Finding compelling content ideas is an ongoing challenge. It’s hard when you’re just starting out, and it’s even harder if you’ve been doing it for awhile. (Now that we’re about 300 blog posts in, we know the struggle firsthand.) But, like our infinite universe, you can come up with infinite brand story ideas. Sometimes you just need a little guidance.
Content is the perfect way to communicate your brand story to people, but how do you make sure that content is compelling and effective? It starts with remembering what your brand story really is.
The Basics of Your Brand Story
There are many ways to tell your brand story and many mediums to help you tell it. Whether you’re creating an infographic, annual report, or brand video, what matters is that you are bringing people into your brand story, helping them get to know you.
There are several branches of your brand story, each of which helps you connect with people in a specific way. These main elements include:
- Who you are
- What you do
- Why you do it
- Who you do it for
- How you do it
If your content doesn’t communicate one of these things in some way, it doesn’t really help grow your brand or help you reach your goals. Unfortunately, many brands forget to vet their content ideas through this lense.
5 Ways to Brainstorm Great Brand Story Ideas
It’s easy to get carried away with a cool, creative idea, but if you can’t justify how it supports your brand story, it isn’t the strongest idea. That’s why we like to reverse engineer the process. Instead of retrofitting an idea, we find it’s helpful to brainstorm around those brand story basics.
While a free-for-all content brainstorm sounds fun, it can be creatively taxing. Giving yourself some parameters can help you narrow your focus and come up with better ideas in less time.
If your creative well is dry, or if you’re just building your content team and don’t know where to start, here are five ways to brainstorm around your brand story, plus creative real-world examples of how those ideas can translate into cool content.
1) Who You Are
You aren’t a faceless corporation. A real person (or people) started your brand. Real people work in your office, make your product, and run your social media. Putting a face to your brand is one of the best ways to cultivate a connection, so consider ways you might peel back the curtain to show people who you are, what your culture is like, and what you care about.
This type of content is especially fun to create because it offers a chance to really inject your brand personality. Things like behind-the-scenes spotlights, employee showcases, favorite things, or causes you care about can be great ways to do this.
2) What You Do
There are many ways to talk about or showcase the product/service you provide beyond traditional sales materials. Think about not only what it does but how it functions in or improves everyday life.
Can you think of unusual applications? Are there unique features that make it particularly useful or effective? With a little creativity, you can create interesting content that showcases the product in exciting ways.
Example: We collaborated with Kelly-Moore Paints to create an infographic that visualizes famous albums, according to color.
3) Who You Do It For
The people you’re creating content for are the people whose business you’re trying to win. Therefore, think about what type of content might educate, entertain, inspire, or even celebrate them.
(If you don’t actually know who you’re talking to, follow our guide to create personas that help you better understand them.)
Example: We helped the nonprofit Girls Who Code create an interactive annual report that showcased the usual numbers, as well as the real girls they help educate.
4) Why You Do It
No matter your product or service, whether you’re a tiny startup or an established brand founded a century ago, there’s a reason you exist—and, most likely, a higher purpose. If you’re a home security company, you protect property to give people peace of mind. If you’re a granola bar company, you provide healthy treats to nourish people’s bodies.
Using content to share or fulfill this larger mission is a great way to both promote your brand and show people what you really care about.
Example: At Column Five, our company vision is to create “a world where everyone can live healthy and fulfilled lives.” Hence, we aim to create content that helps improve people’s lives. As part of an initiative to support women’s health, we created the People For Periods, an interactive that helps destigmatize menstruation.
5) How You Do It
Much like your mission, people want to know not just why and what you do but how. Content that provides visibility into your product, production, or process can be especially impactful.
Do you use a unique technology? Are your materials sustainably sourced? Do you use an innovative manufacturing technique? This type of content both educates and provides insight into the way you run your business, providing the transparency that people crave.
Example: This Nadaam infographic details how they source wool, how they do it differently than traditional retailers, and how purchases go to help the sheep herders that provide the wool.
Think About Your Future Brand Story, Too
Still feeling uninspired? Think about ways to talk about how your brand is evolving, what you’re working toward, and how you plan to grow into the future. When people know you’re invested in their future, they’re more likely to build a long-term relationship with you.
If you need a little more guidance on telling your brand story, here are some posts that can help:
- Learn about the five ingredients your story needs to capture people’s attention.
- Find out how to design a brand style guide that helps you tell your story.
- Get inspired by these awesome examples of brand storytelling (for very boring products).
And if your content team could use a little help, holler at us.