At Lexicon, we specialize in telling stories for many of Thailand’s leading brands. As the country’s #1 digital storytelling agency, we’re offered asked to share our advice on how to build a captivating brand story. In this article, we’ll give a swift outline of some of the key concepts.
Creating a compelling brand narrative in business will increase the perceived value of its goods or services, communicate a memorable mission and vision to the outside world, and win audience loyalty and engagement. When your audience hears, understands, and relates to your narrative, people will be more likely to engage with your brand. They will perceive you as a passionate and purpose-driven brand as they get to know your people, your mission, and the passion behind the business.
Find your unique angle
Because brand storytelling is becoming more and more popular, it makes sense to assume that your rivals will follow suit. It’s therefore important to establish a distinct style of storytelling that will set your story apart from that of your competitors in the public eye. This can happen through your social media presence but is especially relevant with video production.
The John Lewis Christmas advertisements are an excellent example of this philosophy at work. Since 2007, people have enjoyed their generally anthropomorphic, feel-good advertisements that convey a heartwarming tale during the Christmas season. No other department store has been able to compete with their Christmas marketing, because these commercials are so distinctive and have become inextricably linked with the John Lewis brand.
John Lewis has a distinct voice when communicating its messaging and you can do the same by developing a distinct tone of voice and visual identity for your branding. Putting together a brand book which gives your business a clearly defined brand persona is an excellent first step in developing your own storytelling voice.
Prioritize your purpose over the product
Founders are frequently surprised to learn that the products they’ve spent so much time creating should not be at the forefront of their brand’s story. As tough as it may be to accept, your product is not your narrative. Rather, your story is found in your purpose — your reason for being. The products are simply one piece of the puzzle that will create a successful brand story.
So how do you build a purpose? This all starts with Simon Sinek’s big question of why do you exist as a business? This seminal work shows businesses everywhere how to get in touch with their true calling as entrepreneurs and business owners. Nike provides an excellent example of a business purpose beyond just making sports shoes: to move the world forward through the power of sport. Worldwide, we’re leveling the playing field, doing our part to protect our collective playground, and expanding access to sport for everyone.
There are multiple ways to identify your business’ purpose. At Lexicon, we’ve used a system called the Traction EOS but there are many business and culture strategy specialists who could help you to set your mission, vision and values in place. In fact, our CEO may even be able to give you a hand.
Identify the hero and the villain
Make it clear that your consumers are the heroes of your narrative, and name the enemy they’re battling against. This enemy could be anything from global warming to hazardous cosmetics that cause skin irritation. Whatever problem your brand aims to tackle, it must be central to your narrative.
You can consider this hero-first approach the classic buyer persona archetype. By knowing your audience and how their wants and needs pertain to your business, you are able to craft narratives that inspire, education and inform.
Not sure who to portray as the villain in the story? Consider your purpose. What are you shielding your consumers from? Which attitudes does your brand hope to change through its existence? Your adversary does not have to be a competitor. It might simply be the issue that your business is attempting to address through its goods, mission, and marketing.
During the COVID-19 pandemic it was easy to identify a villain as the pandemic hit all industries hard. In the post-pandemic world, your hero is likely to have a multitude of problems: from expensive car insurance to a bulging belly and early onset diabetes. How does your business help them to get to a better place? This is the story you need to tell.
Share mishaps and misadventures
A compelling tale follows an arc rather than a straight line. As a result, to keep things interesting, it must incorporate some difficulties along the way. These all-too-human challenges and interactions, if played the right way, will foster trust between your business and its potential customers. Sharing vulnerable experiences helps to humanize your brand and foster a sense of community.
This is especially true with personal branding where you are building direct one-to-one connections with your target audience. Nobody wants to hear about your success all the time. It’s good to be vulnerable sometimes and to share some of the lessons you’ve learned on your journey. This also helps your target audience to see you as an experienced guide who’s solved problems like theirs before.
A fairy tale ending is not required
It’s been drilled into us that a story isn’t complete unless the antagonist is vanquished and the mission is accomplished. Let go of the instinct to frame your experience with a perfectly packaged finale, and appreciate where you are on the path right now, whether it’s celebrating a victory, or in the midst of a fight.
A mission-driven brand launch is generally the start of an enthralling tale, not the finish, and if you stay true to your brand from the start, you’ll establish a dedicated customer base that will help you get through hard periods. Of course, good storytelling requires expertise as well as a clear picture of how your business wants to be known. Whether you want to tell your story through animation, social media or at our green screen studio in Bangkok, get in touch with us, and we’ll guide you on the journey ahead.
About the Author
Piyanat Jantharot is a Senior Brand Strategist at Lexicon working working with leading brands to develop impactful stories on a daily basis. His team manages executive brands for busy CEOs, runs B2B marketing campaigns and develops social media marketing strategies.
Lexicon is an award-winning brand storytelling agency focusing on telling impactful stories for clients based in Thailand and South East Asia. Lexicon has been around for almost a decade and has told thousands of stories just like yours.