Brand story is far more than just a cohesive narrative that encompasses the facts about your business development. Brand story is what helps you clearly communicate your feelings, beliefs and values to the outside world. Most importantly, these stories play a crucial role in building customer loyalty and inspiring engagement.
You see, today’s customers not only care about what you have to offer or the quality of your products. They’re also interested in your vision and purpose, and what your business stands for. Simply put, customers want to know the reason why your business exists.
According to research by Headstream:
If people really love a brand story, more than half (55%) are more likely to buy the product in the future, 44% will share the story and 15% will buy the product immediately.
It’s fair to say that brand story makes a powerful tool that inspires customer trust and drives conversion. But what does it take to create an authentic brand story?
1. Give your brand story a backbone
There’s no golden rule to follow when it comes to creating a powerful brand story because every business is unique. However, there’s one thing that every story requires and that is clear structure.
If you analyzed well-known brand stories, you’d quickly notice that most of them have a similar structure that is pretty straightforward:
- Proof of success
To understand this structure better, let’s analyze a real-life example.
KeepCup is an Australian-based company that aims to reduce disposable coffee cup waste. They offer reusable cups that come in a handful of designs.
If you were to break down KeepCup’s story into the previously mentioned structure, this is how it would look (make sure to read their full brand story).
The KeepCup founders grew increasingly concerned about the volume of packaging waste their café business and customers generated daily. As they searched for more sustainable alternatives, they learned that most reusable cups were ugly and unpleasant to hold and drink from.
After four years of research, they created a unique design of reusable cups was introduced to kick-start a behavioral change in Melbourne.
Proof of success
Since 2009, over three million KeepCups have sold. Today these reusable cups are available in 32 countries around the world.
KeepCup believes that “many small acts will make a phenomenal difference” in forming more sustainable user habits, which will also eventually result in a more sustainable tomorrow.
Even though KeepCup’s brand story is lengthy, it’s easy to follow because of the clear structure. Also, notice that their brand story doesn’t quite end with the last sentence. Instead, it suggests a continuation of KeepCup’s story.
Your brand story needs a structure because it helps to create a cohesive picture of your business. Once you have a clear structure in mind, it’s easier to leave out insignificant details and instead concentrate on the important aspects of the story. Also, try to avoid writing your brand story with a defined ending. It’s better to suggest the beginning of something new.
2. Make your customers part of your brand story
Let’s be honest, without people who choose to trust you with their time and money, your brand wouldn’t exist. You can offer the finest quality products, but if nobody buys or talks about them, all your effort will go down the drain.
That’s why the most authentic and successful brands make customers part of their story. You might be wondering why anyone would want to be part of yours. The answer is simple – shared values.
You’ve probably heard about TOMS shoes, even if you don’t own a pair yourself. But just to make sure we’re all on the same page, here’s TOMS brand story in a nutshell.
While traveling in Argentina in 2006, TOMS Founder Blake Mycoskie witnessed the hardships faced by children growing up without shoes. Wanting to help, he created TOMS Shoes, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a new pair of shoes for a child in need. One for One.
You can easily tell that TOMS story is about children, overcoming poverty, and hope. But it’s also about giving back. And if you’ve ever bought a pair of TOMS shoes, their story is also about you. Now, doesn’t it feel good to be a part of something meaningful?
Making customers part of your brand story is yet another way to connect with them, and this connection makes a great foundation for trust and loyalty.
But let’s be fair, not every business can give away half of its production to charity. Luckily, there are other ways to make your audience feel included. For example, you can closely monitor your social media feeds to learn what content your audience generates about your products. Once you find something, ask the author permission to republish permission and then share it with the rest of your followers on your social feed or site, just don’t forget the attribution.
3. Be proud of your brand story
Not every visitor will hit that “Our Story” button on your website to learn what your business stands for. In fact, if that page is the only place where your brand story comes into the picture, you’re in trouble.
Your brand story should run through every step your customer takes while interacting with your brand. And that means that you need to communicate your core brand values through product descriptions, marketing and advertising copy, visual material, public announcements, you name it.
Skincare and makeup brand Glossier inspires their customers to enhance and celebrate their natural beauty rather than try to conceal it.
Even if you’re not familiar with Glossier’s story, you can easily grasp what they believe in by surfing their website. Take a look at a couple of Glossier product descriptions to learn it yourself:
What won’t it do? Hide your freckles, spackle your pores, or erase any other evidence that you are, in fact, a real human being.
They’re lipsticks that adapt to you, not the other way around, so they’ll appear a bit different on everyone as your natural lip color shows through.
Every brand story is unique, including yours, so be proud of it. Share your vision and purpose with your audience at every stage of their journey with you.
4. Create a brand story that builds a community
Human beings are social creatures that need a sense of belonging. Believe me when I say that your brand, with its unique story and beliefs, can create a sense of belonging for customers who resonate with it. In fact, that’s how brand communities are born.
Swedish company Fjällräven specializes in outdoor equipment – mostly clothing and rucksacks. Naturally, their brand story is built around adventures out in the fresh air.
Fjällräven’s brand story has a clear structure and is proudly communicated through different mediums. But there’s one more thing Fjällräven does that makes their story special – it unites like-minded people.
Fjällräven features astonishing nature pictures on their Instagram account.
Every other post (just like the one above) is a contribution from one of Fjällräven’s followers, who shares their story with the entire community of outdoor adventure lovers.
Sharing a breathtaking picture is not the only way you can be part of the community. Fjällräven also organizes hikes, seminars, and outdoor schools for anyone who’s interested in meeting fellow adventurers. So whether it’s in cyberspace or out in nature, Fjällräven creates a unique opportunity for its customers and followers to be part of a global community of explorers.
Brand community members tend to be more eager to engage with the brand. They also often become your best promoters. But most importantly, they can help your business grow by pointing out where you can improve.
5. Showcase the human side of your brand
A powerful brand story doesn’t necessarily have to make you laugh or shed a tear. It just has to be authentic and honest. Most importantly, it has to be human.
You could probably agree that your favorite brands are not the ones you view as corporate machines or objects without a personality, but rather the brands that show their human side.
Don’t hesitate to give your brand a face. Share behind-the-scenes content, host short employee interviews, or showcase your sense of humor.
Here at Printful, we do a little bit of everything. Even though we have a page where everyone can read our story, we prefer communicating values and beliefs directly to our audience through engaging content.
For instance, before we launched our cut & sew t-shirts, we asked a couple of our teammates to test the first samples. Here’s how it went:
We also like to share snippets of life at our office and fulfillment centers.
Giving a human side to Printful lets us make a stronger emotional connection with our audience. When it comes to brand storytelling, we try to remember one simple thing: people are more eager to engage with other people, not brands.
Brand storytelling lets you connect with your audience through shared values. It’s also one the most powerful ways to breathe life into your brand.
By giving your products a unique identity through storytelling, you’re building a bridge between your brand and your audience. So speak loud and proud about your core values, beliefs, and mission. Be honest, real, and transparent – people appreciate that.
When Giedre isn’t crafting compelling content about all things marketing, you can find her re-reading H. Murakami novels or packing up a suitcase for another weekend getaway.