This 10-part article explains how to create a compelling brand story for your company, products and services. Great brands are great stories that are always in the process of being told, refreshed and continued. Great brand stories are easy to recognize and sometimes happen intuitively, but a clear framework can improve your chances of success.
The next ring out from the Core of The Brand Wheel answers three key questions that create a foundational brand platform:
Positioning: What is the defining point of difference of a brand?
Promise: What is the brand’s single-most important value proposition?
Personality: How should the brand feel?
A brand position is what your brand stands for. A positioning statement is a tight, one-sentence statement that defines the brand as a unique and compelling market player. A good position is one that no other brand can legitimately claim with the same level of credibility and conviction.
A clear-cut position will help the brand to stand out—and stand above—competing products and initiatives. It focuses the brand’s unique relevance and appeal to its target audience(s).
As Applied Storytelling advocates, an effective positioning statement includes supporting rationale detailing credibility, defensibility, ownability and relevance.
Nike’s owns the position of most innovative athletic brand. The company asserts that if you have a body, you are an athlete and Nike’s DNA has always been to be the most innovative provider of equipment and apparel. The company cascades technologies that were once cutting edge into its lifestyle products for people who appreciate being associated with winning athletes.
As outlined in Applied Storytelling’s Brand Wheel framework, a brand promise is what the brand does for people. It’s a one-sentence statement of the most important value proposition the brand can credibly make to its primary target audience. It provides a clear, immediate read on the overarching benefit the brand delivers, helping to organize and prioritize all other benefits (value propositions). This helps to generate high-level awareness and spur engagement.
The character of a brand is expressed through its personality—a list and description of 3-5 key traits of the brand. These traits shape a distinct and consistent look and feel, further guiding the brand’s visual identity and verbal tone.
One way of unlocking a brand’s personality is to use projective questioning techniques. For example, you can ask customers to imagine that your brand is knocking at the door (figuratively speaking) and ask them to describe who they see walking through the door when they open it.
The athlete who first personified Nike’s brand is Steve Prefontaine or “Pre” for short. He was a fierce competitor whose brash, in-your-face style came to epitomize Nike’s brand of driven competition. Infamous Prefontaine quotes include the following:
“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”
“Success isn’t how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started.”
“A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more.”
“Don’t let fatigue make a coward of you.”
“You have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there. Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.”
“I’m going to work so that it’s a pure guts race at the end, and if it is, I am the only one who can win it.”
“Somebody may beat me but they are going to have to bleed to do it.”
Prefontaine’s personality traits still shine through Nike’s brand communications.
DemoChimp helps companies consistently communicate a brand’s position, brand promise and brand personality in a way that is personalized for each member of the buying committee.
DemoChimp is Software as a Service (SaaS) that automates custom product demos to accelerate sales. Our interactive demo platform personalizes video and documents so each prospect automatically learns about your solution in the most relevant way. This cuts sales cycles and increases close rates. Our Demolytics™ dashboard helps you discover and engage the entire buying committee by gathering analytics and tracking who’s involved, what’s important to them, what they watched, and who they shared it with. This drives consensus and gets to a purchase decision much faster than traditional sales methods. Clients have cut their sales cycles by 68% and jumped close rates by 27%.
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