In branding, we talk a lot about stories and narratives. We hear people say things like, “use storytelling to increase engagement” or, “make sure you control your brand narrative.” But we aren’t always clear on what we mean between the two. A story is something of a finite nature, comprising a beginning, middle, and end. A story is the tool we employ to tell people about the tangible ways in which our organizations make an impact, the arc that helps us compose our histories, and snapshots of projects and programs. But a narrative is infinite. A narrative is forever in the process of unfurling. A narrative has no true resolution. A brand narrative is the thread that runs through each story we tell and unites them as a single brand experience. These are the words we use to keep the conversation going about our stories and the overarching dialogue we want people to be having about our brands. We’ve worked with a number of great organizations to create strong brand narratives — including United for News, GrowFund, She Should Run and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Here are a number of approaches we see as fundamental in developing a powerful brand narrative.
Start with SimplicityThe key to keeping your narrative true to your organization lies in understanding what makes your narrative unique to your brand. Determine with your communications team what the key tenets of your brand are, and how you stick to them. This should be strongly rooted in your mission and vision and “truths” about the work that you do on a regular basis. Write down a few sentences about what is true about your brand and how you intend to continuously deliver on those truths. This is the start of your “brand promise.”
Resonate with Your AudiencesNow ask yourself, does this resonate with what your audiences see in your brand? Maybe you would benefit from a bit of light audience perception research to determine if you are hitting the mark. You will want to ensure that your brand promise is something that matters to your target audiences and is something that you can consistently provide each time they interact with you. Create content and experiences that invite your audiences to feel as though they are a part of your narrative.
Keep It ConsistentKeep your brand narrative close at all times. Translation: make sure that everything from a new sentence on your site to a big, brand new initiative oozes your brand narrative. When crafting or updating your content strategy, creating messaging, or writing social media posts, ensure that the stories you tell, and the words you use are representative of your brand narrative. Make sure that each time you sit down to think about how your audience experiences your brand, that they will walk away with the same feeling each time.
Looking to take your brand to the next level?
We’d be happy to talk through how you can strengthen your organization’s brand narrative. Get in touch today!