Unlike a pitch about features and benefits, a brand story takes you to the often humble origins of a product and its founders. It should contain at least one memorable piece of information that is uncommon, enlightening, or surprising.
The purpose of the brand story is to create a lasting relationship with the customer. Generally stemming from curiosity, the customer identifies with the founder and his/her vision of a unique and successful solution to a need.
Here are 3 important elements, with some questions for your consideration, to help you compose your own great brand story:
How the product began. When did the product or brand come about? Who was the founder or inventor? What were the circumstances surrounding its inception? Where did the idea come from? What problem did it solve? What was the original vision of the founder? How did he finance his idea? How did the product or brand change or evolve over time? Who have been the brand owners or stewards?
How it was marketed. How was it financed during its start-up? Was it bootstrapped? What were the challenges and solutions to getting the brand to the market? How long did it take to gain traction? Through what channels was it marketed? What was the brand promise, and is it still delivering? What is the significance of the logo? How is the brand positioned, and what other brands does it compare to in price, value, dependability, and niche?
How it is perceived by the consumer. Where and when does the consumer see it? Does it fill the customer’s need? Is it still relevant? Does the brand stand for more than the product it represents? What is the extent of its community outreach? What is the reputation of the brand? What awards, accolades, and endorsements has the brand garnered? Is it dependable? Is there continuity?
Depending on your audience’s interest and attention span, you can mix and match the questions posed here to develop the content and length of your own brand story. Remember, brand stories need to be informative, entertaining, and consistent. You may have to deliver your brand story in a short elevator speech, or you may have to give a formal presentation.
Give them a compelling story they can identify with. Include your challenges.
Overcoming adversity, through sheer genius or dumb luck, is an integral part of the success stories we all love.
Who Are We.
Having built and sold a bestselling national brand, we appreciate the value of brands and everything it takes to make them successful. Companies are valued by their brand equity. Achieving and maximizing brand equity requires tremendous respect for all your customers, from your wholesaler to your end user.
Starting in our laundry room with no money and no knowledge of the industry, we built the famous Barefoot Wine brand. We learned a lot they don’t teach in school and much of it the hard way. Although our success was in consumer products, our real world experience will be helpful to anyone looking for information and advice about brands.
We have written the New York Times Bestselling Business Book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand, which chronicles the history of the famous brand from its inception through its acquisition. Our book is now required reading in schools of entrepreneurship across the country. We hope this book will provide inspiration and encouragement for all those contemplating starting a brand or wanting to improve their existing brand.
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey
-Barefoot Wine Founders