Many business are confused by what a brand “story” actually is. Here are some examples that show how it’s done.
What’s your story?
If someone asks this of about your business, do you have an answer?
A lot of businesses don’t because they don’t understand the concept of a business story.
A business story isn’t a literary narrative with the story arc you learned in high school English.
Instead, a business story is more of an anecdote with a specific idea your customers connect with. It’s an idea that resonates with people and makes them feel like a part of your brand.
The best way to understand this is through some good examples, so let’s have a look.
Billie sells women’s shaving products. Their story involves the Pink Tax:
No doubt most women read this and think, Hell ya, I’m against the pink tax too!
You agree as well, don’t you? And if we asked you next week if you remembered what the Pink Tax is, you would. And you’d know where to shop to get your Pink Tax rebate.
Story, value proposition, and brand affinity all in one paragraph. Beautifully executed.
Dolls Kill is a disrupter fashion brand. Their clothes brim with wild attitude, and that’s how they develop their story:
They carry this message further with this brilliant line:
This story will resonate with every person out there who felt more comfortable sitting the back of the class and pushes their way to the front row at the club.
This is a well-defined story from a brand that fully understands who they’re connecting with.
Vireo is a medical cannabis organization. Their story has two subjects.
The first is that their founder is a traditionally trained physician who came to believe medical cannabis had verifiable benefits:
Initially a medical cannabis skeptic, Dr. Kingsley’s position on the issue evolved over time, as he delved into the science that was absent from his medical school training and became intrigued by the small, but building body of clinical evidence around the medical use of cannabis as well as the increasing number of real-world patient stories he observed first-hand.
The second is the story of working with veterans who struggle with chronic pain issues:
One particularly moving story came from a Gulf War veteran — a six-foot male in his forties, father of two, originally from California — who had suffered a gunshot wound that resulted in a spinal cord injury. For years following the war, the vet continued to experience debilitating pain and muscle spasms in his legs that prevented him from leading a normal life. After a lengthy period of being prescribed large amounts of opiates with numerous adverse side effects – including constant states of sedation, dizziness, and nausea — he decided to try cannabis, which quickly provided him significant relief from his symptoms with little to no side-effects and helped pave the way for him to return to normal everyday life.
This story is effective at getting people to focus on legitimate medical uses for their products. The story of the vet is one that resonates for everyone who reads it.
Swamp Cracker is a brand that, like Dolls Kill, has products that are designed to go along with their brand story.
This is a southern company and their brand story exemplifies their philosophy.
This story fits right into their Facebook ads:
There is only one reason people buy Swamp Cracker clothes. Because they feel the story fits their lifestyle.
Canyon Bakehouse bakes all-natural, gluten-free bread. The founder of the company was diagnosed with Celiac disease which required her to go on a gluten-free diet.
They tell their story in a video
This is a common type of business story. The owner had a problem and solving that problem for herself turned into a business.
This type of story is effective at reaching target audiences who have the same problem. If you are gluten-free, this brand story will resonate with you and you’ll want to try their bread.
Ollie sells customized dog food plans. When you arrive on their homepage, they tell their story immediately – with an image:
This image tells the story of someone who cares so much about their dog they feed them like a person. They customize portions for your dog and use “human-grade” ingredients.
Their story continues as a letter to – you guessed it – their dogs. It’s quirky but effective at connecting to people who care so much about their dogs that they must have the very best.
Stories That Resonate
The key to a brand story is to evoke a feeling of shared emotion or belief, causing the idea to resonate with people.
When we say resonate, we want two things to happen. The first is that you touch your audience on an emotional level, which is the key to getting people to commit to a decision.
Second, you want them to remember you. With digital brand marketing, one of the primary goals is to make a strong impression so people will think of your brand when they have a need for your product.
Nobody remembers stats and features. If Ollie told us dogs on their plans live 14.5% longer than other dogs, you’d forget it. But you can visualize that picture of the dog at the table without looking, can’t you?
Today, gaining initial awareness isn’t usually the biggest marketing challenge. Instead, it’s getting people to engage, sign-up, and spread the word. A strong brand story gets people to think this is for me.
Ultimately, a brand story makes a lifestyle connection. When people put themselves in your story, you’re creating a really effective marketing message.