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Your Brand Story isn’t just your history, your CEO’s story, your stats and numbers, anything like that.

Any of those things can effectively be part of it, but an actual Brand Story is much more than a narrative. It’s about inspiring emotion and forming your audience’s beliefs and responses to your brand as a living thing with its own living tale.

And it has everything to do with your audience—how they feel and what they believe about you based on the signals your brand sends. The story is a complete picture made up of facts, feelings, and interpretations. It goes beyond the copy on a website, the text in a brochure, or the presentation used to pitch investors. Your story isn’t just what you tell people. It’s how you tell it.

Your brand’s character.

Just like in a story, your brand has a certain character. You’re always going to be the hero (or anti-hero) of your own story, and central to your own plot. Action never happens without you.

But as a character, how do you navigate tense situations? How do you negotiate your way through life into change? The way your character — your brand — handles these situations is what inspires your audience.

Create a narrative.

Storytelling is the most powerful element of your Brand’s Story. Think about the distance between describing Grey’s Anatomy as “it’s about people in a hospital” and an enthusiastic fan describing major plot points and long-running character developments that help to explain why it is that this person is so enthusiastic about the show. Think of this person as your client or customer: this is exactly why you want to provide thoughts, feelings, and beliefs for them to pass along.

Guest speakers.

You’re not going to be the only one telling your Brand’s Story. At one time, word of mouth was critical. But social media never sleeps, and your brand has its own 24-hour news cycle. People are out there engaging with your brand constantly. Having a story to fall back on is essential. You need to maintain control over the public perception you’ve worked hard to create.

Everything you do, from the colors and texture of your packaging to the staff you hire, is part of your Brand Story, and every element of it should reflect the truth about your brand back to your audience. If you want to build a successful, sustainable business, start here.

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