How to create an authentic brand story

23rd Oct 2017

A brand’s story isn’t told in one sitting, and it isn’t delivered through a single platform. Instead, it unfolds over time through a variety of channels. When a brand creates and tells a story that is authentic and makes a real connection, the result is the building of trust and valuable relationships.

So, how do you create and express your brand story? Keep reading. Here are some proven techniques along with some real world examples.

Use Video to Tell a Compelling Brand Story

At the beginning of October Danish energy group, DONG announced that it was changing its name to Ørsted. The name change is the result of the company’s decision to turn away from non renewable energy to focus solely on green energy. The old name, Danish Oil and Natural Gas is simply no longer a fit.

In order to communicate this change and commitment to renewable, the company produced and released this video. Of course, what makes this move a compelling example of storytelling isn’t simply that they produced a video. It’s that the brand has taken the time to create a beautifully produced video with amazing visuals, and a sincere and well delivered voiceover. In fact, production values are so important that 85% of businesses today have in house staff to produce and edit video.

Remember That All Content Tells Your Story

You might associate storytelling with blog posts, social media, videos, Instagram pictures, and web content. You’re certainly not wrong. However, you may be missing out on an important opportunity to tell your story at all times. Micro content may be more important than you realize.

Take online Yoga retailer Ana-Heart as an example. Rather than creating a home page full of textual content, the company has reserved the majority of the page for visuals. Then, they use the small amount of text they display for maximum impact. Rather than going on and on about their brand and products. They rely on brief quotes from fashion industry influencers, and a short blurb about their commitment to providing the highest quality apparel and accessories to women at any stage of their yoga journey.

Know Your Purpose And Communicate it Well

Your company’s mission is an intrinsic part of  your story. You absolutely must define it clearly, and communicate it to your audience. It’s not enough to share your story through a Company History, About Us, or Our Mission link on your website. You have to share your story through multiple channels using a variety of media to do so.

To reach millennials in particular, your overall mission should include a commitment to doing social good. Keep in mind that 81% of millennials believe that brands should make a public declaration of their commitment to social issues.

One example of a company that has created a powerful statement of purpose is The Honest Company. They start with a clear statement of principles about their commitment to sustainability, accessibility, and social responsibility. However, they don’t just let that stagnate in one spot. The same messaging is continued throughout their paid ads and social media content.

Create a Believable Personality

Whether it’s energy drinks, fast food, financial services, jewelry, or some other product or service, successful brands have personalities. A brand story without a personality is like a book without a protagonist. Further, like a protagonist, your brand’s personality must be believable, and your target market must be able to relate to it.

How brands communicate their personality can vary. Harley Davidson has no mascot or celebrity spokesperson. Still, they have developed a rebellious and tough brand personality. Allstate leveraged the very presidential presence of actor Dennis Haysbert to add a dimension of authority and trust to their story. Then there’s the fictional, sardonic and smart alecky Jack Box giving the fast food chain Jack in The Box a fun, tongue in cheek personality.

Choose Your Channels Wisely

Yes, you should be telling your brand story across multiple communication channels. However, that doesn’t mean you need to be on all of them. It makes no sense to spread your brand so thinly that you cannot tell an impactful story. Nor does it make sense to tell your story on platforms where your target audience simply isn’t participating.

Get familiar with the various social media channels available to you. Know the demographics of the users of each one. Even more importantly, select channels that tend to feature the kind of content that you know will get your story out the best way possible.

Of course, the omnichannel approach to storytelling wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t consider offline channels. Print advertising, packaging, labeling, and in store communication are all places where you can reach out to your audience with your story.

The best brand stories are honest, visual, and aimed at the right audience. Choose the right medium and platform. Know what you want to communicate, and understand that your story exists in virtually every interaction with your target audience. 

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