How To Create & Tell A Highly Effective Brand Story

October 9, 2018

Consumers now have more control in the market when it comes to making purchasing decisions than ever before. This means that they are aware they have an array of options that are available to them, and know that there is no pressure for them to make a decision.

If you have any doubt about this, just think about it real quick. What do you do when you want to find something out? You type it in Google. From there, you probably read 10 articles, get a grip on what it is about, ask a few more questions, and within 30 minutes you have all of the information necessary to make a purchasing decision, if that is the final outcome you are looking for.

During that time, you have had no loyalty to almost any of the sources you have found. You probably ignored 10 YouTube ads, and your Ad Blocker probably saved your browser from being slowed by countless banner ads on the pages you visited. The only lasting impression that they can hope to make on you is one that is different, one that is personal.

This is where content marketing comes in to help develop brand stories. While it might sound a bit corny, at the end of the day, consumers are in control.

By trying to sell them something within the first 30 seconds of the first interaction with them, you can make an audience feel alienating, or annoying them. Worst of all, not explaining who you are, what your brand stands for, and pushing leads through your sales funnel.

Enter Brand Stories.

how to build an effective brand story

Why Building Your Brand Story Is So Important

1. Interruption Marketing No Longer Works

Consumers have become increasingly resistant to interruption marketing, the paradigm in which brands interrupt consumers to sell, sell, sell.

They don’t want to be treated as a faceless dollar bill, and they don’t want to feel preyed upon by corporate interests. But the traditional dynamic, which is inherently a one-way conversation, has made them feel this way.

Unsurprisingly, the Edelman Brandshare survey found that the majority of consumers are suspicious of brands’ intentions.

To build a better dynamic with consumers, brands need to actively cultivate relationships. This is why sharing your brand story is so vital. It’s a friendly introduction, a way to build a relationship beyond a blanket media buy.

2. Brand Stories Build Trust And Awareness

Your brand story tells your audience who you are, why you want to help them, and why they would enjoy working with you, helping you make an authentic, genuine connection at every stage of the buyer’s journey.

Letting your audience behind the curtain also helps you demonstrate both confidence and vulnerability, which makes audiences more eager to trust you and accept your expertise.

Content marketing is one of the best ways to tell your brand story. But many marketers are confused about what that actually means. 

3. Brand Stories Are Comprehensive Images Of Your Company

In some ways, it can be hard to quantify a brand story because it is not one single thing, wrapped up in your website’s About page. To your audience, your brand story is both tangible and intangible, formed by the sum total of their interactions with your brand.

It’s in everything they see, read, hear, touch, experience (sometimes even taste) when they encounter your brand. It’s your website UX, the way you banter with them on Twitter, the way your customer service reps answer the phone. Your brand story is a powerful entity that functions as a conduit between you and your audience.

By creating recognition and trust with your brand, you are able to change the way that prospective clients interact with your content, and ultimately convert more as a result.

4. Content Marketing Allows For Permission Marketing 

Consumers are not inherently opposed to brand communication, but they don’t want interruption. They crave engagement marketing, a dynamic in which the brand-consumer relationship is built on trust, mutual respect, and common interests. They want to connect and interact with brands, to be acknowledged as unique individuals.

Permission marketing focuses less on interruption through a sales based approach. This allows for your content to be inviting to people who you are targeting, and only attract those who are interested. This helps to maximize your content marketing ROI.

Brand stories help you come up with the right ideas, engage with your audience’s buyer personas, which detail exactly who your audience segments are, their pain points and struggles, and how you can help address them.

how to build a brand efficiently

What Do You Need to Develop an Effective Brand Story? 

The typical story has the following elements:

  • Introduction, to set the stage
  • Rising action, to get things going
  • Conflict, to stir up emotion and engage a reader’s suspense
  • Climax, to make it really exciting
  • Falling action, to get things settled down
  • Resolution, so everyone can live happily ever after

This model of storytelling is genius, even for a business.

Your business builds a story at every point in its existence.

Your origins — people love stories of origins — are a powerful way of shaping your story.

The challenges are part of what humanize your brand and engage your audience.

Your losses are what endear your customers and inspire your fans.

Your testimonials are what validate your claims and attract new buyers.

A brand story helps you to turn your journey into the same sales cycle that your buyer personas go through in your marketing campaigns.

By developing a brand story that introduces them to your brand, what your do, your strategies, your experiences, et cetera, you are guiding leads through the marketing funnel without them even knowing.

Now that you understand what it takes to develop a brand story, let’s take a look at how to make a brand story.

guide to building a brand story

How To Tell The Story Of Your Brand

1. Questions to Answer 

When Creating a Brand Story, you want to try and answer these 5 basic questions:

  • Who you are: How your company came to exist, as well as your vision, mission, values, and culture.
  • What you do: The product or service you provide.
  • Who you do it for: The people you want to help.
  • Why you do it: Your larger goal; not just what product/service you provide but how that benefits your customer (e.g., your app helps book vacations so that your customer can truly relax).
  • How you do it: Visibility into your product, production, or process.
  • Where you are headed: How you are evolving and working to create the best product/service for your customers.

