Storytelling has been a part of human interaction for millennia. From the ancient time when families gathered around a fire for protection from predators, to the modern gathering of children around a preschool teacher, stories are a way for people to convey ideas and share experiences. The power of the story also works for building brands. Learning how to build a brand story begins with the past and moves forward.
Know Your Brand’s History
Every person who ever started a company had a reason for opening the doors. It could be to sell a product the founder invented. It could be to solve a known consumer problem. The reason could be to fill a particular niche. No matter the reason, the details of who founded the company and why is important for building the brand story.
Another aspect you need to record is why the brand took the direction it did. The founder may have started the company in one direction, but for one reason or another, the brand took its own path. Recording what happened and why is important for moving the brand story forward to the present.
Know Where Your Company Is Going
The next part of how to build a brand story is knowing where the company is going. Every brand needs a plan for future growth. That plan should be a natural outgrowth of the brand’s past and its present trajectory.
The future story is a vision of where the company’s owners want the brand to be in a given time frame. It needs to be well thought out, figuring in potential changes in the market and industry. It needs to integrate the brand’s vision, strategies, and goals.
Know Your Brand’s Values
What does your brand stand for? A brand’s values demonstrates what connects it to the world around it. Defining a brand’s values needs to be more than just stating an idealized version of what the brand should stand for. It should be an authentic statement of what the brand actually stands for.
Ask a customer what your brand stands for. You might be surprised at what you hear. The values that customers perceive may not be the values you want your brand to stand for. You have the power to redefine the perception, but it begins with knowing the values you want it to stand for.
Tell Your Story
Knowing your brand’s history, its future, and its values gives you the building blocks to tell your brand story. Your story needs to be authentic and honest. It should be a succinct statement of where your brand came from, where it is going and what it stands for. The story must demonstrate your company’s purpose. It should invite your audience to be part of the brand’s future.
Learning how to build a brand story is just the first step. You must align every aspect of your company with this story. Consistency demonstrates authenticity, which, in turn, builds trust with your target audience. The story should be an integral part of your website, your marketing, and your advertising. It needs to be part of your internal training for new hires. It needs to be a part of the fabric that makes up your brand.
Dan Gartlan helps companies of all kinds drive their business initiatives and achieve their goals with strategic marketing programs that deliver results. As President of Stevens & Tate Marketing, he has over 20 years experience across various industries, and continues to share his expertise to build brands nationwide.