A brand story is a flexible, reusable, and crucial part of any company. It extends beyond marketing materials to infiltrate the way you talk and think about your brand, through emails, conversations, and presentations. You need to know what your story is in order to get to the heart of why clients should choose you above all others.
Use these ten questions as a DIY brand consultation for your message. For example, if you have a presentation coming up, these questions can be a good way to refine your message and add a story into your slides. Or if you’re starting at the very beginning of your brand development, these questions can offer a way to think critically about what you want to say.
Let’s jump in!
Hemingway or Dickens? This question touches on whether your message needs to be simple (because it’s inherently straight forward), or more elaborate based on need. Are you delivering something that only takes a sentence to describe? Or is your company based around something more complex and layered, i.e. a Dickens Approach?
Fun or Straightforward? Think about colorful brands like Skittles or even Denny’s, who fill their materials with nonsense and fun. Now consider more straightforward brands, like Apple or Wells Fargo. Where does your brand fit on this scale?
Contemporary or Classic? Whether it’s the images you choose for material design or the tone of your content, does your brand look towards the future for the next big thing, or stay safely anchored to tried-and-true tradition?
Who is your ideal client? If you think of your ideal customer or clients likes, dislikes, fears, hopes, and dreams, you’ll be able to better understand how to craft a narrative that fits into their own personal journey.
What will your office be like 10 years from now? One way to shape the design of your brand is to think about how you envision your company far into the future, once it has achieved success. Are you dedicated to the idea of open spaces, continuous innovation, and strange art? Or maybe you dream of a space on top of a high rise? Imagining where you’d like to be is a great way to shape your current course.
How does your brand make a difference? A great story should not only change the lives of the listeners, but reveal how those within the story were changed. As an example, think of a classic coming-of-age narrative. How does your brand create positive change for your customers, your team, and other companies around you?
Where are you at now? Assess your current narrative by looking around you. What direction are you moving towards? Are you happy with the current climb, or would you like things to be different? Consider telling the story of your humble beginnings, even if you’re right in the middle of that experience.
What needs to change? As a follow up to the former question, start to dig into a list of things that you would change in an ideal situation. Your narrative can focus on the things that need to be done and the hurdles that need to be overcome, in order for your audience can understand where you’d like to be.
What’s your history? One great way to build a brand narrative is to show off your “grassroots” beginning. Think of a brand like Annie’s, which tells an origin story on the back of each of their products in order to relate themselves to the audience in a more personal way.
Who should tell your story? Sometimes it’s not up to you to tell your brand story. If you have a customer experience that you’ve held on to, quotes, or other narratives from your users/buyers, consider framing your entire brand narrative around their fulfilled needs.
We hope these questions help you refine your story, and give you some inspiration for your next marketing push. If you are looking for a few more resources, check out these related articles below!
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