about them, they started under a different name making climbing equipment in someone’s garage. From the very beginning, the believed they could make something better. That core belief still is at the root of their business and story, even as they have changed over the years. Today, a very clear part of their brand story is driven by environmental advocacy and innovative products – making outdoor gear better by having less of an impact on the environment. They don’t really need to announce that in a 5 page letter. They simply live their story all the way down to collecting sap for wetsuits from a renewable resource that reduces CO2 emissions around 80% (http://www.patagonia.com/yulex-natural-rubber-wetsuits.html).

This is solid stuff, you guys. It’s the power of story. The Patagonia product and brand are drenched in their beliefs, their values, their mission. It’s their story.

Take a breather from Patagonia real quick. Another way to think about it is the sum of what an audience experiences from your brand. It includes their journey, colors they see, social media posts, what they read your website, 3rd party reviews of your product, etc.

So hopefully, you have things like values, vision, mission, a pitch, and power 5. Now you need to add some visual guidelines and figure out where to inject voice and personality. 

As a whole, your brand story is made up of: mission, vision, pitch, why, power 5, visual guidelines, typography, and tone of voice. The magic comes in consistently conveying these things as your story in everything you do. The key word is CONSISTENTLY. Everyone on your team needs to be on the same page too. Make sure they are believers in your brand and product. They will have a much better time working for you, and they will produce much better work if they really believe in the story you’re putting out there.

Your brand book is essentially the outline of your story. Everything else you do or create (like your website) is that story flushed out.

Here are few tips to keep in mind as you continue to develop everything in your brand book.

Do: Make it true and authenticSound like a real humanConnect emotionallyUse your power 5 words

Don’t: Be boringBe corporate and coldTry to be too funnyCome up with too many new elements. If one of them really floats your boat, take it to the very beginning and start over. It’s kind of like Apple all of the sudden deciding to add glittery purple dragons to everything. It just doesn’t fit.

Remember the key benefit of controlling your brand story is customer loyalty and trust. Those benefits are bread by a solid story that is relevant, relatable, and consistent.

Good luck! Happy storytelling.

Oh, if it just feels better to write up your story in a fun and compelling way then your about page is the best place for it. But please, make sure it doesn’t kill the mood!

Steve Lindgren
Steve Lindgren is a Brand Specialist & UX Designer based in San Diego. His passion is to build brand experiences that educate, engage, and inspire.

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