What is Brand Storytelling?

brand storytelling

Brand storytelling can greatly enhance interest and engagement in you and your business. It has emerged from the explosion of content marketing, brand journalism and article writing that has taken a prominent role in today’s marketing mix.

Each one of these brands consistently tells their story through their visual imaging and content messaging over several platforms and media. They have all built an awareness and relationship with you of their products and values.

Who doesn’t know these names and what they offer?

what is brand storytelling

Your brand story is more than what you tell people. It is what they believe about you based on all the signals your brand sends out. The story is a complete picture of the facts, feelings and interpretations, which are shared about your business by you, your customers, your community and the public in general.

As Christopher Ratcliff of Econsultancy explains:

“It’s a phrase we all understand because it’s one of the fundamental ways we communicate ideas, educate and entertain each other from infancy. We remember information far better when it’s in the form of story rather than as a list of facts. People tell stories, art tells stories, TV tells stories, ads tell stories… so it seems straightforward enough when a marketer talks about ‘storytelling’, we know what they mean…”

Business Brand Storytelling Combines Several Essential Aspects

  • Who you are
  • What you specifically do
  • How you solve problems
  • How you add value and care
  • How you engage and contribute

Here’s part of a cool infographic that follows 85 years of brand storytelling since the 1930s.

what is brand storytelling

5 Elements Make for Great Brand Storytelling

Keep it Simple and Easy to Understand

It’s best to brand for the masses, not just your insiders.

A great example of this is Dove. According to statistics, only 4 percent of women feel good about themselves across the globe. Dove decided to do something that would move the other 96 percent.

From the very beginning, they tried to look for an idea that could actually prove that most women were wrong about their self-image.

They had several ideas, but “Real Beauty Sketches” really stood out. The ad depicts an FBI forensic artist named Gil Zamora sketching women (that he can’t see) by the way they describe themselves. The idea is that women are too critical of themselves.

The tagline: “YOU are more beautiful than you think!”

Make it Emotional

Include characters, personality, humor, pain and joy. Some of the best ways to accomplish this is through blogging, article writing, video, podcasting, webinars and workshops.

Tell Your Truth

Insofar as you believe it and as it has helped others. Share specific examples of your brand in action including the product, process and people that make it happen.

Use First Hand, Real Time Experiences and Examples

Show and tell what you do daily and tell the stories of others you see going through their experiences.

Make it Relatable

So that it is touches people, is poignant and authentic, lingers, entertains and inspires people to want to share and pass it on.

Your brand is you. Your branding is everything you do to promote and market yourself.

4 Tips and Examples for Telling Your Brand Story

Use Specific, Meaningful Ideas

Go Pro Camera is an amazing example of a company and product that is such an integral and important part of our personal and business lives today: visual marketing and storytelling. They make cameras and accessories that fit and fulfill what we do today to capture and share our lives. Their slogan is “This is your life. Be the hero. Capture and share your world.”

Use your Website, Social Media and Email Marketing

Clif Bar is much more than just a power bar for athletes. Husband and wife team, Gary and Kit Crawford, were being pressured to sell Clif Bar. In 2001, they made the brave decision to stay private allowing them to develop an innovative business model guided by Five Aspirations—Sustaining our Business, Brands, People, Community and the Planet. With a portfolio of great-tasting food crafted for athletes and active people, they have become a category leader among health and lifestyle bars.

Balance your Online and In-Person Activities

Ben & Jerry’s operates on a three-part mission that aims to create linked prosperity for everyone that’s connected to our business: suppliers, employees, farmers, franchisees, customers, and neighbors alike. Their product, economic and social missions assure that their central role that business in society is initiating innovative ways to improve the quality of life locally, nationally and internationally.

Share your Successes and Failures

The NFL, Target and McDonald’s all have a compelling comeback story. They all got hit with safety and health issues, massive data breaches, higher worker wages and changing food wants, needs and options.

They had to make swift and significant changes to streamline, simplify and align with public opinion. They learned they cannot hide or rest on any laurels and must be accountable to their employees and all their generational customers.

Brand storytelling is a powerful, personal and effective way to keep you real and top of mind. It educates, inspires and ultimately will help you sell and build indispensable relationships and loyalty with your customers and community.

There was a person that had a dream of helping other people solve their problems. So, they created a simple, easy to use solution and asked people to test and try it.

The people really liked it, but had a few suggestions on how to make it better. The person listened, made some modifications and continued to test it. When they were sure it was ready for all to see, they launched it on a bigger scale through marketing, advertising, networking, word of mouth, journalism and social media and it is now a successful small business that helps many people.

This can be your story and it can come true for you, too.

Apple Store Photo via Shutterstock


Deborah Shane Deborah Shane has been recognized as a Top 100 Small Business Champion and Top 50 SMB Influencer (Dunn and Bradstreet 2015). She is a career transition author, personal branding and social media specialist. Deborah's book "Career Transition: Make the Shift" is available through all major book sellers.

14 Reactions
  1. These days, it is not enough to just have a product or service. People need a story to understand what you stand for and why you do what you do.

    • Most importantly today, is to connect with people on an authentic level. Values, beliefs, humor and personality.

  2. An inspiring and thought-provoking article. Small businesses often under-estimate the power of Brand, feeling that only larger companies have Brand awareness. Thanks for including lesser-known companies in your examples. Well done!

    • Thanks Scott. All of us big and small are brands and important to the people and community that supports and follows us.

  3. Deborah: Thanks for sharing this story about brands! I am my own, personal brand, EGO (I am in Latin).

  4. Interesting article Deborah! It is true that in today’s world a product won’t sell itself. Brand storytelling allows people to get a better understanding of a product, which definitely makes them more prone to buying it. You mentioned some really great examples.

  5. WOW what a very informative article, no company can make it without storytelling, because that is how you connect to a people’s emotions, you must touch a persons heart in order to touch their pockets, I like it very much thank madam Deborah