Creating a Brilliant Brand Narrative… in Four Easy Steps (Or, What Keeps Founders Up at Night)

Bold graphic that reads Who What How Why

Bold graphic that reads Who What How Why

I will admit that the very notion of “brand building” is daunting. It carries with it the heavy expectation that the outcome must be grand and game-changing. Which, by inference, means your endeavor/enterprise/business must also be grand and game-changing. After spending lots of time with entrepreneurs and business founders, I have come to believe that their greatest fear isn’t just that they will fail, but that their babies are ugly. Their ideas trivial. Their accomplishments unremarkable.

I’m here to assure you that just as every picture tells a story (thank you, Rod Stewart for that lovely idea), every brand has a story to tell, as well. Brand building is a visionary, evolving process that involves the courage to invest both head and heart into understanding — and ultimately illuminating — what is unique and ownable about your brand. And once you have a bead on the essence of your brand, it takes discipline and tenacity to nurture it.

OK. Now how do you do that?

Start with creating a narrative that tells your brand story. It will establish your connection to your brand, which will then enable others to do the same. Give your stakeholders – staff, customers, partners, etc. – a reason to see you more than simply a product or a service, but as a relatable, familiar and trusted partner. And once you have a narrative that feels right, you have the ability to implement consistent messaging across all communication channels, including your website, collateral, advertising, and social media.

There are an infinite number of ways to approach creating a brand narrative, but if this is unchartered territory, it’s best to keep it simple…Think about by answering the most fundamental questions…

Who are we?
What do we do?
How do we do what we do?
Why does it matter?

If it feels like your narrative is a cliché, then it probably is. Push harder to discover an insight into your brand that is uniquely yours, and compelling enough to engage others. Stretch and take chances. And don’t settle.


Do you have other suggestions on how to build a strong brand narrative? Voice your opinions in our comments.

Illustration Credit: Luca Pontarelli, Graphic Design Intern at Otherwise Incorporated