What does your brand story tell the market about your business?

Some of the best known don’t tell potential customers how their products help them actualize their personal beliefs. Nike’s speaks to empowerment; Apple’s appeals to innovators; Harley-Davidson fires up its incredibly loyal customer base by promising to feed their hunger for independence, adventure and a touch of rebellion.

An effective brand story highlights what’s special about your business to invite customers into it. Futurist Simon Sinek says brand stories start with why and explained to a TedTalk audience why that works. Savvy brand marketers follow Sinek’s advice to create compelling brand stories that inspire people.

Your brand story should highlight the “why” of your business—not making products that make money, but how it reinforces your target audience’s desire for affirming experiences. It’s storytelling that casts the customer as the hero and connects them with the brand subconsciously, logically, and emotionally.

Creating a brand story is an exercise in creative writing. There are essential ingredients to the message, and it takes time to get it right. If your competitors are telling Brand X stories, and yours connects deeply, you will win.

  1. Identify an overall theme or purpose

Your brand story needs a theme that pulls everything together. Your first idea probably won’t be your best idea. Work through them considering three things: What reputation do want your brand to project; What promise does it make to the prospect; How does your vision for customers connect with their visions of themselves. A brand story isn’t a tagline, though taglines are part of it. It’s not a logo, but a logo is part of it. It’s not a color palette, but that is part of it, too. If you run a digital marketing agency that caters to real estate brokers, then your brand story should focus more on elevating their productivity. Setting an anchor point will provide your brand story with a logical and emotional direction. It can also help ensure all your brand communications are consistent in terms of purpose, style, and tone.

  1. Focus on the values you cherish

Determine the values that define your brand and set it apart from other businesses in the same industry or niche. When you figure that out, you are on the trail of Sinek’s “start with why” strategy. Whether you’re committed to professionalism or a desire to improve the lives of your audience, you will be able to shape your brand story in a way that makes people associate these core values with your products or services. This will also ease the process of coming up with fresh content ideas that will impact your business’s messaging.

  1. Talk about the past, present, and future of your business

This is the plot line of your creative writing. Talk about how you started your brand and the initial challenges you faced. Then, discuss the turning point at which your brand saw a breakthrough. Don’t forget to talk about the problems you had to overcome and the plans you have for the future. This humanizes your brand and creates an emotional connection between you and your target audience.

  1. Include a success story

Your brand story shouldn’t just highlight your business and its products or services. People get curious about how your brand has helped previous clients. For that, you need to talk about what you’ve done for previous clients. For this, ask for written or recorded client testimonials. Your brand story should also feature case studies and reviews from people who have had a positive experience with your brand. This will add social proof to your brand identity, allowing your business to capture the hearts and minds of your target market.

To make the most of your brand story, you will need to make sure that all the right elements are in the right places. Use these tips to craft an irresistible narrative that can turn initial contacts into lifelong relationships.