2. Plan, Research and Strategize

Now here’s the part that many marketers hate to acknowledge: You don’t have total control over your brand story. Your story is part what you communicate and part how your consumer perceives what you communicate.

While that may be frustrating, it’s important to take control of the part of the story you can communicate it. With no brand story, your customers can write their own narrative—or worse, disregard you entirely.

Every good marketer will tell you that you need to have a distinguished persona, a value proposition, an understanding of your customer’s needs, and a process of selling.

This means that a large portion of the time, research is the most important part of developing a brand story. The other part is being original and authentic.

3. Be Authentic

The main goals of developing a brand story are to establish trust in your brand and appeal to your audience in a positive way.

The best way to build trust is to be authentic. Too many brands see something that works for someone else and try to make it their own. While imitation is the greatest form of flattery, you can’t fake your brand story any more than you could fake your true intentions, or who you are.

Being authentic is something you cannot quantify, but it still contributes to the quality of a brand story. The best ways to create a brand story that is authentic are to: 

  • Go back to your roots
  • Describe what fuels you
  • Relate to your audience’s main pain points
  • Show your face and be proud of what you have accomplished
  • Use real examples in your content

Your brand story tells your audience who you are, why you want to help them, and why they would enjoy working with you, helping you make an authentic, genuine connection at every stage of the buyer’s journey.

4. Present it in the Right Format

The most important goal for every piece of content is to communicate your brand story as efficiently and effectively as possible. Therefore, choosing the right format is vital. You might get caught up in trying to produce the flashiest, trendiest types of content, but this is a disservice to your audience.

To build a better dynamic with consumers, brands need to actively cultivate relationships. This is why sharing your brand story is so vital. It’s a friendly introduction, a way to build a relationship beyond a blanket media buy.

Your brand personality and culture are what makes your brand unique. This should be reflected in your brand story through a strong (and human!) brand voice.

5. Do Not Force Your Brand Story Development, Let It Evolve Naturally

You want to try and tell your brand story through all of your efforts, but make it feel seamless. To do this, you cannot try to force your brand story, but tell it as it evolves.

Some of your video and blog content should focus on strictly telling parts of your story, but for the most part, your brand story should be consistently evolving with your audience and industry.

This is why using multiple types of content is important in content marketing. We talk more about ways to transform your content in our Content Repurposing Guide.

how to tell the story of your brand

4 Tips For Creating The Best Brand Stories 

These quick tips will help you creat your brand story in an effective way.

1. Constantly Document Your Story 

You do not have to be someone who has a video camera following you 24/7, but you can always record ad document your brand story as it develops.

Some great ideas for brand story development include: 

  • Document new projects
  • Talk about recent successes
  • Go over what you recently learned
  • Talk about developments and research
  • Walk people through their problems
  • Talk more about how you got through hard times
  • Many, many more…

Basically, anything that you feel was an integral part of your business developing into what it is today – log it. Even if you only scribble it on a list somewhere and keep it, or you take a quick 1 minute video reaction. Anything to keep it fresh and on the table for future development of your brand story.

2. Relate to the People in Your Audience 

At the end of the day, the reason that content marketing is so effective is because it aims to provide people in your audience with exactly what they are looking for.

You want to relate to the people in your audience with your content, which will each tell a piece of your brand story.

One thing that helps you relate to your audience even more with your brand story is developing a set of buyer personas for your target audience. 

Check out this comprehensive guide we created to help you make effective buyer personas for your marketing campaigns.

3. Be Informative and Provide Value 

This is another obvious, but essential tip for creating an effective brand story. There is no substitute for quality content.

You must absolutely have informative content that provides value to tell an effective brand story. Otherwise, you can tell all the stories you want, but they will never help you to build your brand and establish trust.

The best way to provide value is to understand your audience. This can be done by making buyer personas as describe above, but also through proper research.

In order to provide value through your content, you will want to understand how to: 

Many other factors going into making an effective brand story, but reading more on these subjects are a great place to start. Click the links in the list above to learn more. 

4. Use Data to Reinforce Your Points 

Nothing backs up your claims than data. Prospective buyers will want to know:

  • How many people have used your solution?
  • What results have they seen?
  • How can you help me with similar problems?
  • What does it cost to implement your solution?
  • When will I see results?
  • How do you compare to the other options?
  • Why should I trust your brand?

There are many other questions people will likely have throughout the marketing funnel. Thinking of these questions and objections allows you to put them into your brand story.

