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Building a Brand: Connecting with Customers Through Storytelling

Nov 14, 2023 - Rich Reba
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Ever feel like you're drowning in a sea of stuff – products, services, ads – all shouting for attention? It's a busy environment for retailers out there and standing out can be tougher than finding a needle in a haystack. But hey, here's the scoop: Your killer product is awesome, no doubt, but what really makes you a rockstar? It's the brand story you tell.

So, let’s talk about this magical world of brand storytelling. 

In a recent study, 68% of consumers expressed that brand stories influence their buying decisions. But storytelling isn’t just about selling products, it’s about creating real connections with consumers. We're about to take you on a little journey into the art of crafting a brand story that not only grabs attention but also gives your audience all the feels. Ready for this adventure? Let's dive in!

Defining your brand identity

Before brands can start thinking about telling a story, they need to know who they are as a brand. Your brand identity, like a personality, is what makes you unique and relatable. Your brand’s niche, voice, tone, and audience all play a part in its identity. What are your brand’s core values? What’s your brand’s mission and vision? What do you stand for? These principles create your brand foundation and building blocks for your consumer-facing brand identity.

TOMS, the iconic shoe company built their brand identity on the idea of giving back. For every pair of shoes purchased, they donated a pair to someone in need. Evolving its impact model in 2021, TOMS now gives 1/3 of their profits to grassroots good. At the heart of the brand, their brand’s continued commitment to social responsibility makes them instantly recognizable in the consumer marketplace. 

blue toms shoe, woman wearing pair of toms brand shoes

Investing time and energy in defining your brand identity will help customers understand your brand’s niche. Customers don't resonate with fancy mission statements or misleading advertising. Your identity should focus on what genuinely drives your business and the customers you hope to attract.

Understanding your target audience

Your brand story is only as good as the audience it speaks to. Just as you wouldn't tell the same story to a child as you would to an adult, the same principle applies to your brand. You need to understand your target audience inside out.Start by creating buyer personas—detailed profiles of your ideal customers. What are their pain points? What are their dreams and aspirations? Where do they hang out online and offline? The more you know about them, the better you can tailor your brand story to resonate with their desires and needs.For instance, let’s say your target audience consists of fitness enthusiasts passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. This audience cares about the quality and functionality of their workout gear. With this direction, you have the amazing opportunity to craft a brand story that revolves around creating top-notch activewear that encourages people to achieve their fitness goals. You can tailor your language and storytelling to speak to the experiences that resonate specifically with them.Take the CrossFit brand, Nobull, as a perfect example. 

athlete running on field wearing nobull brand shirt

Entering the marketplace in 2015, they successfully combined utilitarian products with a connection to the community. Nobull grew to become the title sponsor of the CrossFit Games and expanded far beyond cool workout shoes with big, bold moves in golf, pro football, and more.

Crafting your brand narrative

Having identified your brand and audience, it's time to breathe life into your narrative. Think of it as the plot of a compelling book or movie, complete with a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Commence with your brand's origin story. How did it all begin? Share the challenges and triumphs that have molded your journey. People are drawn to the human side of a brand, so embrace vulnerability. Transition to the 'middle' – spell out exactly what you stand for and why your existence matters. This is where your brand identity and values seamlessly integrate. Articulate how your product or service improves lives or addresses problems.

Envision the conclusion of your narrative. Where do you foresee your brand in the future? Disclose your dreams and aspirations, inviting your audience to partake in this journey. If uncertain, consider expressing the overarching impact you aspire to achieve in the world through your company.

Showcasing your brand's value

Consumers seek more than just products; they desire alignment with a brand's values and principles. Your brand's values must radiate through your narrative.

Take, for instance, the Patagonia brand story intricately woven with environmental activism. Patagonia doesn't merely vend outdoor gear; they actively strive to preserve the environment. Customers connect with the brand on a profound level through shared sustainable values.

orange colored patagonia shirt on store rack

A pivotal aspect of Patagonia's narrative involves actionably demonstrating their values, not just stating them. Instead of only articulating what they stand for, they showcase it through tangible brand actions.

Whether through sustainable practices, charitable contributions, or community engagement, integrate your values into the fabric of your brand story.

Creating emotional connections

The best brand stories evoke emotions. Think about the stories that have stuck with you over the years. Chances are, they made you feel something.

Your brand story should stir emotions in your audience.

Remember that humor, inspiration, and empathy are powerful tools in creating emotional connections. Share the ups and downs, celebrate the wins, and acknowledge the challenges. Let your customers be the heroes of your brand narrative. Showcasing real people achieving real results with your product or service adds authenticity and relatability to your story. People want to connect with the human side of your brand.

Choosing the right medium

Considering your audience, look for where they spend their time online. Is it through blog posts, social media, videos, podcasts, or a combination of these? Each medium has unique strengths, and your marketing channels and content formats should align with your target audience's preferences.

If your audience is primarily on Instagram, leverage the power of visuals. Share behind-the-scenes moments, customer testimonials, and inspirational quotes that reflect your brand's values. If your audience prefers in-depth information, consider starting a blog or podcast where you can explain the nuances of your brand story.

What’s your brand’s story?

Tell it, live it.

Envision your brand's narrative as a dynamic storyline in a compelling TV series. Each day, as your company evolves amidst the challenges and opportunities of the business world, your story takes on fresh and thrilling dimensions. Much like characters in a show, your brand encounters growth, hurdles, and unexpected turns, embodying a living, breathing entity that adapts to the ever-changing times.

At its core, remember this: as your story unfolds, hold onto your brand's fundamental values and mission. These principles serve as the moral compass, anchoring your narrative in authenticity. They are the North Star, ensuring that your story resonates on a profound level, transcending mere transactions. While expanding, consistently showcase what sets your brand apart. Consider it as confidently flaunting your unique superpower – that distinctive quality that separates you from the crowd and connects with your target audience on a deeper level.

Embrace change, safeguard the core, and amplify your story. Your brand transcends being a mere product or service; it's a narrative people yearn to be a part of. Craft it into an irresistible page-turner!