How do you know what brand story to tell?

Story Structure HierarchyWhat is the most effective brand story to tell? Do we just focus on relating our purpose? When do we talk about our product/service?

There is no one universal answer. We can’t create just one story and expect it to be optimal regardless of where our prospects are in their journey to becoming our customers.

We need multiple stories in our arsenal. Creating one powerful story is no easy task. So being told you have to come up with multiple stories can feel exasperating.

The good news is that if we understand the key elements of our story framework, we can mix and match those elements to create a compelling story that lines up with wherever our prospects are in their journey.

The brand story framework

There are multiple elements of an effective framework. We’ll focus on the three major ones to help us understand how to build our stories:

  • The features – these are the key elements of what we do. These can be aspects of our product or service, or a special process we have and more.
  • The emotional benefit – features are rational things. A benefit is what comes from the sum of our most impressive features. It is emotionally compelling. As such, it is more desirable to our prospects than any feature.
  • Our purpose – this is the difference we help make in a life, a community, or even the world. When well constructed, this can be the most powerful element of our framework.

Defining and describing each of these three elements gives us the pieces to create a story for wherever our prospects are in the customer journey.

Lead with the purpose element to create the most emotionally-charged story. When our customers are evaluating whether or not we should be in their decision set, lead with the emotional benefit. When they are comparing us to their other choices, bring the features forward.

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Experiment with the three elements. Sometimes we lead with the purpose element but want to have mentions of the features and emotional benefit. At the other end of the spectrum, we may lead with the features and have mentions of the other two elements. By experimenting, we start to get a feel for how our stories should be structured.

The combination of story formulas changes from brand to brand. What doesn’t change is that there are always these three elements. If we define those elements, it will put us well on our way to knowing what brand story to tell.