The ability to create and communicate your brand story is critical for any company wanting to thrive in today’s competitive market. One organisation that has mastered this is fashion retailer Burberry, with 498 stores (2016) and valued at £2.5 billion (2015), this powerhouse understands the key components needed to make and sustain a brand using the influence of storytelling.
As outlined by former Burberry CEO, Angela Ahrendts, creating an emotional connection with your audience is the essence of great brand behaviour, “We put emotion before the hard product.” says Angela in Burberry’s iconic Brand Story Video. So, how can you build a better brand? Read on.
Use Your History
Every brand, in fact, everything in existence has a history. Anyone who ever started a brand has a past and a set of experiences that can be used to authentically connect their brand with its desired audience(s). But for most, when embarking on a new challenge to create a brand, they forget about this history; they assume that it is no longer useful. However, it is in the communication of the brand’s foundation that trust is built. No-one wants to buy into something that has no beginning or feel like they are working with a brand that has popped out of thin air. You must tell the story of where your desire to birth this brand came from and contextualise it in the story of your history; in doing so you will add a new dimension to your brand.
Communicate the Pain
Most brands are created out of pain. Someone’s burning desire to fix something, solve something or make something right again. Think about it; Steve Jobs started Apple because he wanted to change the status quo, which meant he was probably sick and tired of the status quo. Henry Ford started Ford Motor Cars because he wanted the everyday man to be able to afford cars, which I can assume meant he wasn’t very happy that only the wealthy could drive. Thomas Burberry invented gabardine, an innovative waterproof fabric made of tightly woven wool and cotton, which was worn by soldiers in the Boer War and World War One, the company supplied around half a million to the British Army to make the Tielocken, the forerunner to the modern-day trench coat. Great brands are birthed from a place of pain. Use yours to differentiate yourself/your company and connect with your audience.
Tell the Truth
Your brand story needs to be authentically true to you and your organisation. It needs to come from a place of why and not what. Why did you start this? Why did you feel a need to create this? Why won’t you let it go? Why is it going to help others? Don’t communicate what you do, communicate why you do, what you do. Your brand story should come from a place of honesty and be true to the values and essence of the organisation or individual. If the truth is perceived as difficult it’s because the brand creator feels it will leave them vulnerable, but the truth is what will connect your story to your listeners. The truth is what will make people care, build trust and allow you to secure customers.
The term glocalisation has been around for a while. The idea that thinking globally by acting locally is key to brand success, has propelled marketers to fine-tune their strategies to ensure they make the most out of the global market. From Coca-Cola scrapping its local UK marketing director in favour of a more regional strategy, to KFC serving porridge for breakfast and Peking Duck burgers for lunch in Shanghai; innovative marketers are no longer seeing global and local as the two ends of a dichotomous spectrum, but instead they understand that a hybrid of global and local is not only possible but the most profitable outcome. Build a better brand by going glocal.
Maximise Social Media
Measuring the monetary impact of social media has always been a challenge, but social media seems to be working to not only promote but to drive sales. As the preferred social media platform for fashionistas, bloggers and designers, independent boutiques are using Instagram to level the playing field and sell products every day.
One such example is Fox and Fawn, a vintage store in Brooklyn that has reported that Instagram has delivered 25% of their sales increase. For new boutiques that do not have the same large advertising budgets that their mainstream competitors may have, making sales through creative and very targeted content, with heavy call-to-actions and customer loyalty schemes are attractive alternatives. The key to success goes beyond creativity and lies in retailers’ response rates and open dialogue with the consumer, which can be shared amongst their followers opening the promotions to new customer groups.
Building a better brand takes thought and consistency. Take the time to build a better brand. Your profits will thank you for it.
About the expert
Kubi is a branding expert with over 20 years experience, and the founder of www.shebuildsbrands.com