I’m embarrassed to say it, but it took us almost a decade to create our own brand strategy (and brand philosophy). We were so busy doing it for our partners—and lucky enough to have the steady work—that we back burnered it for way too long. But last year, we got serious and completed the pretty damn brutal process.
Reinventing or realigning your brand top to bottom requires a lot of brainpower and, let’s be real, emotional work. It requires you to strip your brand down and look at not just what you’re trying to achieve but your core identity: who you are, what you believe, and why you exist. (This isn’t lunch break stuff.)
Articulating these beliefs and distilling them into meaningful language is a huge challenge, and when it came to creating our messaging architecture (positioning, value prop, tagline, brand stories), we found ourselves particularly stuck on our brand philosophy and tagline.
How could we communicate what we do and why we do it in a compelling way? How could we capture our brand philosophy in a handful of words? It’s tough, especially as our brand has evolved so much since our early days. (Over the years, we’ve described what we do in many ways: digital marketing, content marketing, design, data visualization. We’ve called ourselves a marketing agency, creative collective, design studio—and probably a few other things we’ve forgotten.)
But in thinking about our journey, who we are today, what we’ve learned, and how we want to move into the future, it was clear that there was one through line over time: storytelling. Whether we’re creating infographics, designing data visualizations for annual reports, or creating a 9-part podcast narrative, story has always been at the core of our work—and our brand.
Why Story Matters to Us
Story is at the core of all human communication. It’s how we educate, empathize, connect, and share who we are. It’s how we build relationships, whether sitting across from each other at a job interview or on a first date.
And in our work, story is always the priority. In a time when we are drowning in “information,” story is one of the most powerful ways for brands to communicate and cut through the noise. Why? For several reasons:
- It’s an emotional form of communication. Story draws us in and triggers our empathetic responses. (For example, in movies, our neurons actually start to mirror the emotions we’re seeing on screen.) This is why telling the story of a single starving child garners more donations than a brochure of statistics related to a country’s food shortage.
- It’s memorable. A good story sticks with you, largely thanks to that emotional response. (BTW, a strong narrative is up to 22 times more memorable than facts alone.)
- It’s personal. A story is an intimate form of communication. When it’s relevant and speaks directly to you, it makes you feel seen and understood. The more brands reveal who they are, what they care about, and the people behind the brand, the more personal connections they can make.
For our brand partners, we know that building strong relationships is the key to success, whether they’re interacting with people who might need their product or service, people who might work with them, or people who might work for them one day.
You can’t build those relationships by pushing and interrupting. You can only do it by engaging through story. The brand with the best story—the most interesting, authentic, and captivating story—is the brand that wins people’s hearts.
And that’s why we made our philosophy simple: Best Story Wins.
Behind Our Brand Philosophy
Every brand is telling a story whether they realize it or not. Sometimes the story is good, sometimes it’s a disaster. Sometimes it’s aligned to a brand’s vision, sometimes it’s the total opposite. When a story is told well, it elevates the brand, cultivates connection, and invites people in. When it’s weak, vague, or not entirely honest, it repels people.
Therefore, we believe it’s a brand’s duty to tell their best stories, the ones that make the strongest impact and help create the strongest relationships. Our job is to help brands figure out what those stories are and tell them as effectively as possible through the right channels, mediums, and formats.
From learning about the latest storytelling science to experimenting with different formats, we push ourselves to become the best storytellers for our people and our partners. Because in the end, best story wins.
How to Tell Your Own Brand Story
Whether or not you need a partner to tell your story, we hate to see bad storytelling happen to good brands. (And we know firsthand how much it takes to create great content, from idea to execution.) So, if you’re ready to flex your storytelling skills, here are some of our best tips and resources to help you do it better.
- Know who you’re speaking to. Create marketing personas to help you understand exactly who you’re trying to tell your story to.
- Create your storytelling architecture. Use this simple messaging framework to help tell your brand story in every piece of content.
- Learn how to craft a compelling story. Here are the 5 keys that will make it work.
- Draw people in by putting your values front and center. Learn about how to turn your culture into compelling content, and get inspired by these 10 brands that turn their beliefs into impactful content.
- Experiment with different formats to tell your story. Find out why infographics, annual reports, and interactives are great storytelling tools.
- Choose the right format for your story. Here’s how to decide which one will work.
- Use design to communicate your story. See our checklist for everything you need to create a visual identity that reflects your brand.
We hope you can put these tips to work. But if you have too much on your plate, we’d love a chance to help you tell your story. Just hit us up.