I've talked about finding the Meaning before creating a Visual Identity. Both components come together to create great Branding.
The Meaning isn't exactly some vague promise about how your brand will be better than other brands out there. People can't connect to that. What you need is something more, well, meaningful.
For starters, answer these questions to get to the root of your brand:
- What problem are you solving with your brand?
- What are your products or services?
- Why did you want to start the business in the first place?
- What are the problems you anticipate in the future in running your business?
- What are the values that you adopt for your brand?
- What are your business goals?
- Where do you see your brand one, three or five years from now?
- What product/service/industry do you plan to expand into?
- What does success look like to you?
A great Meaning can be used internally, as part of your business plan. I mentioned that you can use it to base your to-do lists on. But the Meaning can also be used externally as your brand story.
A brand story helps people connect to your brand.
A brand story creates emotional glue between your brand and your customers. It's what creates the intense and sometimes unquestioning devotion that brands dream about. Think Android fanboys vs Apple fanboys.
One of the most successful brand stories the story of Steve Jobs and Apple.
But to craft this brand story, you can't simply outline the emotion you want your customers to feel and leave it at that. The story itself has to be profound and genuine enough to invoke that emotion.
Let's look at Adidas. If you look at its Youtube channel, you can see so many stories by athletes like Jeremy Lin and Leo Messi. They're telling the story of Adidas, but from their own perspective. The core of the brand's stories remain the same, but the details change.
But to ensure that the athletes' stories reinforce the Adidas brand, Adidas had to properly craft its own original story first. Right? Can't put the cart before the horse.
How to write a great brand story
So how do you craft a great story? Storytelling takes its rules from fiction-writing, but it's not as hard as writing a novel. For starters, your story shouldn't be more than a page. All the good parts must be written concisely so that it's easy to digest. If it's hard to digest, the Meaning would be lost.
I took the Storytelling for Leaders: How to Craft Stories that Matter class on Skillshare and it has been very enlightening. Putting the brand story into words is a lot easier when it's broken down into three parts by the teacher, Keith Yamashita. The parts are:
- The story of Me
- The story of Us (or Our Company)
- The story of an Idea
- The story of Results
- "Once Upon A Time.."
- A World View
- Great Characters
- Challenging Situations
- Lessons Learned
- New Possibility
- "Happily Ever After.."
- Coming of Age
- Overcoming Obstacles
- Constant Evolution
- True As It Ever Was
When used together, these parts allow you to create a compelling brand story for your own brand. This brand story can then be repurposed into so many marketing materials, from your website to your social media profiles to your packaging.
I highly recommend for you to take this class, because it covers a total of only 21 minutes, has great content, and is free of charge. It has opened my eyes to another valuable skill that I could apply to branding and marketing. Let me know if you like it!