A brand narrative is perhaps the most important aspect of any creative brand strategy. A brand narrative is a base that supports the entire brand strategy and determines the direction of the brand as well.
But what exactly is a brand narrative?
A brand narrative can be defined as the central building block of a meaningful brand strategy. A brand narrative is based on the reason the company exists, it’s core purpose, it’s business positioning and more.
So here’s a trick question: what comes first? a brand or a brand narrative? The answer? It’s a brand narrative. A brand narrative is a missing link in the market or the problem that ails many, or one of those things everybody wished were easier to do. This is where the brand starts: with a narrative.
The brand narrative is essentially an idea, or a thought, or a philosophy. Sarah Blakely’s ultra-successful Spanx has a very simple brand narrative: I wish women’s underwear were more comfortable, and I wish they blended in with the body better so I could wear anything that I wanted without being embarrassed.
Based on such a narrative, the entire brand and the branding strategy is built.
That said, there are also several other optional components that can be a part of the brand narrative.
- Truths: There should be some concrete basis as to why your brand was created. These are the truths. Eg. Women’s underwear isn’t comfortable, or the need for simplicity, user-friendliness, and elegance, like in the case of apple.
- Promise: There should be a promise statement in your brand narrative outlining the most important thing that your brand intends to deliver. It can be a promise for quality or on-time delivery. Whichever is most appropriate for your line of business.
- Story: A story is the aspect of a brand narrative that helps justify the truths and promise, and also helps make a connection between the audience and a brand. Compelling stories make for compelling brands. Sarah Blakley’s story was compelling: Women’s underwear used to be so uncomfortable because it was all made by men – so here’s a new brand for you, by women, for women.
- Emotional Impact: The next aspect is strongly tied in the brand story in the sense that the moral of the story should deliver the emotional impact and evoke a certain feeling in a brand’s audience. Sarah Blakley’s was simple: Women need to be making women’s underwear because they’re the ones who are going to be in it all day long, not the men who used to make it.
- External expression: This aspect of the brand narrative should be something marketable and current. Something – an issue or a problem – that’s in vogue.
Based on these five points, a creative brand strategy can be created that can help a brand tell its story, convey its message, make an emotional connection with its audience, and advertise and sell its product. As you can probably tell by now, no brand strategy can be successful without a solid brand narrative.