How to Create a Powerful Brand Story that Sticks
When considering where to seek brand advice, it's beneficial to learn from memorable professionals who have cultivated their own compelling stories with their companies. Gary Vaynerchuck, for example, is an expert and New York Times Best Selling author.
In a recent book, he discussed a few of his top tips for startups. Vaynerchuck stresses the importance of storytelling, “Quality storytelling always wins. It’s not about pushing advertising. It’s about bringing value.”
What does that look like you may ask? Entrepreneurs, brand ambassadors, and advertisers are constantly asking this question in search of how to create a memorable story. It's easy to consider what it takes to sell a story, but how do you stand out, and what makes that story memorable?
- Know the specific needs of your individual audience
Companies start from a specific drive to help others address an issue and identify what needs to change. Harry’s, an e-commerce company that carries men’s grooming tools. Upon launching, the company had to be strategic because it was coming into a niche market with other internationally trusted brands like Gillette.
The company began because the founder felt he was paying too much for razors in stores. While there were several product angles he could have taken after realizing this issue. Being someone who felt it was unnecessary to pay high dollar for new blades, he decided to create a new style of blade that stands out in price. Harry’s is known for taking on selling $2 high-quality blades.
This message worked the founder decided to appeal to the audience of men who agreed they were paying too much to shave.
Companies often make the mistake of taking a generic approach with their marketing. Startups are constantly claiming to have the “new, high quality” product. These are the brands that get among their larger and more well known competitors.
This all worked due to the specific communications and expertise brought forward.
2. Become the Best Communicator for YOUR Specific Audience.
The brands that stand out in a crowd are the ones that can not only cater to the needs of an audience, can also communicate effectively with their audiences. One essential key to storytelling is identifying the message at hand.
What are you trying to share with your audience? What about YOUR brand makes you different? A long, boring bio on an about page on a company’s website likely isn’t going to change a person’s likelihood of buying a product.
In order to find and identify what your company’s unique message is, you need to know your product or service inside and out and then find the best way to share that message. If a diaper company’s mission is to appeal to young families, investing in Facebook marketing is more useful than it would be for a company that creates products for seniors.
Ultimately marketers need to ask themselves, What is our product? Who are they for? What makes this specific product or service different? Where are they made? Why and when you should buy them.
Favor Delivery, a delivery app based out of Texas, is an excellent example of this. Favor’s homepage features eye-catching images that briefly explain how the app works and what you can have delivered with specific examples. It discusses how a consumer can use the app for “a quick errand from Target or a Whataburger run.” It manages to briefly explain to a potential customer what it is and how it can benefit them.
Another great way to help get this message across is by telling a unique story about the beginning of the business. Where did the idea for your brand begin? Nike began in 1964 by Phil Knight and his coach Bill Bowerman, who is rumored to have initially discovered a way to make running shoes lighter by using a waffle iron.
Telling customers who you are and how you came to be, allows for a stronger connection than just a generic bio.
3. Create an audience that cares
These days social media and online marketing are vital to improving a brand’s image and public awareness. Social media is not only a way for customers to connect with companies but a way to cultivate a community.
You can share common interests and communicate your company’s values through an Instagram feed. You can share events and information about possible sales on Facebook and Twitter. You can post videos about your company’s product in greater detail on YouTube. It’s all relative, but companies who choose to actively engage with their customers stand out because it creates a more personal connection.
For example, Columbia Sportswear is a sports and outdoor clothing company that shares images of customers camping in beautiful spots all over the United States. This is because Columbia aims to attract an audience of people who enjoy being outside and can benefit from its products.
Ipsy, a makeup subscription service shares images of creative makeup looks done by artists and subscribers. This not only promotes having creative and innovative values but allows for potential subscribers to see how the products in an Ipsy subscription box can be used.
These companies have found a common ground that allows for a closer relationship and helps display a certain kind of lifestyle that draws users in.
When you engage with followers on social media, you’re more likely to stand out. Consider looking into the brands you love on social media and see what sticks. What do their images look like? Are their videos worth watching?
A company’s image online can make or break a customer’s decision. People tend to google reviews before committing, so having online platforms that accurately reflect your brand can help create a more positive experience for customers.
If you’ve started to consider what makes your brand unique, start crafting your story online. While it can feel frustrating to appeal to your specific target audience at times, understand that customers will only understand a well explained and communicated brand. Nobody understands your company’s vision the way you do. Share what made you create your business and why it began. Ultimately, a compelling and interesting story is the only way to separate yourself.
About the Author
Krishen Iyer is the Founder and CEO of Managed Benefits Services, a marketing company that provides lead generation, consulting and online marketing services for health and dental insurance companies and professionals.
He achieved a degree in Public Administration from San Diego State University and has been using his entrepreneurial skills since starting his first business in college.
Before his time at MBS, Iyer was the CEO of Name My Premium Insurance from 2009 until 2015. The company won a spot on the Inc 5000 list in 2015.
Iyer is based out of Carlsbad, California and also invests in real estate and stock equity in his free time.