Using your Brand’s Story to Connect with Customers

Using your Brand’s Story to Connect with Customers

If you’re going to market your brand to would-be customers, then you need to do a little bit of storytelling. If they can imagine themselves using your products and benefitting from them, then they’re already most of the way there to becoming local customers.

But as well as products and services, modern businesses are also selling themselves and their ideals, because these are the things which make brand loyalty easier to foster. And the easiest way for a brand to do this is with the help of a kind of refined autobiography, called a brand story.

What is a brand story?

A brand story is a brief history of your brand and how it came to be. Ideally, it should pull at the heartstrings as well as setting out the facts. You might think about the emotional struggles that you went through when you were first getting things off the ground, and talk about the compromises and improvisation that helped to make your dream a reality. Including a few concrete details of particular incidents can really help to paint a picture.

Why is it important?

More and more, customers are interested in the organisations that they buy from, and how those organisations came to be. If you can tell them an interesting story about your origins, then they might be moved to sympathy, or even admiration. This applies especially if you’re a large business that was once a one-person operation. Even a massive international corporation like Amazon can garner admiration, by appeal to the business’s origins in Jeff Bezos’s garage.

The centres of our brain which light up when we hear a good story are actually very similar to those which light up when we have a real-life experience. It’s for this reason that we might cry at a good book, or cheer at a good film, or be terrified by a spooky videogame.

Brands with powerful stories

We’ve already mentioned the Amazon example. But there are many others we could cite. Virgin, for example, is associated heavily with a single person: Richard Branson (whom the company simply calls by his first name, in order to generate familiarity). Branson launched a magazine at the age of fifteen, and began selling cut-price records in it. He then opened a record shop, and a recording studio, and before long he had several big successes thanks to Mike Oldfield, Tangerine Dream, and then later the Rolling Stones and the Spice Girls, all of whom made releases under the Virgin label.

A more recent example comes courtesy of Brewdog, whose story involved lying to banks in order to get funding, and getting their products banned in the second year of production. While the legality of this is at least dubious, it chimes with the anarchistic image that the brand is trying to put out there – and so why wouldn’t they include it in their brand story?

Booklet printing company, instantprint, are another brand with modest origins that grew progressively to become a major force. The company was founded by university friends Adam and James, whose insistence on a ten-point QA process has helped to make the service relied upon by countless small businesses.

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