A narrative is a story, or a spoken or written account of events. Building a brand narrative is the cornerstone of your brand strategy, built on information about your mission and values, your backstory and the results you want to achieve. It’s based on 5 primary elements, which are:
- Brand truths, or the high-level facts about your brand that are important.
- The brand promise, or your overall purpose for existing. (The “why”)
- Brand storytelling, which paints a picture of how (and why) you deliver on your promise.
- Emotional impact, or the ways your brand strives to make people think and feel. Think of your brand tagline. How well does it work?
- External expression, or the channels you use to tell your story and the reasons for choosing them.
A strong brand narrative helps you to create customer experiences that change the way your clients feel about your brand. It enables you to operate from a position of strength in the market. You can establish stronger and harder-to-break bonds with your customers, prospects, and employees, and pull your company ahead of its closest competitors.
How to Create a Powerful Brand Narrative
Storytelling is big right now, as more brands begin to understand the power of stories to deliver their message and build connections with their audience. Famous brands such as Disney and Coca-Cola have known for a long time that stories are an important tool in human communication. Research shows our brains respond deeply to descriptive narratives, as we feel the experience and begin to relate to the subject.
When you’re building a brand narrative, you need to start by:
Identifying the “Why”
It’s important to have a reason to do what you do (other than to make money, of course)! Ask some of these questions and think deeply to determine the answers to them:
- Why do we exist?
- How do we contribute to the world?
- What’s our mission?
- What motivated me to start my business?
- What do we believe about our industry, clients, products, etc?
Try to remember what your reason was for getting into your industry in the first place. Why did you care? What were you passionate about? What was the “market gap” you saw that led to the formation of your company? The story doesn’t have to be ground-breaking, it just needs to be clear, so you can find a way to tell it to the people it will resonate with.
Understand Your Product
To figure out your brand story, you also need to understand how your product fits into your reasons for starting the business. The lack of self-awareness in products is one of the main mistakes companies make when building brand narratives. For example, you wouldn’t sell a Mercedes using the same tactics that you’d use to sell a Toyota. They might both be cars, but they have different qualities, performance levels, customer expectations, and price points.
Answer these questions to figure out what you need to know about the product:
- What’s the quality and price point of my product?
- Does my product solve a problem, or should it make a consumer feel a certain way?
- How is my product different from competitors’ products?
Once you know the answers to this, you can move on to understanding your audience so you can tie these aspects together and understand how to market what you do to the right people.
Discover Your Audience
To understand how to build your brand narrative, you need to know who you’re talking to. Understanding their passions and pain points can help you determine how your brand fits into their lives.
Identify who your current customers are, and compare them with your ideal client profile. Then develop your brand story to reach the ideal customers. One big mistake we see companies doing over and over again is to choose too broad an audience, because they believe their product is viable for so many people.
Remember, you can sell to whoever will buy from you. Your marketing, however, should target the customers you really believe are perfect for you. That way, you’ll build a stronger brand and target a more specific audience, and even when you happen to reach other clients, you’ll look like an expert in your field.
How to Get Started Telling Your Brand Story
To be effective, your brand story needs to be woven into everything you do. That might not happen overnight, but just getting started will give you direction for the future. Look for the challenge in the story. Start with the status quo, then go on to identify your customers’ pain points? Why do they need your product or service in their lives? All brand stories have a challenge, a plot, and a resolution, according to Hubspot. For example, here’s what our brand story looks like, at a glance:
- Status Quo: As a marketing agency, we want to help companies achieve better success through increased sales and revenue.
- Challenge: Many members of our target audience are companies that aren’t big enough to have qualified, full-time marketing staff. Either the owners or management are trying to handle the marketing themselves. They have no real understanding of the way branding works, they buy advertising placements in random channels, and they send out email blasts to unsegmented lists without having a coherent strategy. As a result, their marketing efforts are costly, ROI is minimal, and the management team is overwhelmed.
- Resolution: We help companies channel their efforts into marketing that delivers results, while educating them on the fundamentals of branding. We help clients to unlock the value of marketing agency services by building and maintaining strong company brands that achieve success, without spending more than they can afford.
Case studies, white papers, blog posts, and even your web pages are ideal avenues for telling your brand story. Don’t just list what your product does. Start with why customers need it, what it can do for them, and how it will improve their lives. Tell them your story, and capture their interest.
For more information about building a brand narrative for your company, please contact us at 919.460.7978.