close up of a typewriter with text that reads stories matter

How to Tell a Captivating Brand Story (With Examples)

RJ Licata, Sr. Director of Marketing

Key Points

  • A brand story is a consumer-facing narrative that tells the story of a brand’s origin, values, vision, goals, and more.
  • A strong brand story, told with clarity and intention, highlights what you stand for and helps authentically connect with your audience in ways that resonate the most.
  • Successful brands with the best brand stories connect on a deeper level and almost every example achieves billion dollar valuations. That’s the power of storytelling.

What is a brand story?


Brand Story

A brand story is a marketing strategy and compelling narrative that tells the story of your brand’s roots, its purpose for existing, its goals, and more.

The brand story takes many forms and has many components that, together, help your audience understand your values in order to build authentic consumer connections.

Successfully executing your brand story creates consumer engagement opportunities that allow for consistent storytelling.

A brand story also helps emphasize your brand’s personality and steers your smaller brand messaging efforts. When your personality is well defined, and your messaging flows from that central point, reaching potential customers and fostering brand loyalty are just a few benefits.

Why brand storytelling matters

Brand storytelling is one of the most powerful tools in the pursuit of authentic consumer connection. It comprises all aspects of the brand story communication process and helps guide the creation of a compelling story. It’s an essential part of a modern brand.

If you consider all a brand story contains — your brand’s origin story and the reason it exists — the value is self-evident. Telling that tale consistently across all your assets is the key to reaching audiences with the right message at the right time. 

Brands that fail to tell their story lose the opportunity to connect and provide unique value. These brands cannot stand out from the crowd of competitors or be industry leaders.

Key elements of a great brand story

Not all brand stories hit the mark and, even worse, can cause damage when misaligned. That’s why building the most relevant and compelling brand story is a minimum requirement.

A brand story needs to explain your brand values in a powerful and evocative way so your audience can relate to and identify with them. Here are some goals to hit:

brand story

It’s relevant and meaningful

Brand storytelling is all about your audience — carefully crafting the through-line and positioning with your audience at the center.

The right positioning leads to audience alignment and brand trust, serving the right message to the correct audience at the ideal time. Creating something relevant and meaningful requires a sophisticated understanding of the audience. 

All the traditional audience research methods apply here but a thorough search intent analysis will ensure your story is built on the best foundation. Knowing exactly what your audience wants unlocks better consumer behavior insight, which empowers the story you tell and how you tell it.

It creates empathy

Brand storytelling that tells the human story of the brand — what its people believe in, the future it dreams of, and how these values will positively impact the consumer — humanizes your brand.

This creates the opportunity to build empathy between your audience and your brand, opening the door to deeper connections.

It’s rooted in emotion

Brand storytelling also needs to resonate with the group you’re targeting. The tried and true method to get this done is an appeal to emotion. That emotion — the overall vibe of the brand —  must be strong, identifiable, and developed.

Is it rooted in a commitment to sustainability? An inspiring call to adventure? An invitation to a personal journey? These are just a few examples of emotion-rooted narratives.

Another aspect of emotional connection is positioning your brand as a resource. Consumers are seeking solutions to their problems, likely an offering that negates a negative emotion. Use brand storytelling to demonstrate how your brand will solve the problem and bring about that emotional shift. 

It’s simple

Brand stories are most effective when they’re simply stated and relatable. Think elevator pitch but even snappier and easier to explain. The overall statement of a brand story should be straight to the point. 

Telling the actual expanded story, on the other hand, happens over dozens of assets, through hundreds of consumer touchpoints, in a diverse set of ways. That infrastructure works in concert to create that simple story.

How to write a compelling brand story

Stand-out brands need a highly compelling story, and they should tell it consistently across their consumer touchpoints. Here are seven steps to craft a brand story with impact:

1. Define your brand purpose

At the highest level, you must have a carefully defined brand purpose to guide your story. Brands don’t exist just to make money, they exist to solve a problem, evolve the market, and lead industries.

Brand purpose is the overarching framework that explains your reason for existing. Typically brand purpose aims to elicit emotion in order to create alignment and connection with a particular audience.

