Before the dawn of social media (I’m talking Instagram and Facebook, not Tom from MySpace), the concept of a ‘brand’ was limited to a business or company. Even now, as you read the word ‘brand’, images of products are likely popping into your head.
For me, the Nike swoosh is one of the most iconic logos of all time. It’s simple but memorable. So simple, in fact, that you can see that swoosh upside down, sideways, backwards, and any other way and still associate it with Nike.
But unlike its logo, the Nike brand story is anything but simple. It’s one that’s been built over time. As a result, since its founding in 1964, the company has maintained its rank as the largest sportswear brand in the industry, synonymous with determination and athleticism.
But today, thanks to social media, a brand is much more than corporate consumerism. A brand can be a small business, an identity, even a person. All it takes is a compelling story. Don’t know what that means? Or where to start?
Here are 8 things a good brand story needs.
Ralph Lauren (the person) started his line with ties, but his vision was always greater. He wanted to design a lifestyle, not merely a fashion brand. In taking a page out of the RL book, vision not only defines a brand but carries it.
Before you can create your brand story you need to have a clear vision of how that story will read from beginning to end, even if you make up the chapters in between.
The Wing provides flexible workspaces, but the value is much greater. You don’t just get a place to work from. You’re provided with an inspiring atmosphere with a library, complimentary coffee, and even networking opportunities.
A successful brand story provides value beyond the dollar sign. It offers the audience something they can take away with them, or even share with others.
Environmental activism is the thread that keeps the Patagonia brand story together. As a result, the clothing company continues to make headlines as it pursues its purpose.
Once you have your vision and value, a good brand story needs to have a purpose beyond itself. It’s not only about what you are or what you provide, but rather how you hope to make an impact. One that resonates with your audience.
Would you trust an Instagram account with 10 posts and 100k followers? Unlikely. It takes countless hours of hard work and months (even years) to build an organic following. No one is an overnight success (even Amazon.com didn’t see its first quarterly profit until over five years later).
Brand stories, like everything else, take time to build. No matter what your vision, value, or purpose is you need to invest in your brand story before it sees real growth. Have patience. When that first domino falls the rest will follow.
What do Starbucks and AirBnB have in common? They create communities. From loyalty programs to personalized experiences, the two brands have built multi billion dollar companies placing people first.
Once a brand story begins to catch on it needs a community to keep it alive. Those with a shared interest or vision that find continued value in the brand itself.
Disney, from its iconic characters to theme parks, has created a world that resonates across multiple generations on a global scale. And that’s because it connects with its community.
For a brand story to be successful it needs to connect to its audience on a deeper level. Without a heartfelt connection the brand is nothing more than a sales pitch.
Stickiness can be hard to define. At the most basic level it refers to how memorable or contagious a brand is. Apple is a sticky brand. Its integrative approach (watch, TV, Mac, AirPods, home) is so convenient for consumers that there’s continuous anticipation for the newest release. Let the iOS vs Android war wage on.
To maintain a community connection a good brand story needs stickiness. Something to keep its audience coming back and look forward to what’s next.
Chick-fil-A was founded on Christian values. It’s stated outright in their Purpose. And placing company wide value in God, whether you’re a believer or an atheist, can be appreciated because it’s genuine.
When all is said and done, a good brand story is rooted in sincerity. It remains true to the brand vision, values, and purpose. It’s honest with the community, and itself.
Ready to tell your brand story?
Whether you’re in the beginning stages or years into the process, it’s never too late to implement these 8 strategies as part of your brand story. If you need help, think of the brands that resonate with you and ask yourself, ‘Why am I loyal to this brand? What is it about their message that makes me choose them above all others?’
Want to take your business to the next level? I’m here to support your brand story. Let’s work together: email me at NTeitler@gmail.com .
I want to hear from you! Comment your thoughts on this blog and branding below and let’s continue the conversation. For now, here are some of my favorite quotes about branding from the business experts themselves.