This allows you to answer questions without your audience having to ask them, which gives them a sense of trust due to your transparency. This builds your brand story in a positive way without your audience even knowing.

3 Successful Brand Story Examples 

While there are hundreds of examples of great brand stories that are effective, these are some of the ones that stuck out to us most over the last few years for a few different reasons.

examples of effective brand stories gary vee

1. Gary Vee

If you have not already heard of Gary Vaynerchuck – or Gary Vee – you should seriously check out his channel. He runs a media company called VaynerMedia.

Gary is one of the people we at PoofNewSales look up to most when it comes to dominating the online marketing space.

Put simply, the man knows how to build brands.

How does he do it? 

Through brand stories of course! Well, we would be lying if we told you that this was the only way Gary Vee built brands, but telling a brand story has made a huge difference for his brand and the people he works for.

In fact, we think Gary has one of, if not the best content marketing strategies on the web, because he is always trying new things, and un-apologetically himself.

Because Gary is so authentic, this is why he is so successful. His willingness to try new things with building brands has allowed him to find what works and then build on it.

What Gary Vee does well:

  • Addresses the problems and needs of his audience
  • Gives away a ton of value for free
  • Focuses his time as CEO on marketing efforts for his firm
  • Retargets his audience
  • Focuses on unique strengths when it comes to marketing
  • Niches down companies and service offerings
  • Uses many different media channels to reach his audience

If you can begin to apply some of these techniques with your content, it will help you to build your brand much more effectively.

examples of effective brand stories policygenius

2. PolicyGenius

Life insurance is boring. On top of that, it is hard to find, and annoying to try and get quotes.

Put simply, it is something everyone needs, but no one wants to take the time to learn about or think about. It’s like doing taxes.

One of the main reasons that PolicyGenius was able to succeed in such a highly competitive market where CPC can be as high as $50 was through developing a brand story through content, and building their organic search traffic alongside their paid search traffic.

When competing against companies that have literally billions of dollars, and have been around for over 100 years, like Northwestern Mutual and Prudential, PolicyGenius was able to rank higher and convert more on keyword searches like “life insurance quotes”.

In just less than a year, PolicyGenius was able to secure over $100M in funding and then use it to rank on the top page of Google for hundreds of terms involving life insurance that lead to real revenue. Sure, the funding helped, but the ideas at play remain the same.

How did they do it? Quality content, relevance, and understanding their target audience. All essential parts of building a brand.

In telling their brand story, PolicyGenius succeeds at: 

  • Understanding their clients needs and wants
  • Solving their clients main problems
  • Getting into the eyes of their target audience
  • Creating high quality blog content that drives traffic
  • Converting their traffic into leads
  • Retargeting people who have visited their site

examples of brand stories hostgator

3. HostGator

HostGator is another example of a company that has succeeded at creating a brand story in an industry that is both highly competitive and boring – Domain Hosting.

While most individuals will never own a domain, the fact is that there are more hosted domains than there are humans on Earth. Someone has to host these domains.

The competition is steep, and the differentiating factors between competitors is very few and far between. As a result, HostGator had to build a brand story in order to stand out to their audience.

Their solution? Video campaigns on both YouTube and Facebook to establish brand recognition and trust.

How did they do it? HostGator made videos that inserted their audience into their brand story. Focusing on funny, strange ideas that people would have, and showing how they can instantly help your dream become a reality.

That is a pretty smart way to turn something as boring as domain hosting into a real, tangible representation of their service to people in their audience.

What did HostGator do well with their brand story?

  • Were creative enough to make a boring industry interesting
  • Found a way to make their service appeal to a large audience effetively
  • Kept their ads short, sweet, and to the point
  • Brought their service to life through a story

If you have time, be sure to check out these examples of brand stories in order to learn more about how you can tell the story of your brand. They should be inspiration for some of your own creative ideas.

Wrapping It All Up – Developing Great Brand Stories 

It comes down to having a content strategy. You can only tell your story by publishing content. We’re now in the realm of content marketing, but with a spin — we’re doing content marketing with the strategy of a storyteller.

Everywhere you publish — YouTube, your blog, Slideshare, wherever — use the elements of story to communicate whatever it is you want to communicate.

What do you communicate? You share events and experiences from your business. For example, maybe you’re a web design firm, and you want to publish a blog post about launching a new website.

Sometimes, it takes a little bit of extra help to find the right inspiration, and get the gears turning. That’s what we are here for. The Poofnewsales team is happy to give free consultations for brand story development and free content marketing analyses as well!

Give us a call, or contact us via email in order to work together on a brands story that effectively communicates your values and goals to your audience.

poofnewsales content marketing free consultation

3 thoughts on “How To Create & Tell A Highly Effective Brand Story

    1. Awesome! Thanks for visiting Tori. Hope to see you again shortly. Be sure to subscribe to our email newsletter to get updates when we create new content.

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