Why Brand Stories Matter And Simple Steps To Creating A Unique Brand Story
Telling and sharing stories is the key to our civilisation. Storytelling is great for stretching the imagination. In a paper on the British Council website, it has been shown that storytelling workshops help mental health and well-being by supporting relaxation.
How do we develop a unique story for our business and brand?
- What a brand story is not: It is not just a tagline. It is not just the logo or the colours. It is not just your personal story and ‘about’ page, or a sales pitch.
- What a brand story is: A brand story is the heart and soul of your brand. It is the complete picture of what you are. It is what makes you unique.
Successful brands create a narrative, something that positions them as unique, and creates an emotional connection with the customers. Good storytelling is all about forging an emotional connection.
The colours, the logo, the name and the tagline all follow from the central message. They all come together to form the brand story.
A brand story tells the motivation for starting your business, and why you get up and do what you do every day, why customers should care, and why they should trust you.
The brand story builds connections and it builds trust. Research has shown the power of descriptive stories and how our brains respond to it. Scientists call it synchronising or neural coupling where a simultaneous brain activity happens in two people, the brand narrator and the customer in this instance, and leads to a mirroring effect, leading to an enhanced comprehension and understanding.
Neuroeconomist Paul Zak‘s research indicates that our brains produce the stress hormone cortisol during the tense moments in a story allowing us to focus on the story, and then the resolution of that tension releases oxytocin, the feel-good chemical that promotes connection and empathy. So, when we build tension and then create a feel-good moment, we create a captivating story. Here is how to create an unique and authentic brand story:
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- Keep it simple: Simple stories are the best to build momentum and relationships. The story has to focus on problem, success and solution. Most good stories have a beginning- why did you start, was there a struggle, a protagonist who overcame some obstacles; a middle- where and when, and how; and, an end. The end isn’t really an end in the true sense as it is a journey and a progression, creating optimism for the client. Simple stories build trust.
- Let your personality shine through: Good brand stories are driven by the founder’s personality. So, let your personality drive through the brand story. It comes back to the point I made earlier about being authentic and aligning brand values with your own values. It isn’t just your life story. It is the reason that your brand is so inherently inter-linked with you. It is what makes your brand completely unique. People buy from people. People relate to other people. So, let the face behind the brand be visible. This doesn’t have to mean putting our faces on billboards. It means letting the clients see the reason why you are the best person to drive this brand forward, and it creates trust.
- Communicate the higher purpose: I believe that this is one of the most essential elements of any brand, and of a powerful brand story. I always ask my clients to start by figuring out their own ‘why’. What is the purpose of the brand? It is not just about making money. What kind of problem does it solve? What kind of social change does it bring about? Is it improving lives in some way, because every brand or business does? We all have our businesses to make lives better, to leave a little mark of ourselves, to leave a legacy. Communicating this purpose through your tagline and your brand story creates trust and a connection with customers. It creates a reason for them to buy from you.
For The Art Tiffin, it is all about bringing a creative revolution and supporting mental health and well-being. The tagline is ‘nourish the mind, nourish the heart’, and the brand brings a ‘creative hug in a box’ giving people permission to slow down and look after themselves.
A good story has to be shared, told and re-told.
It is how we tell the story that matters too.
But, first we have to weave that brand story, that communicates what we do, why we do it, how we do it. We have to bring our personalities and our experiences into it, and our purpose and aspirations, Then we can truly start making connections. A great brand story gives our brand roots, grounding it and anchoring it while giving it wings, and letting it soar.