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The Complete Guide to Creating a Powerful Brand Story in 2022

how to write a brand story

Table of Contents

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. i.e., if you sign up for their paid programs, I will get a commission, at no cost to you. Please rest assured that I only recommend software/ products I genuinely believe in, and trust to be good for you.

Even a decade ago, the business world was product and company-centric.

It was mainly push marketing and the brand dominated the conversation.

A brand story was not even a thing.

Now, unless your brand is authentic, emotional, and centered around the customers and solving their problems, you can’t continue to win.

70% of consumers say that trusting a brand is more important than in the past. They are also connecting more to stories and experiences.

So as a marketer or a small business owner, you need to build a powerful brand strategy and website with the right messaging, to help you connect to your audiences.

This post will clarify what a brand story is, and guide you through the 3 steps of creating your brand story.

It will also help you understand how to write your story for a website or other brand material, so you can attract the right audiences for your business and grow your small business.

What is a brand?

A brand can have many definitions, and it is difficult to pin it down to one specific thing. But in general, a brand can be explained in this way:

A brand is a promise of value. An identity. Click To Tweet

A brand has to have a promise to deliver some benefit to its target audience, through each product or service.

Usually, this promise is of 2 kinds:

  • Solve a problem: Meet an existing need in the market
  • Generate desire: Create a craving/ new need
A brand is an experience, an association in people’s minds. Click To Tweet

The audience absorbs the brand message consciously and subconsciously while engaging with the brand and the people who mention it.

This creates a perception in the audience’s minds about what the brand stands for, and what makes it unique.

A brand is a go-to expert. A catalyst for growth. Click To Tweet

A brand needs to establish itself as the expert or as one providing the ‘best value’ in its specific expertise.

If the business actually delivers the value it promises, it can generate investment from its target audience, which over time leads to growth.

what is a brand

What a brand is not

A brand is not just a logo, a product, or a website. It is an experience. Click To Tweet

What is a brand story?

A brand story is the core essence of a brand, expressed through simple brand narratives and design, that evoke emotional reactions in the target audience and helps them to connect to the brand.

The ’emotion’ part is very important because people don’t always buy the lowest-priced item or make their decisions solely on logic. People buy based on how they feel about a brand.

That feeling could be anything from familiarity, trust, or even personal relationships (like you know someone who works there).

Your brand story includes factors like your origin, experience, mission, product, pricing, quality, purpose, values, location, recommendations, and the experience your audience has interacting with you and buying from you.

Your brand story is an authentic snapshot of who you are, how you intend to help your target audience, what makes you different, and all the reasons and ways that your audience can build a connection to you. Click To Tweet

Every brand has a story, even yours. But you may not even be conscious of it.

This guide will help you identify and craft your brand story, so you can get the most out of your brand to drive your business growth.

Create a Powerful Brand Story

Why is brand storytelling important?

Think of any small business you buy from and evaluate why you buy from them.

When I had to buy my son’s first walking shoes, for example, I ditched the big brands to go to a small store that specializes only in children’s shoes. The store owner used to work in the shoe industry. She explained to us what kind of shoes we should buy to help my son walk better,  and personally helped us to pick out the right shoes.

Brands build awareness and set you apart

A brand is a promise of value and experience that makes an impact. It is a personality, a purpose, a message, a voice, a set of values and beliefs. It is YOUR value, and it is unique. Brand life cycles are longer than those of products.

Stories connect to the heart

Stories promise emotional experiences and benefits for consumers, whereas products promise primarily direct functional benefits.

Research shows that people buy more based on emotions, then use rationals to justify the emotional decision. So investing in brand storytelling, instead of simply creating marketing messages about your products, can move your target audience from considering your product, to actually purchasing it.

A brand story can attract investment

Besides attracting clients and leads, a well-told story through a brand, with a clear vision, not only has the ability to let your audience connect to you and buy from you, but also gain trust and investment from venture capitalists and other financial investors.

Check out any of the Dragon Den episodes to see how every pitch starts with a brand story and how that impacts the investor’s decisions.

This video is one of my favorites.

I have a baby and a toddler, so I am the target audience of this entrepreneur. I realize from her brand story that she understands my challenges, and the solution she offers through her brand is perfect for me!

Brands inspire repeat purchase

Have you ever experienced a situation, where you just liked a product, but it was one of many? But the service was so great, and you think the people really understood you, and you connected to the brand, believed in it, that you just retained your loyalty to it? And maybe even went on to recommend it to others?

Think about the recent Coepernick campaign by Nike.  That is the true power of brand stories.

Essential elements of a brand

1. Customer Focus

A brand’s biggest objective should be to match its core offer with the needs of its specific audience. So your customer should always be at the center of all that your brand does.

2. Uniqueness

A brand needs to stand out. Every brand should have a differentiated positioning and a unique value proposition, even for a niche audience.

