Brand storytelling is hard.
Sure, we’re all aware of the benefits a solid brand story can bring: reader engagement, a deeper connection with your target audience, recognition in your industry, etc.
But even so, the actual process of starting a brand story is a difficult task.
You open up a new Word doc, set yourself down to the blank screen, and try to start typing…
…But you can’t. Try as you might, the ideas won’t flow. You can’t think of a single thing that sets your business apart from the many others in your crowded niche.
An hour later, you’re tired, totally discouraged, and half your hair has been pulled out. You file away brand storying for “another time,” but another time never comes because you’ve already convinced yourself that your brand doesn’t have a story worth telling.
But you’re wrong. Get this: every business has the potential for a great brand story deep down. Every, single, one.
Sometimes, it just takes a little bit of digging to uncover.
Every business has the potential for a great brand story deep down
The best way to kickstart brand storying is to begin documenting basic information about your brand’s history, ambitions, and goals.
In this post, we’ll discuss three questions you can ask yourself to help you to start thinking about and collecting this sort of information.
1. What purpose does your brand serve?
The first and foremost question you should be asking yourself is what purpose your brand serves.
Every business in the world is centered around resolving a problem. That’s really the only reason why customers part with their hard-earned money: to get a solution to a problem they have.
To truly understand how your brand serves customers, boil away all of the non-essential features—the bells and whistles—and distill your product/service down to its most core form. Then, ask yourself how it helps people.
The answer to this question will become the center of your brand’s story.
2. How has your brand helped customers in the past?
The second question you can use to develop your brand story deals with narrating the positive experiences real customers have had with your business in the past.
The answer to this question goes far beyond your average case study or customer testimonial; this is more than some data, a couple quotes, and an formal report.
Instead, this is a very personal, very exclusive, detailed description of how you made somebody’s life better with your product.
Off the top of your head, try listing some of your business’s most ardent supporters (you should be able to tell them by their contact with your customer service, the amount of engagement they show on your social media and blog, and if/how they spread word about your business and bring in referrals).
Once you’re done brainstorming, you can start getting in touch with the people on your list to see if they’d be interested in getting a feature in your brand story.
Remember: you only want to incorporate customer experiences that have real significance to your business. These customers should be people with whom your brand has grown, and to whom you’ve delivered outstanding service.
3. How did you get where you are today, and how do you plan to move forward?
This is where you get to talk about your history and your future. Think about how your business got started, how it launched, and how you plan to keep it moving in the right direction.
Recall some of the most defining experiences you’ve gone through. Perhaps you had a retreat at one point that allowed your team to really come together as a focused unit. Maybe there was one unhappy customer who one day showed you how to improve your service, and your business took off from there. Whatever it is, use it in your brand storytelling.
Groove is one business that uses this question extremely well. At the Groove blog, Alex Turnbull (CEO and founder) is sharing the company’s journey to their ultimate goal of $500K in revenue per month.
Because of the way Groove presents their story—Alex provides frequent insight about their progress towards their goal, as well as the lessons they’ve been learning along the way—the reader feels an instant connection with the brand.
As an avid follower of the blog, I’m attracted to their brand because of their transparency and the way they make readers feel involved in their story. If I’m ever in the market for their product, it’d be hard for someone to convince me to even consider anything else.
That should be your ultimate ambition of brand storytelling: to create a deep, long-lasting connection that they will stay with your readers and buyers.
For some businesses, their brand story will be obvious. For others, you’ll have to dig a little deeper. For both, the story is invaluable. By using these questions to kickstart your brand story, you’ll be well on your way to better customer engagement and a more emotional, earnest relationship with your audience.