Your brand’s story is one of the most important stories you could ever tell.
However, some people get confused as to just what is a brand story. Because it’s not the story of how you got started, your background or history.
Does it include those things? Yes!
But it’s more. Much more, actually. It’s also where you are and what you are doing right now.
Most importantly, it’s not really about you.
You might be thinking, ‘what, how is my brand story not about me/my brand?’
And I’m not saying you can’t be in it, but the plot of your story cannot and should not be all about you.
Think back to when you were a kid, you probably connected with the books or stories that you could realistically see yourself as one of the characters – and for one story, you could become that character.
That’s exactly what your customers want too. They want to recognize their character in your story in order to really connect with your brand.
If your brand story is all about why you’re awesome, you’re not even thinking about your customers and the reason you exist: them!
So, while you can weave yourself into the story, ultimately your brand is telling the story of who it is and the value you provide your customers.
First and foremost, you need to flesh out your target audience and what they look like.
Who is the ideal person you are trying to reach and convert into a customer/client?
The more detailed answer you can think up, the better! Think of things like demographics, psychographics, lifestyle, attitudes, values, and behaviors.
If you can, try to picture this person and what their daily life looks like in your mind.
Now, to be clear, this is the main problem you are trying to solve for the customer. I’m sure your ideal customer has many other problems in their life, but your only concern is those that affect you, your product, and your service.
In other words, what problem are you solving for your customer?
This is an important checkpoint to make sure that the “problem” you are solving with your product/service, is actually a problem that your ideal customer has or deals with. If not, you’re wasting your time with your product/service or your audience. Or both!
Last, but not least, look at the problem from the consumer’s point of view – not your own. Frame things in terms they would use or situations they are experiencing rather than ways your brand would describe it.
The simpler you put this problem into words your customer will understand, the easier it’ll be for them to recognize just how you help them and why they need your product/service.
Now that you have identified who your customer is and what their main problem is, you can start to delve more into your brand. In this section, you are showing you care and understand their problem and are becoming their guide to help them through it.
Because ultimately, that’s what your brand is doing! It’s guiding your customer through the solution to the problem(s) they have.
So, first, you want to empathize with your target audience. Show them that you aren’t just trying to push a product or sell a service, but that you actually care about the problems they’re dealing with.
Next, you show how your brand both understands and addresses those problems directly. Doing so, will give your target audience a greater feeling of connection between them and you/your brand.
Why You’re the Expert
Okay, so you know who you’re going after, what problem you’re solving, and the ways in which to frame things so that your customer sees you as an understanding and caring guide to their solution.
Now what? Now, you can start to talk about your brand, your experiences, your expertise, what makes your brand different, etc. in order to frame yourself as the expert in your audience’s mind.
Whereas in the previous section, you wanted to be the guide, now you want to be the authority.
Some ways to do that include telling your background/history if it’s significant, using stats of exactly how you’ve helped people (especially for services), or relaying your certifications or awards that show you’re the expert.
There’s no one right way to tell your audience why you’re the expert. But it’s important, however you choose to do it, that you set yourself apart and explain what makes you different than your competition and how that makes you the authority.
Last, but certainly not least, what do you offer the customer? In other words, what is your product and/or service?
The biggest thing to focus on here is benefits rather than features.
Features are the surface-level statements about your product such as what it can do, dimensions, what’s part of the product/service/package, etc. These can be good to highlight sometimes; however, they’re not going to do as much towards enticing the customer.
Now, benefits, show the end result of what the product/service can actually accomplish for your customers. People are going to understand and connect with how a product/service helps them more than just what that product/service does.
For example, if you’re in construction. You don’t just “build homes or commercial spaces”. I mean you do, but everything that goes into building that space are the features of your offering.
But if you said “we build homes or commercial spaces that are 1) on-time, 2) on-budget, 3) built to spec, and 4) with clear communication the whole time. Now THAT a customer can understand the benefit of choosing your company over someone else.
So, you see, the first two “parts” of the brand story are all about the customer and THEIR problem(s). Then, you can start talking a little bit about yourself—still framing it in a way that provides value to the customer and/or their problem.
Having this framework as your brand’s foundation will help you better tell your brand story.
Where, you ask?
All throughout your marketing: Website, social media, elevator pitch, emails, ads, campaigns, etc.
But you do use this framework to build every marketing activity off of so that you ensure you are reaching your target audience, solving the correct problem(s), and providing the greatest amount of value possible to those people.
That’s how you turn your brand story from a story you tell your customers, into a story your customers tell for you!