One of the biggest assets we have as marketers is the expertise and the messages within our own business.
When seeking to attract an audience to our brand, we must have something of worth to say to them. Whether you’re writing for your website, crafting a guest post for an external site or even creating an offline campaign such as a leaflet or a newspaper ad, it’s essential to the success of that campaign that what you’re saying is going to appeal to your target market.
What is a brand story?
A brand story is a value or an experience or a message that is important to your brand and appealing to your target audience. It’s what you’d tell someone if they asked ‘what differentiates you from your competitors?’.
Brand stories should be known across your company. They should underpin everything you say and your actions should exemplify your brand stories.
Examples of brand stories
To give you some examples, here are Impression’s brand stories:
1) We are experts in what we do, at the forefront of our field
This is really important to us. Our identity is built around the expertise of the people in our business and as such we want to exemplify this in all we do. So we write blog posts and guides, are featured around the web sharing advice and tips, host events and training sessions to share our knowledge. We showcase our expertise and deliver it to our clients in the work we do. We also develop and build our own tools and share these with our clients and others around the web, enabling us to push the boundaries of what is possible and lead in our field.
2) We are technical marketers with creative minds
Our work is about delivering to a technically excellent standard, but we also have a creative side when it comes to content marketing campaigns, design of websites and so on. Our work is showcased in design portfolios around the web and we are also recognised for our technical, data driven approach.
3) We are a young, vibrant team, who avoid jargon and are fun to work with
Cheesy as it may sound, we are genuinely proud of, and work hard on, our working environment. Sitting in front of a computer constantly for 8 hours a day doesn’t really encourage collaboration and creativity, so our workspace and our approach encourage our team to take time away from our desks to share ideas or simply take 5 for a game of table tennis. You’ll spot our social updates across social media, and photos of our workspace across our website to exemplify this. Our clients enjoy working with us.
How to come up with your own brand stories
It’s highly likely you already know your brand stories. What do you tell people when they ask about your company? How do you differ from your competitors and what do you offer your customers that no one else can?
Ask these questions of yourself and of your teams. The marketing team will likely have different ideas to the sales team, which may differ from the customer services team, which could all differ from the Board or business owner.
This works really well in a workshop format, where you gather as many people as you can for an hour or two to discuss your brand stories, based on what they believe about the business, what they talk about with your customers and the questions your customers ask.
After every response you hear, ask the person ‘and how does that benefit our customer?’. This will reveal exactly what it is within that brand story that will appeal to your target customer.
How to use brand stories in your business
The practical applications of brand stories are vast.
If you’re planning to use, or already using, social media in your business, your brand stories will inform the content you share there. Of course, this doesn’t mean simply tweeting out your brand story at every opportunity, but simply ensuring that the messages you are putting out align with your brand stories (or values).
Review your website content; does the tone and the messaging fit your brand stories? You may note within our website the conversational tone, which exemplifies our third brand story, that we are jargon free and approachable too.
In content marketing, your brand stories can uncover a wealth of opportunities for content. For example, one of the brand stories of our client at Harvey Water Softeners is that their product improves your home, so their content marketing piece on the history of interior design exemplified their passion for interior improvement and captured the attention of their target audience too.
If you’d like to speak to us more about brand stories, get in touch. We’re happy to facilitate workshops to help you uncover your brand stories and specialise in helping you to craft a strategy that best represents those stories online. Are you using brand stories in your business already? Tell us more about your experience in the comments below.