Why every brand needs a story and how to write your own

A great product, without a story, is just another product.

Humans are storytellers by nature, and we love listening to stories just as much. It turns out that enjoying stories isn’t just something for kids. Movies, songs, books and even art – all usually tell some sort of narrative with an underlying message or a deeper meaning that speaks to us as individuals. There’s always something we connect with on an emotional level, which then in return makes us seek out more movies of the same genre, more books by the same author or more paintings by the same artist.

The same is true for the stories around brands and products. Think back to a brand or product you instantly fell in love with. What was it that spoke to you? How did that brand or product make you feel?

Chances are, something spoke to you on an emotional level. Something you could relate to, or something you aspired to be. Even if it was a very useful product, like a robot vacuum cleaner, it got you excited because it met a need.

So without further ado, let’s dive right into how to write your own story.

What to consider when writing your own brand story

Why did you start your business?

Take your time to think about this question. If your answer is ‘money’, dig deeper and think again! We think it should be the very first step (and an important one!) to starting your business, because it helps you shape not only what’s important to you, but also how your product relates to your customers. What does your product mean to you? How will your product improve your customers’ lives?

To help you think more in-depth and develop your Why, we recommend you to check out Why Your Why Matters.

An example of a brand story, developed from a Why:

Whilst you love travelling and being out-and-about, it’s fair to say that packing your suitcase isn’t all that easy. Should you bring your comfy clothes, or your stylish (albeit uncomfortable) ones? And what about the fabrics that need ironing?
True fashion lies in feeling good about yourself: Flattering silhouettes, colourful fabrics, light textures and travel-friendly materials. Stylish clothes are made for specific shapes and ages, comfy clothes look ugly and baggy. What about if you want to be both stylish and comfy at any age?

The same frustration is shared amongst a large population of people who can relate. Designed with the Baby Boomer woman in mind, it was the desire to make every woman feel good in her own skin as she ages that went on to shape the fashion label Kathleen Berney.

What are your brand values?

If your brand were a person, what would it believe and value? Perhaps you sell vegan skincare products for dry skin, or size-inclusive clothes made from recycled plastic bottles. Do these values speak to your customers on a personal level?

Whatever your product might be, remember that customers are drawn to values that are personal and that they can relate to. Once you identify the values that are both reflected in your customers and your brand, you can craft your brand story and connect with your audience.

An example of a brand story, developed from shared values:

Whoever said skincare packaging had to be pink, floral and cute?! It’s as if there was an unspoken rule, but guess what? It’s about time we break that rose-tinted glass ceiling. We should be able to be good to our skin, the environment, animals and express ourselves the way we like.

One look at the products from Sass and Co Body, and you’ll find that their brand is raw, honest, bold and loud. Their skincare is made from natural, vegan ingredients, with no over-the-top floral scents, packaged in statement bottles made from recyclable PET materials. Rebellious, awesome, authentic.

What do you wish for the world and future generations?

What do you think would make the world a better place? What is something that hits home for you, that you’d like to change? Maybe it’s water sanitation, poverty, education, women’s rights or maybe you feel passionate about the environment.

Adding a bigger goal, beyond you and your business, adds meaning in your brand story and gives your customers something to connect with on a deeper level.

There are different ways to approach this. You could plant a tree for every order placed (eg. al.ive Body), donate a percentage of sales to a cause (eg. Self Cared) or use your bigger goal as the core foundation of your brand (eg. Thankyou).

An example of a great story, developed from adding meaning:

Plastic straws are convenient, fun and efficient. Many popular drinks come with straws, from bubble tea and milkshakes, to cocktails and frappés. But unfortunately, not only do they contribute to producing single-use plastic waste, they’re also hurting wildlife animals. This is what fuelled the guys from Untrashy to take a stand and not only provide consumers with different options but also start a movement to restore our planet by cleaning up our beaches and oceans.

What inspired you to create a product?

As an artist or designer, creativity comes naturally, but it’s not all that easy for other people to come up with something new or creative.

Think about it: Your products are an expression of your inner thought processes, which is then followed by using materials to bring inspiration to life. It’s personal and beautiful. We know it’s not just one thing, it’s an array of thoughts, feelings and impressions that go into creating a product.

Sharing what inspired you to create a product gives your ideal audience insight into this intimate process and allows them to form an emotional bond. Trust us, it’s more fascinating than you might think.

An example of a great story, developed from inspiration:

Doll heads are (arguably) intense little things. While some find them adorable, others find them a tad disturbing, eerie and even a little uncomfortable to look at.
One candlemaker turned her fear of doll heads into art and began making doll head candles as a hobby. Her friends and colleagues started offering money for her candles, and as a result, led her to opening her own business. In other words, her business (and bestselling candle) was inspired by fear.

Read the full story of how You, Me & Bones began. Their candles are so out-of-this-world, we can’t take our eyes of off them. In an oddly good way.

How to start writing your own brand story

Now that you know what aspects to consider, it’s time to write down your own answers to the aforementioned questions. Once you’ve done that, take a step back and note the words and emotions that come to mind. Does something stand out?

Try to keep it simple, and create your story with one core focus.
Think about who your customer is and consider what they might be able to relate to as well. Then test your assumptions.

Your story will form and come to life. It is a process that evolves – give it the space it needs to do that.
If you need more help to create your brand story, check our our DIY workbook.

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