A compelling brand story is now seen as an essential element for all brands, both large and small.
First of all, what is a brand story? It’s not a narrative that you read out in a presentation, and it’s not the copy written about your brand on your website or the text in your product brochure. It’s what people say about your brand when you’re not in the room. In the current, fast-moving climate a well-crafted brand story is key to any brand’s success, and it should be managed carefully.
A brand story is an experience that you want your brand to communicate. It’s the bigger picture that you create of your brand from your communication of its purpose, key messages and values, the look and feel that you’ve set up with a design, and the way your staff communicate with your target audience.
Every aspect that people see, touch and interact with is interpreted in a particular way and builds their impression of your brand.
Individuals then share this, either face to face or online in reviews and it becomes part of the general interpretation of what people feel about your brand, your brand’s story.
A compelling and well-created brand story builds trust and value, the top brands in this day and age have thought-out, crafted brand stories; nothing is by accident – they’ve worked with a professional branding agency.
Apple has created a mega-brand that is known for quality and world-changing innovation – from its TV advertising right down to its packaging; the Apple story remains genuine and consistent across everything (and they’ve got the marketing budget to make that happen).
Smaller brands such as Joe Wick’s ‘The Body Coach’ can also leverage the brand story to achieve success. His brand story is that it’s just him – one very passionate guy on a mission to make Britain healthy.
In reality, he has a team of 50 people to help manage and maintain the brand, his online personality created the brand story, allowing him to go on to produce three best-selling books in a very short space of time. He also has a very robust social media presence with 1.7m followers on Instagram. They’ve done this in just two years, building a brand that people love, trust and believe in.
A few years ago this type of brand would never have happened so quickly without having millions to spend on traditional advertising and PR, but now having a strong brand identity, a clear sense of who you are, a consistent message and quality and marketable product, social media campaigns are an amazing leveller and the small brands can quickly get off the ground and compete with the big boys, it’s all about that brand story though.
So, what do you need to do?
Don’t leave anything to chance.
Plan. Plan. Plan. Don’t think “We’ll sort that bit when we come to it” Consider everything, what do you want people to think or say about your brand when you’re not there to control it. Where do you want your brand to go? Do you want people to love and engage with it? Thinking about this doesn’t mean that you should procrastinate, get cracking and put all of your energy into it.
Authenticity is key.
Whatever your message is, make sure it’s honest and believable. The more authentic and real the better, take Joe Wicks again, he may have that team behind him, but every social media post is as “real” and honest as the last and people love that, they engage with it and want to find out more.
Be consistent. People like that.
If you’re looking to build trust, and you need to, then your message has to be clear and coherent. Don’t change tack if it feels something isn’t working, do your homework beforehand and ensure that what you’re saying and offering is something that people want to hear and buy, if so, get out there and start banging that drum.
Be original; do something different.
Have something unique to say and offer, never look at an existing and successful brand.
Think “I can do that”; be original, think differently, and people will trust and engage with you, rather than perceiving you as a ‘me-too’ brand, just engaging with you for the wrong reasons – there’s no brand loyalty or longevity in that.
Get a different perspective.
Often you can be too close to something and be blinkered. It’s best to bounce ideas off other people. If it’s just you, get hold of friends, family, and other people you trust and see how they feel about your direction.
Better still, speak to a professional; Toast can help you.
If you’re looking to create a new brand and need help defining its’ brand story is, get in touch. Part of our story is how we’ve helped other brands succeed.
If you have an existing brand that needs a different perspective, we provide brand workshops. We’ll help you redefine your brand story and get you back to the real essence of what your brand is.
I’m the creative director at Toast, I look after our client’s design assets to ensure that everything we create for them looks how it should, works hard and is effective. I’m also involved in brand strategy and brand creation and I love getting involved with a brand as early as possible to bring those great ideas from the start. I encourage our designers to develop their skill sets and their craft, from idea generation to sketching before working on the mac.