3. Simplicity

The core offer, positioning, and promise of a brand have to be simple, clear, and easily understood. If your brand offer and messaging are too layered, your audience will have to work hard to understand and connect with you, in which case they simply won’t.

4. Authenticity & Heart

A brand needs to be honest, transparent, meaningful, and true to its stated values. Only then can it touch the audience’s hearts with its story. 77% of consumers buy from brands that share their values.

5. Credibility

A brand needs to have a reason-to-believe on why it can claim a particular expertise. Your brand can claim that it creates the best or the most low-cost product, for example, but how it does that, needs to be believable to your audience.

6. Consistency

A brand should maintain the same tone and message at each touchpoint. Together, all the messages will create a consistent image subconsciously in the minds of the audience, about what the brand stands for.

7. Fulfillment of the promise

A brand promise is the core offer of a brand, about how it can make the lives of its audience better. To gain and retain the trust of your audience, just ensure that your brand consistently delivers the value you promised.

Read more about these in detail: 7 Essential Elements of Strong Brand Equity

How to grow your business with your brand story

Your business will grow if your audience buys from you. And they will buy from you if they trust you. 81% of consumers need to be able to trust a brand before they buy anything from it.

But how do you gain consumer trust with your brand?

There is a 7-step formula that you can follow to connect with your audience and grow your business, irrespective of your industry. Just follow these steps repeatedly and consistently.

grow your brand continuously

Read the whole process here in detail:7 Steps to Keep Growing Your Brand Continuously [Infographic]

How to create a brand story: The Complete Guide to Creating a Powerful Brand Story in 2022

There are 3 steps to developing a brand story.

1.  Define your story

Identify what your brand truly and proudly stands for. What it wants to achieve, why it exists, what value it offers, what its personality is like, and how it wants to change the world. It is very important to be true and authentic at this stage. Otherwise, your business journey may not be impactful or sustainable.

2.  Design your brand

Develop an external brand identity that represents your story perfectly. The brand identity, the tone of voice, and the customer experience will translate the story from paper to a real-life existence.

3. Craft your message

Create the perfect way to talk about your brand. What your brand offer is, the benefit you offer your audience, the actual story woven together with a specific set of words, that you can share at any networking event or 5 min conversation.

3 Steps to Create Your Powerful Brand Story

DEFINE YOUR STORY

Define your Brand Story

Every brand has a story. In this step, you just have to define and structure the story, so that it can be expressed with a visual and verbal identity.

The most important principles of a brand story definition include the following:

1.  Market understanding

The first step to creating a brand story is to build a deep understanding of your niche target market.

Understand the ‘real’ market you are operating in. Within a broader market you can have a smaller one, so understand those specific group dynamics.

Next, understand your competition and your differentiation from them.

Identify your core competition’s offer, strategy, marketing channels, promise, and communication.

If you’re unsure whether to start, a tool like SEMRush’s Market Explorer or  Competition Research will help you get a lot of understanding.

SEMRush Extended 14-Day FREE Trial 728x90

2.  Customer insights

Focus on a niche group, with a specific problem. Solving that problem will help you to build a specific identity and positioning, in their minds. And that is the crux of building a brand.

Understand their biggest unmet needs (pain points) or desires and their purchase behavior. This will clarify how you can solve their problems best and create your communication.

Related: What You Should Definitely Know About Your Consumer’s Purchase Process

Get an idea of their lifestyle, where they hang out, where they go to find information, and their customer journey. This will help in your marketing.

Related: 21 Free & DIY Ideas for Doing an Audience Analysis for Your Small Business

Again, if you need help with what your audience is looking for, try out SEMRush’s Topic Research. Now that you have all this info, put it down in a structured format.

Download a FREE template to create a buyer persona.

3.  Brand purpose

Your brand purpose is essentially your ‘why’: the reason for your brand/ business to exist, the contribution you will make to the world through your brand.

Ignite-brand-purpose_2

4.  Brand mission statement

Your brand mission statement is the overarching benefit you want to provide for your audience. You can derive it from your brand purpose.

Here are some examples of mission statements:

Google: Our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Paypal:  To build the Web’s most convenient, secure, cost-effective payment solution.

See more examples of some inspiring mission statements.

5.  Brand vision

Your brand vision refers to the changes you want to make in the world. What would your brand stand for, a few years down the line?

Some brand vision examples:

McDonald’s: Be the best quick service restaurant experience

Southwest Airlines: Become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline

6.  Unique value proposition

Your unique value proposition is essentially the uniqueness you bring to your audience.

What you stand for, what you deliver that is different from your competition, and why your audience should believe you. See the template below to guide you on how to write a unique value proposition.

Unique Value Proposition

Related: 27 Ways to Create Your Competitive Positioning & Business Differentiation [with Examples]

7.  Brand personality

Define the personality of your brand, almost like it were a person.

