Apple is one of the biggest companies in the world, its iPhones and computers built on the back of Steve Jobs’ tenacity and ingenuity. We all remember the electricity in the air during his 2007 introduction to the iPhone. He presented Apple’s newest product as not just the latest line of tech, but the next step in human progression.
More than just selling products, Jobs was the master of selling stories. With Jobs at the helm, Apple became the premium tech company in the world through both its products and its superior brand story. It presents itself as the cutting edge of technology and culture with all of the coolest gadgets you need. That brand story catapulted Apple to be the first company to break a $2 trillion valuation.
The business world is dog-eat-dog. For every company that succeeds and becomes the envy of Wall Street, there are three times as many that wilt and die. If you want the keys to success, you need a sure-fire brand story to market your company.
Take Patagonia for instance. There are many outdoor brands, but Patagonia presents itself as environmentally and socially conscious. They’re champions of Mother Earth. Meanwhile, Disney World presents itself as the happiest place on earth (never mind long lines and crying babies). Disney creates a family-friendly image that instantly conjures feelings of nostalgia and childhood warmth.
The brand story should be at the heart of your company. It is your company’s mission statement, past, and future. It’s the figurative hook for which you hang all of your marketing and advertising campaigns. Sure, you can advertise without establishing a brand story. Just like you can go to the beach during summer without sunblock. But you might get burnt in the process.
So what makes a successful brand story? A brand story should be instantly recognizable and relatable. But it should also be honest to your company’s origins and past. Customers can smell through a BS story. Today’s consumers want authenticity from their brands and an attempt to be disingenuous could wind up backfiring.
A brand story should be simple and to the point. Or in other words, don’t cloud the message by trying to overcomplicate things. You don’t have to try to reinvent the wheel when developing a message for your company. Sometimes, the simplest approach is the best. Say, for instance, you are a food manufacturer who only uses organic products. Your brand story is that you care about healthy eating and the environment. Simple but instantly effective.
Your brand story should convey what kinds of products or services you offer. For instance, John Deere tractors’ brand story is that of championing the working man. The company’s brand story fits with its business model of selling tractors and other farming equipment. Whatever your company, your narrative should make sense with what you are offering. So stare in that figurative mirror, give yourself a pep talk and find your value.
The best brand stories are both narrowly focused and inherently human. Remember you want to connect with your audience. Your brand story should establish your identity, a problem your customers face, and how your product or service can solve that problem.
After establishing a brand story, it’s important to stick to your guns and continue to flesh out your company’s identity through marketing. Everything should be tailored back to who you are and what you want to accomplish. It may take time but as Steve Jobs once said, “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”