How To Write a Winning Brand Story

Discover a brand framework to write compelling stories

Brand identity
Photo by Kristian Egelund on Unsplash

Tyrion Lannister, played by Peter Dinklage, was undoubtedly the most intelligent character in the famous Game of Throne series. In the beginning, everyone wanted him dead. However, slowly his story grew on all of us.

He survived all the madness, the plot twists, and the wars to deliver a powerful message in the series finale. He said:

“What unites people? Armies? Gold? Flags? Stories. There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it.”

Think about it! Stories and storytellers bind you in time. In the end, all we remember is a great story.

Why does your favorite brand feel more than just a business?

If you look around and see your favorite brands, you’ll notice that they’re all great at telling stories. We become the protagonist in their stories.

Like owning Nike makes you feel like an athlete. In their commercial, you see sports celebrities and fitness enthusiasts reaching for the last rep to make fitness with Nike a satisfying experience. It’s relatable to anyone breaking a sweat in the gym or striding in a park.

Your story is a tool for your audience to identify you. It’s the vehicle you use to transition from being a business to becoming a brand.

In this article, we’ll talk about brand stories and everything you need to build one.

By the end of this episode, you’ll:

  • Know the essentials of building a brand early on
  • Realize how top businesses curate their brand through storytelling
  • Learn about different story arcs to write your brand story

So, let’s dive in.

In 2018, Drift, a conversational marketing platform, launched a book titled “This Won’t Scale,” where they shared everything they learned, tried, or hack to grow Drift.

Reading out a short excerpt from the book:

Three stages of business growth

All successful businesses in a competitive market go through 3 stages of hypergrowth.

Stage 1: The Edison stage where companies compete on commodities. All they need to win is a better product. However, as the market matures, scaling up production becomes a priority.

Stage 2: Model T stage where companies must learn to deliver consistent quality at scale.

Stage 3: The P&G Stage where features and production won’t get you very far. To compete, you need a brand to differentiate your company from your competitors.

Businesses that started now are witnessing the market being swamped with competitors. They need to bet on the brand to win.

Drift was quick at realizing it, and that’s what they did from day one. Instead of worrying much about marketing ROI, they relentlessly kept investing in their brand.

David Cancel, the founder of Drift, shared that your brand is the combined experience a person has when interacting with your product and your company.

The brand comes from working backward from the emotional value proposition of the world, not how it works but why it matters. Logo, color, identity is not the whole brand but are elements of a brand.

Six elements of a brand framework

Mike Troiano, the person behind brands like Coca Cola and Taco Bell, in his interview with ProfitWell, shared the six elements of a brand framework:

  1. Who’s the target? Target is an actionable universe of buyers. Something you can communicate.
  2. Finding the segment: In a room full of buyers, ask a qualifying question who is more likely to buy what you’re selling. Focus on that segment first.
  3. A category to provide a frame of reference: Some benchmark, analogy, pain to relate.
  4. Your differentiator: Your MOAT or competitive advantage.
  5. Proof of claim: It is perceived evidence of truth.
  6. Perception is reality: Anything, if repeated enough (say 30) times, is perceived as reality over a while.

All six elements together sound like this — For a target who has segments, the brand provides the category with distinction because of proof.

Examples of brand positioning:

Mike puts this framework in action by curating brand statements like:

“For drivers who value automobile performance, BMW provides luxury vehicles that deliver joy through German engineering.”

Now, dissect these statements and comprehend the wordplay.

Like, is german engineering proof of delivering joy? If the world perceives it that way, then it must be true.

“For people around the world, Cola cola is the real drink since 1886.”

What’s about the age of coke? 1886. Plus, coke is a real thing. If you tell someone something long enough, they tend to believe.

Now, pay attention to this one in the B2B space.

“For industrial manufacturers who are challenged to differentiate, BSF is a supplier which makes products better through engineering depth.”

BSF is a chemical supplier, but it’s trying to position itself explicitly to industrial manufacturers. The point of differentiation is that they make products better, and their proof is their internal engineering.

Once you figure out this construct, it will give you a starting point to think about the brand in depth.

Conclusion

Now, you might say — what happened to short copy being the best? Yes, bullets are excellent and rational. However, you have a better chance to add stickiness whenever you have a good guy, bad guy, or a narrative.

Patrick Campbell, the founder of Profitwell, said —

“Remember, just like your brand is never finished, your story is never finished. It’s going to have its ups, downs, and in-between, and that’s what’s going to help you build a stronger brand as possible.”

So, keep adding to the story as it’s always a work in progress.

Utkarsh works at the intersection of Sales, Marketing, and Product teams. He has spent the last 7 years helping SaaS startups to scale. Leads PMM @ Airmeet.