Deciding what makes your brand unique and communicating this with an authentic brand story is often a challenge for emerging companies.
Genuine uniqueness, especially in terms of product, is difficult to come across in saturated markets. Though this doesn’t mean the story around your products can’t be one-of-a-kind.
Here, we outline 5 key ways to develop an authentic brand story without resorting to trickery, clichés or tired business tropes.
What Is Brand Storytelling?
From your website, it should be easy to see what you do and how you do it, but what about why? An authentic brand story is rooted in why your brand exists. This may be a passion for design, a desire to innovate or a personal story that reveals a genuine calling.
Don’t fall into the trap of stock phrases like ‘because we love it’. Think deeper and don’t be afraid to tell a story that you can embrace wholeheartedly. If it’s too involved, or riddled with white lies, will you be able to tell it with conviction? All of these factors are worth considering.
Creating A Unique Brand Story
Ambition is an important quality, but copying the success strategies of your industry doesn’t support an authentic brand story. Selling a similar product to one of your nearest competitors or a global brand? Be sure not to regurgitate their language, tone and style.
Equally, don’t base your brand story on a desire to crush the competition. This may be the goal of your numbers-focused CEO, but from a marketing perspective, communication should be focused on what makes you unique. Customers who are drawn to claims of one-upmanship are unlikely to be loyal when challengers come along. Crucially, they won’t form your core, long-term customer base.
1. Inspire Your Audience Through Your Brand Story
To be truly covetable, your brand has to offer ‘aspirational uniqueness.’ Instead of making people need your products, you should aim for customers to aspire to your products. This may be because of the lifestyle status, perks or impression it provides.
For example, if you simply needed a phone you would buy a cheap pay-as-you-go handset. But people want an iPhone because it’s deemed cool, exciting, innovative and a luxurious necessity for modern life.
In real terms, you need to cement the authenticity of your brand story in an inspiring time or place. Whether it’s a far-flung exotic location, a rags-to-riches affair or a business started on your kitchen table.
2. Ensure Your Brand Story Is Accurate and Transparent
When a customer finds out your product is mass-produced overseas when you’ve told them it’s handmade, how do you think they will feel? The need for accuracy and transparency is key when creating an engaging brand story.
Where possible, back up what you say with examples of what you do, such as videos and behind-the-scenes images. This will strengthen the brand image you have created, and authenticate the brand language you have used.
3. Root Your Authentic Brand Story in Brand Language
Words and phrases are an essential way to communicate your brand identity. ‘Unique’, ‘hand-crafted’, ‘innovative’ are all great words, but they are often overused. Cliché terms mean very little to a customer who is seeking a genuine connection with your business. Read our quick guide to brand language to get started.
4. Speak to Your Customers’ Values With Your Brand Story
Brands continue to prove that clever marketing, great visuals and an impressive brand story can encourage consumers to spend more on almost identical products. An excellent example is bottled water – is one really better than the other, or are you paying for the ‘name’?
Declaring your company the cheapest, or indeed the most exclusive and expensive, won’t bring brand loyalty in the long term. Customers should appreciate your wares for their literal and metaphorical value. In turn, representing value for money in the context of style, uniqueness, presentation and creative flair.
5. Use Your Brand Story To Enhance Your Brand Universe
If your brand specialises in headphones, for example, constantly talking about nothing but headphones is unlikely to engage for very long. Expand your brand universe with other stories that your customers will enjoy.
In the case of headphones, this may be festivals, concerts, instruments, music news, interviews with top bands and introductions to new and exciting artists. An authentic brand story needs the flexibility and scope to explore broader concepts within your brand universe.
Brand Story Examples For The Clever Marketer
So, you established your business with £500 and a stroke of right-place-right-time luck? This anecdote could be an engaging part of your overall brand story, but you will need to experiment with fresh ways to tell it. This ensures the media, and your customers, don’t get bored. Just as your brand universe needs to be flexible and adaptable, so does your brand story.
For example, you could discuss the serendipitous way you got started, the pressure of having just £500 and a vision, or the steely determination you’ve needed over the years. For a brand, consider how your story could be shortened or lengthened depending on the platform, customer or sales environment. This should consistently engage your ethos, but in an adaptable manner.