Brand Narrative fundamentals: what it takes to make your brand story stick
It takes 0.05 seconds for a brand to make an impression.
Because the ways you communicate send signals that shape impressions, perceptions, thoughts and emotions that people associate with you and your business — positive, negative and neutral. Whether it’s conscious or not.
Brands are multi-dimensional, so building them can require the skills of strategists, designers, writers, motion designers, developers — sometimes even sound designers. But today we’re spotlighting the work of the word people. The writers, meaning-miners, detail-devoted, language-enlivened humans who bring context, meaning, emotion and agility to brands.
Your Brand Narrative is so much more than your origin story, it’s an opportunity to connect with your audiences on a deeper, more meaningful level. Thoughtfully crafted and tactically executed, a Brand Narrative is is your single most powerful tool for building relationships, educating, entertaining, inspiring, and influencing.
In a world overcome by AI, your brand will set you apart. So there’s never been a better time to develop a brand story and express it in a voice and tone that’s uniquely yours.
OK, let’s roll.
If you try to be everything to everyone, your message becomes diluted and generic. The first question to ask is, what are the defining characteristics of your existing and prospective customer base? Then, find out.
At JM, the outcome of this process is a set of Customer Hypotheses that allow us to step into the shoes of our client’s customers, and design a narrative that is relevant to the needs, wants, expectations and aspirations of the people who matter to your business most.
We can all see through the BS (and the AI). Your written content should reflect your personality and genuinely connect to the real life human recipients. Authenticity builds trust over time. So the next time you go to tell someone about your greatest business success, try telling them about your greatest failure instead.
Voice and Tone
Just like your own voice, your brand voice brings dimension, personality and individuality to what you’re saying, and dictates the kind of relationship you’ll have with your audiences. Where voice is stable, and unchanging, your tone will vary, like it might between the boardroom and the bar.
It helps to start with a set of Brand Personality Traits. If you imagine your business like a human, you’ll find yourself writing more like one.
Storytelling activates various regions of the brain associated with language, perception, and social cognition, which helps us create vivid mental images that increase social connection, empathy and memorability.
Storytelling is a craft. So seek opportunities to tell stories, learn from other skilled storytellers, and embrace your own unique style.
As humans, we relate to others’ personal experiences, so if testimonials, reviews and user-generated content aren’t in your existing tool kit, make a note.
Emotive content is gravitational because we see ourselves in the emotions, personal feelings and experiences of others. It’s how we relate. Make sure your narrative is designed to connect to the positive experiences people will have with your products and services as a result of using them. Feelings over stats, facts or features.
If you’ve ever gone through a funding round, you’ll be acutely, painfully aware of this one. Investors take hundreds of meetings with founders, only to invest in a handful. Crafting unique moments for your brand narrative to shine will amplify its impact and make sure you’re remembered long after the conversation ends.
Consistency and Alignment
Our writers work alongside designers so there’s a symbiotic relationship between brands’ visual identities and their narratives. You should too. As a cross-functional team, Design and Content are far greater than the sum of their parts. Working together is not only a catalyst for creative thinking, it ensures your brand makes a consistent, coherent and immediately recognizable impression.
Remember, your Brand Narrative isn’t a static instrument or a PDF buried in a Marketing folder, it lives, evolves and flexes alongside your business over time. The needs, wants and expectations of your customers are fluid, so be ready to ebb and flow with them.
Ready to get your Brand content in order? Get in touch with Jeremiah: email@example.com or Blake: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to talk more about Brand Narrative, Content or Taylor Swift’s place in our cultural zeitgeist? I’m ya gal — get in touch on LinkedIn or at email@example.com.