Brands generally have preexisting purposes and while the brand purpose is tied up in the brand’s history, it’s possible to refine, better express, and better connect it to the day-to-day operations.

Your brand purpose should express the company’s founding values, be crystal clear and rooted in the brand’s evolution, and must always center the consumer audience. The brand must commit to this purpose in outward, meaningful ways.

  • What does your audience value or believe in?
  • What problems do they face?
  • How can my brand uniquely deliver for the audience, solve their problems, and align with their values?

Answer these questions to refine your brand purpose.

2. Research the market

Competitors take the form of “offering competitors” and “attention competitors.” Often they’re both.

Each competitor has its own unique point of view, positioning, and brand purpose. This means that from the attention standpoint, you’re fighting for the most compelling narrative among a sea of other narratives.

In order to create a more compelling story you must have a solid grasp of what’s out there product-wise, but also consider how each brand talks about itself and tells its story. Deeply analyzing the market reveals opportunities to stand out from the competition with a great narrative. Consider:

  • How does everyone else talk?
  • How do their offering and story align?
  • How do they live their brand story?

3. Research your audience

You know your competitors and understand how they tell their overarching story in relation to their offerings. That’s half the battle, but who exactly are they talking to?

The next step is to research and deeply understand your target audience and consumers in the space. A great narrative means nothing unless it actually creates consumer empathy, evokes a reaction, and directly resonates with your audience.

There are many methods and tools for audience research but at a high level it comes down to an analysis of the demographics, customer needs, and the problems they want to solve.

Things that fall into the category include:

  • Developing personas
  • Existing audience data
  • Data from market intelligence firms
  • Classic surveys
  • Behavioral analysis

The most important consumer behavior insights come from an analysis of search intent — what your target audience is seeking from search engines. Search intent data gives you a unique, unfiltered and honest look at your audience’s search for solutions.

Knowing what people need lets you speak to their motivations and values. In this way, search intent is incredibly important when creating value-driven storytelling about your brand, ensuring alignment with the needs of your audience.

4. Determine your brand story format

You can think of a brand story as the big-picture talking points and brand storytelling as the actual format or medium for communicating that story. There isn’t one format — telling a compelling brand story happens in different ways across hundreds of consumer touchpoints. 

For example, say you’re a small-batch organic probiotic brand trying to stand apart from the crowd with a brand story about rethinking the gut biome as the key to better overall health. That’s compelling, but how do you tell that story? Like this:

  • Use content marketing to create a gastric health-related content hub packed with useful articles on probiotics
  • Sponsor GI health-related events and conferences
  • Build substantial wellness resources across your corporate sites
  • Utilize social media to spread your knowledge about GI wellness
  • Develop rich content that shares the ups and downs of founding the company
  • Brand partnerships with gastro-intestinal illness organizations and outreach
  • Produce a podcast centered on gut health
  • Provide diet-related coaching via YouTube videos
  • Any other method of telling the story of the impact of GI wellness on overall health

5. Leverage emotion

As we said, emotion is perhaps the most powerful rhetorical tool at your disposal when building or refining your brand story. Evoking a clear, consistent, and strong emotion across your storytelling efforts is important because emotion is powerfully attached to human memory. 

If your brand story can elicit an emotional response — inspiration, a feeling of support, or even anger at the status quo — people will not forget you.

Think about popular streaming shows, the ones with the most intricate, winding plots, dramatic turns, and unexpected events — those twists and turns are purpose-built to elicit emotion. Your brand story can and should produce the same results. 

6. Be clear, concise, and consistent

Clarity is king when developing your brand story and storytelling. Your message should be legible and easily understood by your entire audience, but also parallel audiences that might represent future customers.

Clarity is achieved with concise, to-the-point, and jargon-free language. Brand voice speaks to this as well because it’s another aspect of how your story is told. Clear language in a tone that is relevant and appropriate for your target audience is a must.

Consistency is also vital, especially when telling a story across hundreds of assets, efforts, events, social platforms, and more. Unique messaging is ideal, but each piece of the storytelling process must relate back to the big story, or at least achieve wins in service of that story. 

Brands need consistency because you can’t expect each audience member to engage at every single storytelling touchpoint. You may only get a few opportunities to connect, so make sure to get the core of your message across — everywhere.