Is it more playful/ fun, or more serious and formal? Is it more classic and elegant, or more modern and tech? Is it an everyday, relatable, human brand, or more chic, upscale, and aspirational?

Check out these brand personality examples to understand how very different and unique brands can be, just like people.

8.  Brand promise

Your brand promise is your brand’s unique value proposition captured in 1-2 lines. Eventually, a story is defined by words and media. Use the right words to describe your brand.

9.  Brand values

Identify the core values that your brand stands for. What it believes in, what it stands up for, and the principles that guide it.

Here are two brand values examples:

Brand Values

DESIGN YOUR BRAND

Design Your Brand

Now that you have determined what your brand stands for, its differentiation, its mission, and its full story, you have to bring that story to life. You have to express your brand description with relevant visual and written representation. In other words, you have to now create the visual identity of your brand.

This includes the name of your brand, the design, the tone of voice, the colors, and the actual messaging, which are all different aspects of your brand identity. But that’s not all.

You have to define your customer experiences too, because as you saw above, a brand is essentially an experience for the customer, so at every touchpoint, this experience is very crucial.

1.  Brand name

If you’re wondering how to come up with a brand name, these are the most essential factors to keep in mind:

  • The brand mission and promise
  • Emotional connections that the brand can form with the audience
  • The brand personality and the values
  • Any other references that your audience may identify with. Like local or cultural references

An ideal brand name is a combination of the above. Of course, if you are a service-based solopreneur, your business brand can also be your personal brand.

But if you would like your product brand to be different from you, and not just have you as an identity, try to brainstorm for a few names that represent all that your brand story stands for.

2.  Look and feel

Your brand look and feel is not just a logo. It’s an entire persona.  It includes but is not limited to:

  • Logo
  • Design
  • Colors
  • Stationery (Business cards, letterheads, envelopes)
  • Packaging
  • Store design and furniture
  • Signages
  • Powerpoint template

Related: How to Choose a Brand Color Palette that Fits Your Brand Story to a T

Ensure consistency among all your brand elements. At every interaction with the customer, the brand should look, behave, and feel the same. Click To Tweet

You can hire a graphic designer to create all these elements for you, or even do them yourself, with a tool like Canva.

Related: Canva Pro Pricing Review for Small Businesses: Is it Worth it?

3.  Brand tone of voice

For a consumer, it’s not just what a brand says that’s relevant and important, but also how the brand says it. So this is essentially the communication style that the brand will use. Identify one that will help you connect best with your audience. Here are some brand tone of voice examples to get inspired by.

4.  Customer experience

Define the experience customers will have at each interaction with the brand. The key topics to address are:

  • Detailed info & explanation
  • Questions & contact
  • Purchase process
  • Ease of product/ service use
  • After-sales support
  • Troubleshooting

Related: How Your Customer Service Teams Are Growing Your Brand. Or Killing It.

CRAFT YOUR MESSAGE

Craft your Marketing Message

There are 3 kinds of messaging you could create for your brand:

1. Brand Message

2. Tagline

3. The full one-page story

1.  Brand message

The brand message is the direct brand benefit, the specific problem solved by the brand. This you MUST have.

Here are some examples:

FedEx: The World on Time

Citibank: The Citi Never Sleeps

Subway: Eat Fresh

Your brand promise and message are very important as these would be the first messages your audience will see on your website.

Related: How to Create a Powerful Brand Website for Your Small Business

2.  Brand tagline

A brand tagline is the state of being/ feeling that the brand helps you attain. Creating this is optional. But if you want to clarify your message further with a tagline, look at your mission and take it one step further, with a few powerful words.

Examples:

Adidas: Impossible is nothing

Nike: Just Do It

Apple: Think Different

3.  Brand story

The final step is about how to write a brand story, and the words you choose to describe your business or brand are particularly relevant. See the brand story framework below, for the different elements of the story you should create, and which section of your brand story definition you can draw inspiration from.

Element: Who the brand (the protagonist) is, and what are its origins.

Inspiration: positioning statement

 

Element: Why the brand was launched: to solve which problem? For whom? Why does it do what it does?

Inspiration: audience, brand purpose, mission, values

 

Element: How does it solve the problem now?

Inspiration: Unique Value Proposition, brand promise, marketing message, brand tagline

 

Element: What is the character of the brand? How does it conduct its business, and how does it behave when it offers the solution to the problem? What does it believe in, and feel strongly about?

Inspiration:  Tone of voice, look and feel, personality, values, and customer experience

 

Element: What does the brand plan to do in the future? What change will it create in the world?

Inspiration: Brand vision

In the end, remember, that every single thing you say and do is a reflection of your brand.

Related: [Mega List] 200+ Marketing/ Branding Ideas & Tips to Grow Your Small Business!

