Why your Brand doesn’t TELL the story – it IS the story

There are multiple approaches to branding and marketing which attempt to explain what they both are, if they are the same as each other, and how to execute them correctly. At Marketing Troubadour, we explain branding and marketing through the lens of story, because it is relatable. Humans are hard wired for story, and storytelling helps us connect to one another and adds meaning and sense to our lives.

The concept is simple. Branding IS your story, Marketing is telling that story.

Branding without marketing doesn’t work. Marketing without branding doesn’t work. Why?

Because a story without a storyteller is a missed opportunity, and a storyteller without a story is just boring.

Here’s an example that may help solidify this idea of “brand equals story.” If you met your friend John for lunch and he told you that you really should meet his new friend, Sarah, you might say something to John like “why, what’s her story?” Do you mean it in a literal way? Do you want to hear the written, documented story of Sarah, beginning with when and where she was born, her address, her resume of education and professional experience, her height, weight, and shoe size? I highly doubt that is the story you are referring to. You are more likely wondering about who Sarah is as a person. Sure, you may want to know her age and what her current job is, but you also want to know other traits, like what her sense of humor is like, what her political beliefs are, what she values, and what kind of movies and books and music she likes. All these things, and more, are what make up Sarah’s story.

Your business or non-profit can be viewed in much the same way. In addition to the facts: what you sell and when you started; your story includes your mission, your core values, why you started your business, who your ideal clients are, what you want to look like (trendy, edgy, serious, fun?), and your messaging. Your story also includes what you want people to feel like when they encounter your brand, your people, or your products or services. This whole collection of information, ideas, looks, and beliefs that make up your story is the same as your brand. Thus, your brand really is your story.

Taking the time to build a brand purposefully is always worth it, because when it comes time to market, your story is ready to be told, and that is all marketing is – storytelling. Your brand is uniquely yours, it delivers your message, and it does a lot of the heavy lifting for you. Instead of recreating a new look and message for every social media channel and every email or traditional mail campaign, you already have the information ready. With a well-defined brand, your marketing becomes more consistent, which gives you an edge over most other companies.

When you start thinking of your brand as your story, you realize nobody else could possibly have the same brand as you. Stories are like fingerprints, no two are alike. This is good news! When you build a brand based on the components of your story, you create a strong identity that attracts the right people.

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