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Great brands are great storytellers

The ability to create and communicate your brand story is critical for any company wanting to thrive in today’s competitive market. One organisation that has mastered this is fashion retailer Burberry, with 498 stores (2016) and valued at approximately, £5 billion (2019); this powerhouse understands the key components needed to make and sustain a brand using the influence of storytelling.

As outlined by former Burberry CEO, Angela Ahrendts, creating an emotional connection with your audience is the essence of great brand behaviour. “We put emotion before the hard product,” said Angela in Burberry’s iconic Brand Story Video.

What can companies and individuals learn from Burberry? How can global SMEs and leading executives master the art of great brand storytelling? Below are three key elements to consider:

  1. Use your history – Every brand, or at least every brand creator has a history. Anyone who ever started a brand has a past and a set of experiences that can be used to authentically connect their brand to its desired audience. But for most, when embarking on a new challenge to create a brand, they forget about this history; they make the assumption that it is no longer useful. However, it is in the communication of the brand’s foundations that trust is built. No one wants to buy into something that has no beginning or feel like they are working with a brand that has popped out of thin air. You have to tell the story of where your desire to birth this brand came from and contextualise it in the story of your history; in doing so, you will add a new dimensionto your brand.
  2. Communicate the pain– Most brands are created out of pain; someone’s burning desire to fix something, solve something or make something right again. Think about it; Steve Jobs started Apple because he wanted to change the status quo, which meant he was probably sick and tired of the status quo. Henry Ford started Ford Motor Cars because he wanted the every day man to be able to afford cars, which I can assume meant he wasn’t very happy that only the wealthy could drive. Thomas Burberry invented gabardine, an innovative waterproof fabric made of tightly woven wool and cotton, which was worn by soldiers in the Boer War and World War I; the company supplied about half a million to the British Army to make the Tielocken, the forerunner of the modern-day trench coat. Great brands are birthed from a place of pain. Use yours to differentiate yourself/your company and connect with your audience.
  3. Tell the truth – Your brand story needs to be authentically true to you and your organisation. It needs to come from a place of Why and not What. Why did you start this? Why did you feel a need to create this? Why won’t you let it go? Why is it going to help others? Don’t communicate What you do, communicate Why you do, what you do. Your brand story should come from a place of honesty and be true to the values and essence of the organisation or individual. If the truth is perceived as difficult, it’s because the brand creator feels it will leave them vulnerable; but the truth is, that’s what will connect your story to the listeners. The truth is what will make people care, build trust and allow you to secure customers.

Isn’t it time to acknowledge your history, release the pain and tell the truth? Unlock your brand story today and enjoy the process of doing so.

Good luck with building your brand.


Kubi Springer

International Brand Specialist and Trainer

Learn more about Kubi Springer on www.shebuildsbrands.com

Instagram @shebuildsbrands

LinkedIn @kubispringer

Source: Glitz Africa Magazine Issue 25

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