Story activates much deeper part of the brain than simple fact sharing, therefore we are 22 times more likely to remember stories than facts. – Uri Harrison, TED Talk
That’s why we should be telling stories to our customers so we always stay on top of mind and communicate what we offer in a more meaningful way.
What is a brand story?
Storytelling is a big part of branding but it could be reaaallllly confusing, especially with all the advice out there that may not be so true.
If you ever asked yourself if your brand story is:
- your own personal story?
- why you created your business?
- the story of how your brand came to be?
- stories of your customers or clients?
- some kind of a magical story you’re supposed to come up with?
You’re not alone.
There is one huge misconception about the brand story that makes you stuck and it’s this:
My brand is the hero of my brand story. Me. Me. Me.
I totally get it, there is a lot of conflicting advice out there: – make your brand more like you, – you are your brand, – get vulnerable, – be authentic, + more. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a place and time for that too. But you need to understand one thing:
Your customer is the hero of your brand story. Your brand acts merely as a guide helping them reach their destination.
When you flip this strategy and talk about your brand as only a character of the story of your customers, you will see how people start to resonate with your message. They will start to see themselves in your brand story.
Your brand personality defines your brand story
Once your brand personality is defined and you know who your brand is, you can begin to communicate with a consistent personality and tone of voice, as a character in the life of your audience – that’s what brand storytelling is all about.
People are bored with information and they do not want to hear about what services or products you offer.
They want to experience and be taken on a journey.
The way to hook your audience into a story is to allow them to see themselves in it.
If you understand your audience well and know which desires you’re willing to evoke with your brand, you can tell them a story of someone who is going through the same thing, making them emotionally invested.
Then, your brand is presented as a guide to help the hero (your customer) with their goals: either fixing some problem, or reinventing themselves, or challenging them to be better.
Then the hero arrives at their destination – your ideal audience core desire and what they aspire to.
Now you can paint the picture of what life looks and feels like for the hero then, after they arrived, inspiring people to want to learn more about how they can do it too.
At the beginning of any story, the character (hero) is at point A (with a problem or a challenge) and by the end, they get to point B where they have fixed/got rid of these problems.
If a person goes to the hairstylist to get her hair done and feels amazing, super attractive and empowered afterwards, they are thrilled with the result.
Even though the hairstylist did the work, they decided it’s time to make a change, they took the risk of going to the hairstylist and trying something new and so they are the hero of that story.
You’re not selling products or services. You’re selling the feeling
Your solution feels a certain way to people and you’re selling THIS feeling: whether it’s accomplishment, empowerment or freedom, you’re selling what your products or services help people get to and what it will feel like.
The customer is buying this end result and paying for the guidance to get them there (your products or services).
Your Brand Archetype and your brand story
Your brand’s personality, story, unique positioning and your ideal clients are all coming together into your brand archetype which we then use to tell brand stories.
By consistently following your brand archetype’s theme, we can build a compelling brand story and tell it again and again through our business and brand experience.
This is especially important if you’re not building a personal brand in particular, but are a makeup artist, a hairstylist, own a fashion or beauty boutique, are a consultant or a coach.
If you’re NOT the face of your brand (as you would be in case you were an influencer) it’s really hard to inject personality to your brand without a tool like Brand Archetypes.
Most of our clients are very stuck there because they hear this conflicting advice everywhere: be yourself, inject your personality into your brand.
But then they have these doubts, like:
- what if my brand isn’t really like me?
- when I make my brand like me, I attract people just like me (not necessarily ideal clients)
- my own personality is much more complex than my brand, how do I fit all of this in and stay focused and consistent?
These are all the problems that could arise from following the “make your brand more you” advice.
This makes them feel stuck, dilute their brand message trying to reflect their own personality and waste years in their business because they are not able to build momentum and attract their ideal clients.
Using Brand Archetypes we can assume a personality of a certain theme our ideal clients will resonate with.
It then doesn’t reflect our personality as such, as has its own personality that is attractive to our ideal clients.
Define your Brand Voice, vocabulary and messaging style
This is how you create an irresistible brand that works like a magnet.
Your brand can still be true to you and it should be: it should be aligned with your values and the very reason you started the business. But Brand Archetypes give you this understanding of recurring themes and personality traits that are most crucial for your brand to attract an ideal audience and feel authentic, so you do not feel scattered, stuck or confused as to how to grow your brand.
It also helps you scale your business and brand: when you hire your team you can simply communicate to them your brand personality and story and they can then use it to help you grow your brand.
You will no longer compete with them for the “hero” role of the story.
You’ll show you see them, understand them and are here to help them reach their goals. They will feel as if they are a part of your brand story and connect with it easier.
So rather than trying to create some kind of a made-up story about your brand, or tell your own personal story that may or may not be relevant to your business (that’s a subject for another article), think about your customer and what story do they live in that your band could be a guide and helper in.
Here’s a simple formula you can follow:
My clients who are…
meet my brand, who guides them through…
and they finally are able to…
Voila! You are now clear on your brand story!
“Ok, Alex, but where do I tell this story”, you ask?
Tell it not through putting it up on your website (although this is a good idea too!), but through the way you show up. The services you offer, your pricing, your website, your content, your customer’s stories and any business decisions you make.
This story is a recurring theme in your business: it’s your north star. It’s what you do your business for.
Once you understand what your brand guides people towards and what they need from you, it will be easier to focus on it and stop spreading yourself thin, diluting your message.
Your message gets clearer.
For example: If your brand story is:
My clients who are women over 40 and struggle with their body changing, lack of confidence and feel lonely and invisible, meet my brand who guides them through rediscovering themselves and get their power back so they finally can step into their power and feel like themselves again.
Your brand focuses on the transformation you bring to these women. Tell this story through what you offer to them (and how you build your offers), how you speak to them and about your programs or products, and how you share their success stories. You will tell the story through all of that continuously and build the right brand perception.
Tell it through your brand experience
If your brand story is to help people transform and make a big shift in their life, then your services will definitely be personalised and guide them, you’d challenge their thinking and help them along the way.
The content you create would help them see things differently and challenge their assumptions, maybe try something new. And your services or products?
They would contain a formula for success (hm… elixir?) that helps them get where they want to be.
Your brand would be about working WITH them rather than for them and helping them take responsibility for their bit too because that’s the only way they can really transform and change.
By aligning everything your brand does with that, you will tell a story of a transformation, a change and rebirth.
A story of your brand.