We encounter thousands of brands every day. Walking down the street, sitting on the bus, on a train, or in a cab. Everyday we are constantly being bombarded with messages, yet very few break into our stream of consciousness. Those that do, tend to be the brands we identify the most with. Whether it’s Apple, Coach, Starbucks, or Google there are particular brands that we just can’t ignore.
That brings us and many others to a single burning question. What makes a brand? The writers over at Branding Strategy Insider have quite a few answers to this question, compiling a number of definitions to answer the question “What is a brand?” A few of our favorites are:
“A brand consists of identity elements that link to associations in the customer’s mind.”
“The brand is the story behind an organization and its products and services.”
Just like stories contribute to the identity of a human being, stories also are a major part of the identity of a brand. Every brand, like every person, has a story of how they came to exist, their goals, aspirations, influences, and experiences. These stories are what allows consumers to forge a bond with and loyalty to these brands. These stories define the brand.
Nick Cowling at Huffington Post gives four key ingredients for a successful brand story, one that breaks the stream of consciousness like the favorites we listed before.
1. Story: follow the formula (Insight + Trend) / (Fact) = a great brand story
2. Messenger: a charismatic and credible messenger is necessary to sell your brand story
3. Delivery: be strategic about to whom and where your brand story is released
4. Maintenance: keep the conversation going in depth about your brand story