What makes a compelling brand story

As you craft your brand story, remember that a story that connects best with its customers will have the following aspects in common:

1. It is human

Stories that connect best are those that have a human(is) in the brand background. After all, businesses don’t just appear in the world. Someone, somewhere, starts one. A brand story that can talk about the origin and value of the people behind a brand, is one that can easily connect to the target audience.

2. It is simple

You don’t need to add layers of information to your brand story. The simpler it is, the better. Simple stories are easier for people to connect with.

Think of it simply in this structure:

  • A hero has a problem or an inspiration
  • The hero thinks of a solution or an idea
  • The hero implements the solution

3. It is emotional

Don’t you remember and share with others those stories best that make you laugh, cry, or be surprised? It is the same with brands. A brand that has a powerful mission and vision, based on changing the world, making a difference, and genuinely providing value, will draw at your customer’s heartstrings and inspire more connection.

4. It is memorable

As mentioned earlier, a brand has to be unique. Otherwise, you’re just one more entity in a sea of billions. And it is this uniqueness that makes you memorable. You don’t have to be unique in all aspects of your story. You could share a mission with another brand, for example.

It is the combination of your brand definition, design, and messaging, that will create a completely unique and memorable brand story. Click To Tweet

Brand story examples to inspire you

Still not sure what a brand story should look and feel like?

Check out some examples of some small businesses that craft brand stories that immediately connect to the audience.

Cotton:On

CottonOn is a fashion apparel company that started in Australia and has now become a global brand.

This is the brand story including their origins and the value they provide.

cottonon brand story example

cottonon brand story example part 2

Little Dutch

It is a company that makes earthy-looking, sustainable toys for babies and toddlers.

See how beautifully the company writes and shares its brand story.

Little Dutch brand story example

Concluding Tips

1. Share your story

Creating a brand story is just one part. To get maximum benefits out of it, you have to share your story with your stakeholder. This could include your customers, suppliers, influencers, anyone else connected to your brand, and anyone else you need to trust you.

You could share your story on social media, on your website, via email, and on any other marketing material you create to promote your brand or boost your SEO.

Related: The Easiest Way to Drive Email Conversions with the Sendinblue WPForms Add-On

2. Create content

A fantastic way to create more understanding and buzz around your brand story is telling your brand story through content.

You could create blogs, videos, podcasts, infographics, or any other kinds of media, or a mix of all of them. The common element in all of them would be to uphold your brand story in each piece of content.

Related: 

3. Be consistent

Trust takes time to build. Brand recall maybe even longer. It takes 5 to 7 impressions for people to remember a brand. So be regular in sharing your content and your story, and be present in the channels where your audience is.

Over time, your brand will build a certain perception and impression in the minds of your audience, and eventually gain their trust.

Get the full brand storytelling guide with worksheets and templates to develop your unique and powerful brand story.

Brand Story Step by Step Guide Final

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FAQ

As mentioned earlier, people buy based on emotions, not always logic. So your product/ service, however unique, is not enough.

Especially if you are a small business with not a lot of brand awareness or marketing/ advertising budget, it is your brand story that will help your audience connect to you, buy from you, and even refer you to others.

Every business has a brand story. It can be as simple as the solutions you offer through your business and why you delved into this particular business.

Why didn’t you choose some other business? What made you feel you have the skills to start this particular one? Where did you learn those skills?

If you are still not sure about your brand story, let’s talk about it!

Book a free consultation with me and we’ll figure it out together 🙂

A product story is only a small part of a brand story.

A product story should include the benefits that the product offers to your audience for solving a problem that they have.

A brand story includes all the solutions your business offers, and includes your mission, your purpose, history, and personality.

You can check out tools like Jasper and Voluion, to create your story or about us page.

But in my experience, they are not able to capture the authenticity and true value of your brand story.

My strong recommendation would be to give your story some thought, grab your laptop, and start writing!

You can fine-tune it over time as you get more clarity.

Anyone can tell a story, even a brand story.
Imagine you are explaining your reasons for starting a business and for what you offer through that business to a 5-year old.
A child will ask you questions like: What do you do? Why?
Your brand story and narrartive can also follow this type of brand story framework.
If you get stuck, you can always schedule a free consultation with me to get some helpful tips.

Get a FREE Consultation to boost your Branding/ Website/ SEO Content​

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  • Strengthen your brand story
  • Rank your website higher in Google
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Danielle
1 year ago

I absolutely love this! So incredibly helpful!

John
9 months ago

This is Gold!!! I have not come across a better article than this one on this particular topic. Thanks for being so descriptive on each point Poulomi 🙂

Ryan Biddulph
6 months ago

Poulomi this is an inspired guide. Being consistent goes a long way in building a solid, well-known brand. For me, keeping at the basics of publishing blogging content to solve reader problems along with building strong relationships allows my brand to be seen, and my story to be heard.

Ryan

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