As PR and marketing professionals, we revel in a good story. Whether we’re doing the telling or listening, narratives are the name of the game in our industry.
For PR practitioners, storytelling is an essential skill. But even if you’re not a communications expert, you can — and should — develop a brand origin story for your company.
While storytelling isn’t the only way to communicate, it offers a unique way to create meaningful relationships, both as humans and as brands. Telling your company’s corporate story can strengthen the connection you’ve initiated with your target audience and potential leads.
The Science of Storytelling
As humans, our brains are programmed for narrative allegory. Expert analysis confirms we process and retain information profoundly better when it is delivered in the form of a story. Not only are stories more compelling than factual information presented in bulleted points or through dry recitation, but they build familiarity and trust, and allow for the narrator to meet the audience where they are.
Harvard Business Publishing notes that even neuroscientists agree, pointing to recent research into chemicals like cortisol, dopamine and oxytocin that the brain releases when we hear stories.
“If we are trying to make a point stick, cortisol assists with our formulating memories. Dopamine, which helps regulate our emotional responses, keeps us engaged. When it comes to creating deeper connections with others, oxytocin is associated with empathy, an important element in building, deepening or maintaining good relationships.”
Since the dawn of mankind, storytelling has been a powerful vehicle for communication and learning. And when it comes to marketing and branding, the same holds true.
How to Develop Your Origin Story
For most of our clients, Prosper for Purpose develops a brand origin story as part of the initial strategy. We believe that all companies can benefit from having a strong brand origin story.
A brand origin story is a captivating account of how your company was born, including the why, when, where, how and who. An origin story lays the foundation for all of your company’s future endeavors, decisions and events.
When it comes to developing your own brand origin story, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, the origin story needs to be clear, concise and compelling. While we generally start by interviewing company founders and senior leadership, we always try to keep the focus on the why rather than the how. What you don’t want is a biography; so ditch the dates and don’t worry too much about chronological order.
Second, consider the classic storytelling structure of the Hero’s Journey. There are several steps in this universal concept that can be applied when creating a riveting arc for your brand origin story. What was the call to adventure? (Why was the company started? What problems did the founders set out to solve?) What challenges were faced? Where did the revelations lie? How about the triumphs over adversity? Posing questions such as these can provoke thoughtful responses that you can use when drafting your company story.
Finally, use details to your advantage. Specific imagery can set up a powerful story; discuss certain failures or missteps that contributed to the path the company took, mention the emotions that were experienced. And don’t forget that when it comes to an origin story, honesty is always the best policy.
Why You Should Tell Your Origin Story
Brand origin stories can also facilitate the tactical execution of multiple marketing objectives. In today’s super-saturated and fragmented media landscape, employing your company origin story in communications messaging is an effective way to stand out from junk marketing.
Depending on your needs and scope of work, there are a few different ways you can utilize a brand origin story to advance your marketing goals.
Website History Page
To enhance the user experience and increase search engine optimization keyword mentions, use your origin story to create a History page under the About section of your website.
By nature, a brand origin story is a historical account, so adapting it for a History page just makes sense. Additionally, About pages are generally the second most visited pages on your website (after the home page) — why not strengthen it with a History subpage?
Blog Post About Brand Philosophy
Another simple way to reuse your brand origin story is to write a blog post centered around your company philosophy. Draw on your business’ principles and core values to discuss why your products or services exist. Differentiate your brand from the competition by focusing on impact and intent.
Welcome Email Sequence
Welcome email sequences are your brand’s first impression with new contacts. Introduce company ideals and nurture new leads with an effective welcome sequence that utilizes pieces and parts of your brand origin story.
Research shows that 74% of people expect to receive a welcome email immediately after they submit a contact form or subscribe to a list. Deliver on that expectation with a sequence that shows integrity and builds trust by sharing aspects of your company history.
Social Media Content
If your brand is active on social media, use tidbits, anecdotes and facts from your origin story to generate content. Revealing the company backstory in the form of ‘fun fact’ or ‘did-you-know’ posts personalizes your brand and is an authentic way to engage with your followers.
Brand origin stories are multifunctional. No matter your industry or business goals, writing an origin story is a valuable exercise and a logical part of company branding.
Sometimes, outsourcing the task to a third-party can be pivotal. An outside, unbiased perspective can keep the focus on the big picture, making for a compelling, useful brand origin story. Contact us for help with your origin story or to learn more about branding and marketing opportunities.