Crafting A Signature Brand Story: Tips and Examples


Julie Basque

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Are you ready to learn how to create a signature brand story that will captivate your audience and leave a lasting impression? Look no further! Brand stories are not just a trendy buzzword in marketing - they are a powerful tool for engaging your audience and communicating your brand's mission, values, and strategic intent.

Introduction: The Power of a Signature Brand Story

While tactical communication objectives can be supported by stories, there is a greater purpose to developing a strategic signature story. A signature story is unique to your brand and serves as a statement about who you are, what you stand for, and why you exist. It sets you apart from your competition and creates a connection with your customers on a deeper level.

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Gone are the days of reciting dry facts and features in hopes of being remembered. Signature stories are the way to go! Take REI, for example. This brand isn't just about outdoor gear and apparel - it's about a passion for exploring the great outdoors and being one with nature. And the story behind the brand is just as compelling as its products.

What Makes a Signature Brand Story Effective?

A signature brand story is a powerful tool in marketing because it can capture the attention of your audience, be remembered, change opinions, stimulate social activity, develop emotions, and communicate facts. But what makes a signature brand story effective?

First, it must be intriguing, thought-provoking, novel, provocative, interesting, informative, newsworthy or entertaining to your audience. Second, it must be authentic and not perceived as phony, contrived, or a transparent selling effort. The story should have substance and be supported by programs, policies or transparency. Third, it must be involving, drawing the audience into the story and provoking a cognitive, emotional, or behavioral response. Finally, it must be strategic, with a message linked to the brand that enables growth by clarifying or enhancing the brand, the customer relationship, the organization, or the business strategy.

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The Enduring Value of Signature Stories

Signature stories are an asset with enduring relevance and capacity to inspire and provide direction over a long period of time. They gain authenticity, traction, and influence as they get retold. Signature stories can be used to inspire and create a cornerstone for organizational culture and values for employees. For customers, a signature story can communicate the basic essence of a brand and organization and advance the strategic position of the brand and organization.

Finding Your Story Hero: Examples from Zappos

To find or create a signature brand story, look for story heroes. Stories can be motivated by a variety of heroes such as customers, employees, programs, a founder, an offering, a business revitalization strategy, or a future business revitalization strategy. The customer as hero can be effective because it is closely linked to either the organizational values or the brand's value proposition.

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Zappos serves as an exemplary model of a great brand story. Their focus on shoes may seem simple at first, but it is their commitment to wowing the customer that sets them apart. They have created signature stories that involve real people, such as Sally, a customer service representative, who goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure customer satisfaction. One such story involves Sally taking a 3AM customer care call, during which the caller requests to order a pizza. Rather than turning the customer away, Sally takes it upon herself to locate an open pizza restaurant and fulfill the order, creating an immediate sense of brand loyalty.

As a testament to their customer-centric approach, Zappos even extends kindness to those who receive their packages by mistake. Upon calling the company to inform them of the error, the representative not only offered to rectify the situation, but also rewarded the caller's honesty by allowing them to keep the shoes received in the package. This act of generosity has earned Zappos a dedicated customer base, including the writer, who still wears the slippers received in error and continues to shop with them to this day.

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In summary, a signature brand story can be a powerful marketing tool if it is intriguing, authentic, involving, and strategic. It should be created based on an understanding of who you are, what you do, and where you are going, and it should be motivated by a story hero that aligns with your brand vision and value proposition.