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How to create a compelling brand story

Successful brands make an emotional connection with their audience. The inspiration of your brand is the foundation to your brand strategy.

In today's fast pace digital world, when we all know how hard it is to cut above the noise, customers' expectations of brands changing and we are expected to deliver on experience not just on the delivery of our products alone.

Quite simply, some brands, even the larger ones, will fail to survive.

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Windows of opportunity for the smaller brands who have an authentic and compelling story

However, this opens up a window of opportunity for those brands, often the smaller ones, who have a compelling authentic story behind their product or service that delights the purchaser and adds to the experience of their purchase and being smaller are able to give that personalised experience that customers desire.

Being based in the Cotswolds, we are surrounded by some incredible brands and there are plenty of great examples of brands who make that emotional connection with their market, we'll touch on just a couple of our local friends:

Cotswold Distillery has a great story as well as some great products (particularly if you are a gin or whiskey connoisseur) and the experience they offer whether purchasing at their outlets or through online sales is well crafted and great fun. It is quite obvious why people will repeat purchase and want to visit their customer experience/distillery tour as this also adds to their story and arouses positive emotions.

Another local brand is the beautiful Broadway based, Little Soap Company, headed up by Emma Heathcote-James, who has created an organic, ethical brand which is gaining great traction in major retailers. Emma's story is awesome and inspired by her grandmother who made her own soap, Emma has ensured that this story remains forefront in the brand journey as well as bringing her journey into play. The combination of a great product as well as a great story and of course a huge amount of hard work has enabled Emma to see her product on the shelves of Waitrose and Boots as well as giving customers the opportunity to visit their HQ for soap making workshops.

The secret of both of these businesses is not just having a great product but definitely a great story and brand experience. Cotswold Distillery injects personality and fun across its social media presence and Emma Heathcote-James successfully shares the progression of the Little Soap Company's story by regularly sharing the highs and lows on her own personal social media accounts (including that of her cute black lab, Henry - @cotswoldlabrador) as well as that of the business and this enables a real connection to her customer base.

Authenticity is key as well as showing personality and humour - all important facets in storytelling.

By creating an expectation for the experience that you will deliver and then follow through and deliver upon - your brand story will help set that expectation.

So how do you go about writing your Brand Story?

When you start thinking about your brand story, you need to start by thinking about your theme. There are essentially a handful of story lines - the most successful movies are essentially based upon the following:

1. A quest to find something special/a discovery;

2. A rags to riches story;

3. Good vs evil;

4. Revenge/love themes;

5. Survival; and

6. An individual's fight against society or injustice.

Now some of these themes are a little extreme to consider - revenge is probably not the best theme to use to promote your new product, unless perhaps tongue in cheek and maybe more for a targeted marketing campaign rather than your brand strategy!

If you are a start-up or have a great founder storyline like Emma or a purpose that you want your product or service to fulfil, then tell it - your customers genuinely want to know.

If you are a more established brand, your story can reflect the values that your company holds or something that it is focussed on changing.

Always think about your brand's personality and positioning and write short summaries of story ideas.

Review and then set in motion

Then once you've done that - take a fresh look at them and consider:

1. Your credibility?

Why are YOU qualified to sell this product?

2. Differentiation?

Why are you DIFFERENT from everyone else who sells this type of product? And be positive and open!

3. Purpose?

Why are you in business? Consider what difference or impact you are trying to make - use emotion if possible - people appreciate passion and that you care.

4. Intrigue and Personality

What makes your story worth listening to? What aspects of it will appeal to the customer at a personal level? Memorable brand stories tell the unexpected, they will challenge, even dare the viewer and they will definitely strike an emotional chord. Allow your personality to shine through, share what you stand for, set expectations and communicate your values.

Your brand story is influential and a powerful element of your brand strategy - get that right then you can choose the most appropriate medium to share it.


Award-winning Red Lemon are specialists in 2d animated and stop motion video, motion-graphics and design for print and web - do get in touch if you need help with your storytelling


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