7. Be authentic and relatable

Evoking emotion is important, but being wholly authentic, open, and relatable with your story and as a brand as a whole ensures that emotion has a solid core.

Authenticity is acting in accordance with your brand story in real ways your audience can see. It’s living up to that noble narrative about why you exist, not just rhetorically, but also when no one is looking.

Relatability means being vulnerable, not shirking the difficulties in your story, and generally communicating on a human level that all of us respond to.

5 powerful brand story examples

Here are some quick examples of powerful storytelling:

GT’s Living Foods

The story: Founder GT Dave didn’t start with a business plan, he began with one goal — supporting his mother’s recovery during and after her treatment for an extremely aggressive form of breast cancer — with kombucha. The company started at Dave’s home with the family kombucha recipe, a spiritual focus, and the brand’s mission to transform people’s health.

“I started making Kombucha based on the belief that it could improve people’s lives—and make the world a better place. Every batch I brew is a living reminder of this purpose.” – GT Dave

Why it’s a winner: The GT’s Living Foods ($1 billion valuation) story has everything you could ask for. Tragedy, resolution, emotional weight, a purpose-driven founder, a powerful point of view, authenticity, honesty, and truly living out the values they print on their site and labels. This brand story played no small role in GT’s beverage industry dominance.


The story: Patagonia, founded by entrepreneur Yvon Chouinard in 1973, began operations as an experiment in responsible business. The brand offers high-quality outdoor clothing but instead of just enriching shareholders, it centers all its activities around conservation and sustainability. Not just a purveyor of buzzwords, Patagonia started several major initiatives and funds to protect the environment — including 1% for the Planet, Patagonia Action Works, Common Threads Partnership, and more.  

Why it’s a winner: What stands out here, more than the actual brand story itself, is the level of truth behind the story. We can all get behind protecting the environment and that resonates with a broad audience. But when a brand has a strong story and actually does what it claims to believe in, people see that and respond. At this point Patagonia ($3 billion valuation) isn’t really seen as a retailer — it’s seen as an environmental activism organization that happens to sell clothing.


The story: Everything Apple does is built on Steve Jobs’ exacting, even controversial, commitment to unparalleled design before everything else. That design includes UI/UX, aesthetics, premium materials, cutting-edge technology, a beautiful finish, and attention to detail. Apple makes high design accessible for consumers everywhere.

Why it’s a winner: When it comes to luxury tech items grounded in minimalist, purpose-driven design Apple ($394.3 billion 2022 revenue) stands out in the minds of consumers in a way few other brands have managed. Non-Apple smartphones and PCs may have substantially better hardware, but the likes of Android and Dell, for instance, simply cannot bridge the brand story gap. Apple’s superior brand story created a competitive moat around the company.


The story: Bose’s unrivaled technical prowess and goal of creating exceptional listening experiences guides the company’s innovation and design. The brand was founded by electrical engineer Dr. Amar Bose in 1965 because he felt that stereo systems had terrible audio. Over the next nearly 60 years, Bose’s patented inventions and innovations (noise-canceling headphones in 1986) basically created the way we enjoy music today.

“Innovation is more than what we do. It’s who we are — constantly learning and constantly curious.” – Bose About Us.

Why it’s a winner: Rooting your entire existence in innovation and the “power of sound” is wise because music, as an emotional medium, is compelling and personal. By positioning itself as a friend of the discerning, audiophile listener but designing for active lifestyles, the story hits on multiple levels — personal enjoyment and aspiration. Bose ($5.28 billion valuation) has carved out a niche for itself at the top of the consumer audio market, not just by offering good headphones, but by enhancing the lives of music lovers.

Final thoughts

Digital marketing should elevate telling great stories on the priority list. Nailing brand identity and brand narrative with an authentic brand story pays dividends through long-term connection and loyalty. Would-be industry leaders know that narratives are important. But instead of making the narrative just another part of your brand, make it the centerpiece — amazing stories turn basic core values into real consumer connections.

Be like Apple, GT, Bose, and Patagonia. Tell your authentic story and make sure all your efforts and practices demonstrate that your brand really lives by its compelling narrative.

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