Write the right brand stories
by Adwright, 14 May 2018
“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about”
A Brand needs its own story
We all have stories to tell, some of us may even have experiences interesting enough to write a potentially best-selling autobiography. Stories affirm who we are and powerful narratives create connections within communities.
Just like good stories, brands often wish for their product or service to be at the top of consumers’ minds. It could be easier if their product or service is truly novel, because people will definitely remember it (think: a franchise about sparkling vampires). The problem arises when multiple similar brands communicate in a ‘me too’ manner, and consumers eventually find themselves overwhelmed with hardly differentiable information. Therein lies the importance of a brand and its story. Even if a product being sold is similar, the seller is different. Not only do you need consumers to remember what your product can do for them, but also why you are the seller they should turn to.
Research has long indicated the power of narratives to activate many parts of the human brain, which explains why when we read stories, everything comes to life in our heads. When brands have stories, they no longer exist as intangible information – instead, they are associated with feelings and real-life experiences in the minds of those they connect with.
Story with a purpose
To create a signature brand story that stands out from the crowd and garners attention, a brand has to first nail its purpose. As Simon Sinek puts it, this concept is similar to that of a social movement – the masses take action due to an aligned purpose. If a brand’s unique purpose is clear in its story, it will no longer be seen as a mere corporation, but potentially as an entity that loyal followers (consumers) identify with and root for. Take for example Apple’s brand story of how Steve Jobs went against all odds with a revolutionary idea he believed in. It is an inspiring and memorable story that ties in with why Apple exists (i.e. the brand purpose) – which is to challenge status quo in terms of IT innovation and to think differently. This purposeful story helps consumers to see Apple’s products as manifestations of the innovative thinking that is being advocated – both functionally and metaphorically.
After the purpose is clear, an important element in attempting to connect with and gain the trust of consumers is authenticity. Needless to say, make-believe will never cut it, neither will befuddled attempts to be “authentic”. Trying hard to be authentic is often inauthentic in itself and it may lead to blind belief in the conventional advice to “just be yourself” – which could lead to the disclosure of unnecessary information, some of which may tarnish a brand’s image.
So how does one ensure authenticity when writing a brand story without compromising on the need to make the brand sound its best? Lionel Trilling suggests that instead of trying to express our inner selves, we should start with what we want to present to others, and then truly strive to be whatever we claim to be. This applies to brands as well, authenticity can be shown in the sincerity to constantly improve and live up to a (usually) noble mission.
Adam Grant reiterates that in being authentic, the most important thing is to “live up to what comes out of your mouth”. Brands need to believe in their core purpose, put the belief into words that form a story, and align their actions to the essence of this story and purpose. All of these form the authenticity and personality of a brand and its story, which serve to capture consumer attention and set a brand apart from its competitors.
Need help in brand storytelling? Adwright has accumulated a wealth of experience in helping brands stand out from their competitors with unique and attractive brand stories. For over 20 years, Adwright has collaborated with clients that range from local SMEs to global corporations, spanning across a myriad of industries. We provide integrated solutions in branding, design, communications and beyond. Partner with us and embark on your unique brand journey today.