Three Elements for a Compelling Brand Story
Today, successful brands speak to consumers in ways that connect to their values and their communities. To make an emotionally resonant appeal to your customers, you need a brand story that reflects your audience's beliefs and the social tribes with which they identify.
To that end, your business story needs to resonate in multiple ways. It needs to promote your brand values, kindle a sense of community, and communicate a sense of purpose. Each of these elements speaks to what makes us individual as well as our collective need to be part of a larger whole.
But how do we incorporate these elements into a business story that can be quickly consumed and understood? How do we tell a story that simultaneously reflects values, sparks community, and communicates purpose?
Here are two examples of brand values in action.
1. Amour Vert is a clothing brand that promotes its commitment to sustainable practices as a serious selling point. Buying an amour vert t-shirt is a consumer vote to rethink the clothing fabrication industry.
2. KIND Bars: The company named in honor of kindness can’t help but be associated with the Twitterwave of #choosekind and #kind hashtags, which are also associated with anti-bullying efforts in schools. KIND sponsors an anti-bullying initiative in middle schools.
In these examples, brand images and messaging reflect who the company speaks to and their customers’ aspirations and shared values. “..A brand’s “energy” drives preference, purchase, price premiums, and more,” wrote Dipanjan Chatterjee, branding expert at Forrester Research, in his blog.
Values Don’t Have to be Altruistic
Even if your company’s values are built around something as simple as superior customer service, you can win consumers’ hearts. In fact, buying a product is not always the most satisfying point in the customer journey. “Customers are no longer basing their loyalty on brands, products, and prices. Their loyalty is far more dependent upon the service they receive, their experience of a business, and their level of satisfaction,” wrote CustomerThermometer in its overview of customer stats for 2019. Giving customers a behind-the-scenes look at your company process or magnifying how you foster a culture of customer satisfaction can be creative ways for broadcasting your brand values.
You may not need to go as far as Belcampo Meat Company and offer “meat camps” to your constituency, but you can speak expressively and concretely about the kind of community or communities you foster.
Images and videos are important here as well as a voice and tone in your messaging that is personalized and informed by your values. By sharing some choice customer profiles, you reflect the kind of community that buys your products or services.
Finally, a brand story can suggest a new or different way to be; it can buck a current trend or champion it. But the theme must be unified with the brand’s values and community. When your storytelling reflects a wider purpose or vision, you are creating emotional synergy between your product and its potential audience.
The aspirational aspect of a brand story is its most powerful element. Not everyone is going to buy in on a particular vision; but if that vision is built on a foundation of values that are shared by a particular customer group, then it can create enough momentum to turn a lagging brand into a profitable one. And that’s a great end to any business story.