I have just landed in New York on a business trip. We are working on defining the personality and essence of two brands I’m responsible for at work. In preparation with the advertising company I’m working with we discussed how to use archetypes to help get at the brand personality. Part of the discussion led to where the Brand Story” fitted. I asked myself ; what other stories are going to be told about my brand? and started to create a story map to try to make this clearer and came up with just six types of story that define every brand:

Six Brand Defining Stories

  1. Why I am here stories: for the right to speak, authenticity and relevance
  2. Who I am stories: for authenticity, relevance & personality affinity
  3. Where are we going stories: to define role, relevance & transformation</
  4. What is my vision stories: defines journey, future, who is with me
  5. Where we came from stories: defines values and heritage, journey to date & lessons learnt
  6. We have a problem/ solution story: defines issues and solutions, call to action and resolution

Maybe there are other types of stories you can define but these speak clearly to me the roles of different brand building stories and helped me match the type of story to the need. In using the word “brand” I include products, services, people and organisations.

If you look back to Obama in his presidential campaign the momentum behind his campaign quickened with his “Who I am speech” . David Cameron and Nick Clegg are doing the same in the UK right now. Great brands do the same thing when they enter markets. They define why they are there, they define who they are as well. Depending on the category, the brand or company will have to define the other four stories somewhere in its communication mix to create persuasion, motivation and enthusiasm.