The 5 Elements of Every Great Brand Story

There are more brands vying for our hard-earned dollars than ever before.

Take something as simple and ubiquitous as a sponge. Do you know how many different companies sell sponges? It’s a lot more than you think. So how does a sponge brand, or any other brand for that matter, separate itself from the pack to be the most attractive to consumers?

​It’s all about the story.

​Personally, if I’m having to choose between different brands offering the same product, I’ll often pick the brand that tells the best story. For example, maybe it’s a locally owned and operated brand that I want to support, or a brand that focuses on environmental sustainability, or a brand that features products made entirely in the U.S.

And I’m not alone. According to research by Headstream, 55 percent of people who love a brand’s story are more likely to buy the product in the future, while 44 percent will share the story and 15 percent will buy the product immediately. Research also shows that messages delivered as stories can be up to 22 times more memorable than facts.

Sharing your brand’s story with the world is absolutely crucial to your success, and every great story, from Moby Dick to the brand story of Warby Parker, contains the same five elements:

1. Characters

It’s important to identify early on who the individuals are that your story is about, because they are the ones who will shape the plot of your story and, most likely, be the ones who will resolve its conflict. We’ll get to plot and conflict later.

Your brand’s story will have two sets of characters: those who serve the brand (you) and those who are served by it (customers). Introduce your characters with clear messaging and intent, and then establish the relationships between all the characters in your story. This will help customers understand how the people behind your brand can help them achieve their goals.

2. Setting

The setting of the story is where the action takes place. Is the location of your brand important to your story or the customers you serve?
The setting also contributes to your brand’s overall atmosphere. If you’re an apparel company who makes outdoor clothing and gear, establishing a rustic setting for your brand works well. Just ask Patagonia.

3. Plot

The plot consists of the main events and action of your story. Without a plot, there is no story. So, what kind of story do you want your brand to tell? Is it one of perseverance? Personal service? Efficiency? Figure out what makes your brand unique, reliable and irreplaceable, and craft your story around these elements.

Not only is it important to think about what your story is, but you also need to consider how your story is written. This is a great time to determine what your brand’s attributes are, because they will help define the overall presence of your brand and shape your story. Some of those attributes include:

  • Voice: Is the language you use professional and formal, or more laid back and casual?
  • Tone:  How do you want your brand to look and feel to your customers?
  • Purpose: Why does your brand exist? What can it help consumers accomplish?

4. Conflict

Every plot needs a conflict, and every brand needs a problem to solve. What kinds of problems can your brand solve for consumers? What are the pain points your brand can help alleviate?

4. Resolution

Illustrating conflict, and how your brand works to overcome it, is how you create the resolution of your brand’s story. How will customers enjoy a satisfying conclusion to their buyer’s journey with your brand?

Ready to Tell Your Story?

At Brand825, we love working with brands to help create their stories and share them with the world.  Ready to tell your story? Let us know how we can help you!

Kedran Whitten, Brand825’s co-founder, has more than 28 years of marketing leadership experience at the SVP and CMO levels, including revenue growth, customer satisfaction, brand awareness, etc. When she’s not helping brands be their best, Kedran can be found jumping out of planes, at Tennessee Titans games and watching her two boys crush it on the baseball diamond.

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