It’s no secret that launching a brand takes a lot of work. The to-do list itself seems to be endless. There’s a ton involved, from market research to developing your product, to focusing on the strategic ways to get in front of your target audience. However, one component often falls under the radar: the importance of building a brand story.
But wait—aren’t journalists supposed to be the ones to uncover the stories? While traditionally this is true and in some ways still the case, it is now a helpful branding tip to establish and share your brand story first. In fact, it’ll even help in attracting media attention.
In the grand scheme of things, building a brand story may not feel like a priority between budgets and product development. But your brand's story has the power to elevate your organization beyond just the product you're marketing. When done correctly, it’ll help you gain a stronger following, establish trust with consumers, and solidify a narrative that attracts press attention—because the story nearly writes itself.
Of all of the branding tips out there, building a brand story is one of the most important—and still one of the most overlooked. Here's our guide on how to create a compelling brand story and give this vital branding element the attention it deserves.
What is a brand story?
The first step to crafting your brand's narrative is understanding what the story entails. Building a brand story is a lot more than the paragraph you have on your “About” page along with a short bio about the brand's founders.
To truly understand what a brand story is, keep in mind what it isn’t:
- A logo
- A catchy slogan
- Your brand’s color palette
- Memorable marketing tactics
While all these elements are valid and essential when following the usual branding tips, none of these even pierce the surface of a brand story.
Simply put, the brand story is the heart and soul of a company. It's so many layers that ultimately lead to an in-depth and transparent account of who the company is rather than simply the “what.” It's crafting a narrative that invites your target audience to know your brand's essence. The result is a memorable effect that builds trust among consumers because they feel like they know your brand beyond simply your product's function.
3 tips for building a brand story
So how do you share your story in a way that elevates the narrative of your brand in an authentic way? According to Lindsey Smolan, founder and president of VLIV Communications, these branding tips will help guide you through the process, taking all of the guesswork out of building your brand story.
Identify your reason
According to Smolan, building a brand story starts with isolating why you started the brand in the first place—and showcasing how it is different from the competition.
"In order for a company to develop a strong brand story, there must be an impactful reason for starting the brand that differs from other brands on the market," Smolan said. "Consumers and media crave authentic, relatable stories and want to hear how a brand got its start and what hole in the market a founder is looking to solve."
When you have a clear picture of your reason for your brand, your brand story will almost write itself. Your purpose is the hook that will reel in the press looking for sources for their product round-ups and gift guides—and may persuade them to choose you over another brand, simply because your narrative is better. But your brand story has to be more than just your reason. Once you identify that, you still need to dig deeper.
"Get as clear and specific as possible. Many stories tend to fall along the same lines," Smolan said. "It may take some time to really dig in, but individuality is key here. If you have the same story as every other brand, you're much less likely to be covered."
Showcase what will inspire
While your reason is essential, it also needs some extra sparkle. Every brand with a unique and memorable narrative needs that extra something that can bring out the emotional side of its audience. That's where inspiration comes in.
"An inspirational aspect also can be helpful in crafting a strong brand story," Smolan said. "It certainly doesn't need to be a 'rags-to-riches' story, but consumers and media love to hear about where a brand started and what it has accomplished along the way—and that includes setbacks."
However, don't manufacture inspiration if you can't find it. Part of what makes building a brand story so important is the layer of authenticity required to craft the narrative. The good news is that you don't have to pretend to be perfect anymore. Smolan even encouraged brands to reveal the struggles faced in the early stages of their development.
"Be honest about mistakes made and what you learned from them. This establishes credibility and trust amongst audiences," Smolan said. "Audiences root for comeback stories and are more likely to trust a brand that is transparent about failures and things done wrong."
Insight into the brand's manufacturing and development process
Brands today strive to emulate authenticity in everything they do, from marketing tactics to earned media. But you can weave transparency into building a brand story as well.
Smolan recommends offering a behind-the-scenes look for a brand's target audience. Allowing people to see how everything works for themselves immediately eliminates the idea that your brand is hiding anything. And in today's society, where consumers are more researched than ever before, this is vital for any organization building a brand story.
"While this might not make sense for all brands, if a company is able to provide insight from a supplier, factory spokesperson, or anyone else who touches the product along the way, this can greatly amplify a brand story," Smolan said.
However, she also warned that it's important to make sure a brand isn't simply sharing this process without a unique angle. Smolan suggested focusing on this crucial branding tip: Highlight something different/unique in the brand's development process.
"Whether this is speaking with the artisan who harvests materials or a formulator who understands the science behind a product, providing access to these key players further develops an effective brand story," Smolan said.
Press Hook is here to share your brand with the world
Building your brand story might seem complicated, but it doesn't have to be. The truth is, once you're able to hone in on who you are as a brand, the rest falls in place. Remember to sell your story and not the product to avoid sounding like a gimmicky sales pitch.
When you create a brand profile on Press Hook, you get more than just instant access to writers searching for brands perfect for their gift guides and product round-ups. You also gain access to a user-friendly template to fill out your profile. With Press Hook, media can find all the important info about your brand that they need, from affiliate links to those ever critical brand stories.
Let us help you share your brand story with your target audience and get the earned media you deserve. Click here to learn more about Press Hook today.