A brand story is only as powerful as its ability to make an emotional connection to stakeholders that inspires them to share it. This is even truer as clients and consumers across all categories are now constantly connected through the web, social media and smart phones. Framed correctly, a brand story can mitigate the risk of consumer or media activism and build the reputation of the brand by sharing the story of its good work. It can also position the brand to communicate with greater transparency and accountability through its entire value chain. That way the brand can control the narrative around it rather than having to manage a PR crisis or respond to radical transparency imposed on it. With the goals in mind, here are the key attributes of an effective brand story that can inspire your internal and external stakeholders to build your business with you:
- Simple: The story must be easily understood in order to allow your audience/s to share the story through their channels.
- Proprietary: The story must be unique to your brand, its heritage and vision for its future.
- Purposeful: The story must communicate the positive role your brand is going to play in the world.
- Emotional: The story must make an emotional connection with its audiences.
- Human attribute: The story must establish the brand’s ownership of a fundamental human attribute or human emotion.
- Mission-based: The story must serve as a signpost towards fulfilling the company’s mission.
- Innately sharable: the story must be framed in everyday language that is easy for stakeholders to share.
- Versatility: The language of the story must be versatile enough to speak to all the brand’s products, services, stakeholders and aspirations.
- Celebratory: The story should celebrate the positive impact on clients and customers.
- Visionary: The story should speak to how the world will be a better place thanks to the impact of the brand.
No one brand story can deliver on all ten attributes in equal measure, but as you think through the strategy and language of your story the goal is to ensure each variation reflects a different blend of them. As you refine the alternatives, those stories that capture the blend that best serves your business and communication goals will rise to the top and then, finally, you are in a position to make the invariably subjective decision as to what story will best serve your company, brand and its future.
To find out more about how to define your brand story to unlock the power of social technologies and to inspire your customer community to build your brand, visit WeFirst15.com There you’ll find information on a two-day training workshop where you’ll hear from the top brands in the world as to how they define their brand story and build community engagement. Every attendee walks out with an actionable plan for their brand and you get to invite your favorite non-profit for free to help them increase their impact.