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Branding & PR, Contributed

How a Brand Story Can Help You Stand Out From the Competition

October 16, 2019

A brand story is more than just an origin story; it’s a statement that defines your company’s mission while addressing your audience. A well-defined brand story can help engage users while distinguishing you from competitors.

With all the choices that consumers face in this day and age, having a good product at a fair price point isn't going to cut it for most companies. Consumers don't just care about the product (or service) that they're buying; they also care about who they're buying it from. That’s why your company's brand identity is so important to your success. 

One of the important elements of your brand identity is your brand story. A lot of businesses mistakenly think that this is just their "about us" page on their website, but that’s not quite the case. Your brand story emphasizes your organization’s messaging and helps you stand out in the market.

What Is a Brand Story?

A brand story is the narrative of your brand. While your company history can be an important part of your brand story, why you started the company is arguably more important than how you started it. This helps you convey your mission statement as well as your core values.

What’s more, your brand story shouldn't just inform your audience about who you are as a company. It should also tell consumers what your motivations are and should inspire an emotional reaction. Your story gives you an opportunity to address the consumer as a part of your narrative. After all, the reason you started the company was to address a certain problem or need that your consumers have.

Why Is Your Brand Story Important?

Having a well-defined brand story is absolutely essential in helping to differentiate your company from the competition. There are dozens—if not hundreds—of companies that are similar to yours and offer similar products. Simply saying that your products or services are better won’t get you far, even if you have the content to back it up.

Consumers need to be able to connect with you on an emotional level. They want to relate to the brand that they choose, which is where a brand story comes into play.

Having a brand story makes it easier for consumers to connect with you. Storytelling is often considered to be an effective way of communicating ideas. By using storytelling techniques to inform consumers about your company, it will be much easier for them to stay engaged with you.

There are several ways that you can do this. For example, you can position your company as the main protagonist whose goal is to help the consumer. Or you can position the consumer as the main protagonist who must overcome an obstacle (a problem or need that the consumer has) with the help of your company (a solution in the form of your products or services). 

When it comes down to it, creating a brand story helps your company stand out while also inviting more customer engagement. This makes your business more relatable on a personal level and more trustworthy as a result.

Creating Your Brand Story

Now that you understand what a brand story is and why it's important, here are a few tips to help you develop a unique brand story:

1. Determine Your Company's Purpose

What is your origin story? This doesn't just refer to when your company was founded, but also why you decided to start your business in the first place. What was your motivation? What is your mission? 

Consumers want to know that there's more to your company than just seeking profit. Take a look at this template below. A typical brand story might include you company’s:

  • Purpose
  • Mission
  • Vision
  • Values

In the sample, we see that this company’s mission is to become the world’s most trusted quality assurance partner. They tell their story by framing themselves as the protagonist, emphasizing their values as a diverse, compassionate brand that creates sustainable growth for all.

company's purpose

Determining your company’s purpose in relation to the consumer helps make your brand story more relatable.

2. Understand Who Your Audience Is

You can't tell a story without an audience, and you need to know who you're talking to if you want to tell your story effectively. Your story should engage your audience as a participating character.

Below is a sample brand persona template from HubSpot to help you think about your audience.

sample persona

The template includes sections about your consumers’:

  • Background
  • Demographics
  • Identifiers

What are your consumers’ main problems, needs, and challenges? Knowing this (along with detailed demographic information) will help you understand how to tell your story. This is also why developing buyer personas is particularly helpful when it comes to your brand story.

3. Make Sure Your Brand Story Remains Consistent

Your products and services need to be aligned with your story. If your main goal as a company is to provide an affordable alternative to a luxury product, then you can't suddenly begin selling high-priced luxury items.

Everything you do, from your products to your services, needs to be consistent your brand story and vice versa. This means that you also need to maintain the same tone and messaging across all platforms. A lack of consistency is going to hurt your brand identity and, in turn, hurt your trustworthiness. 

  • Keep it simple: A simple brand story will be easy for consumers to remember and will make it easier for you to maintain consistency. If your story is too convoluted or long, the message will get lost, and it will make your competitors' brand stories appear clearer and well-defined. 
  • Be authentic: Make sure that your brand story actually represents who you you are. Sometimes companies may try to appeal to a different audience to expand their reach. But they adjust their story completely in an inauthentic way, which often happens because they don't understand their target audience. If you run a clothing line that caters to mostly middle-aged consumers, but you want to break into the youth market, you might try to spice up your brand story to connect with a younger crowd. However, consumers are smart—they can tell if a brand is being inauthentic, and it won't go over well.
  • Be personal: Appeal to your audience’s emotions. You want them to feel something about your brand story, which is why it's important to be authentic about your motivations and values. It's also why you should make your audience a part of your brand story so that it's more relatable to them. 

By keeping your brand story consistent, your company will have a greater chance at success.

A Well-Defined Brand Story Is a Key Marketing Tool

Your brand story is an important element of your brand identity. It helps to emphasize your messaging and distinguish your business.

By creating a brand story and aligning your marketing efforts with it, you'll establish a foundation for who you are and what your company's purpose is. That will make it easier for consumers to relate to and connect with your brand on a more personal level.