Think big. Be different.

How To Create Story Around Your Brand

By Julie Neidlinger on July 9, 2013 in News.


Stories are not quickly forgotten. We remember what is told to us in the form of a story more than anything else.

We talked about why you’d want to use serial content. We talked about the structure of a great story. But how do you actually do it, as a brand? Do you have to be some kind of great novelist?

As it turns out, no.

Tell Your Story With Words

Actual story writing isn’t for the faint of heart. The fact that you have to keep it brief might help you. Being brief on the internet isn’t going to hurt you, though being excessive and wordy might. Erring on the side of brevity, unless you’re confident that your die-hard audience will stick with you to the end, is a pretty good plan to start with.

Twitter Is Short And Sweet

The idea of writing a novel on Twitter has taken many forms already. Some are writing an actual novel, 140 characters at a time, and posting to a specific Twitter account dedicated to just that novel. Dedicated accounts are helpful, with the account information providing links and an explanation of what you’re doing.

Others are trying for the ultimate edit, a full story in just one single tweet, sort of like the well-known “Six Word Memoirs” project. The idea of a novel in three lines isn’t exactly new; journalists who learn to condense a news story down to the barest bones for a headline or summary have been doing this long before computers were around.

Hashtags are going to be vital, whether you have a dedicated Twitter account or use your own regular Twitter account. You have to remember that Twitter is fleeting, and most people aren’t going to see every one of your tweets when it publishes. You must provide a way for them to get the full story easily.

Tell Your Story With Pictures

Pictures. Thousands of words. You know how the saying goes. Pictures are premium currency on the web, and you can deal in that currency as a story.

Motion Pictures

Tell a story with video. It doesn’t have to be an expensive video production with scripts and costumes, but taking the opportunity to tell the small stories, such as your office supplies attacking each other with a stop-motion Vine video. Create fun stuff people like to look at and share.

Coca Cola Happiness Island

Coca Cola took story (and fun) to new levels with their Happiness Island sites.

Coca Cola used story, imagery, and games to give fans fun things to do with their Happiness Island sites. By doing so, they are creating a story of fun and happiness around their brand.

Your brand is made up of these kinds of little, daily stories and fun ideas.

The Photo Album

Using photo albums on your website or social network can tell a story without words. Brands do it all the time, without thinking about it. For example, you might take consecutive shots of your office as you remodel it. The photos, posted in order, tell that story. You might create boards on Pinterest to highlight the people who make the food you sell in your store, or the customers who use your products in unique ways. Or, you might use photo albums on Facebook that show your fan’s appreciation, fan art, and memes like Domino’s Pizza.

Make every image do the work. There are no fillers here. If your photo gets orphaned on Google images or Pinterest, is it compelling enough to make someone come find you? And, of course, include a faint watermark of your website on all images for the same reason.

pinterest success

Pinterest has highlighted several brands using images to tell their story in unique ways.

How Can A Brand Use Story?

In the story Anne of Green Gables, Anne discovers that her friend has entered one of her stories into a contest, and that she’s won. However, in order to make the story qualify for the contest, her friend had to make sure “Rollings Reliable Baking Powder Company” was mentioned somewhere in the story, since that was the company that was sponsoring the competition. Anne wasn’t thrilled with the scenario, but think about what that baking powder company was doing: product placement in a fiction story.

You can tell the stories that surround your brand or organization. For example, do you sell running shoes? Write Twitter novels for a week that involve running shoes:

“The roar of the bear grew louder, branches whipping against her face. She sadly envisioned her running shoes safely back in the tent.”

It takes work and planning to get people interested in your brand using stories and inages, but you’ll have a lot of fun as you think about who you are from a different perspective. A great story is exciting, much more than an advertisement or  coupon. Get people to check in with you just to see your next installment.

[Question "How have you told the story of your brand? What methods work the best?"]

  • Leon

    Thanks! :)

  • msurdyka

    I love the article, very informative. I am still a little confused on where you use stories in your marketing campaign. My company sells cocktail mixes and I am not sure how to use stories in my marketing. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    • Julie R. Neidlinger

      Glad you liked the post.

      As far as telling a story around cocktail mixes, you could do anything from telling the story of The Greatest Party On The Block, for example, and your cocktail mixes would come into play. Whether it was photos, faux status updates of fictional party attendees — anything that shows your cocktail mix as the thing to have without coming right out and saying “buy our cocktail mix because it is the thing to have.” Does that make sense? You could have quite a bit of fun, I think, with your product. It naturally works with this concept.

      • msurdyka

        Thanks so much! That clears it up a lot. So I can make the story long or short depending on the type of advertisement?

        • Julie R. Neidlinger

          A story can be one sentence, a paragraph — anything. So, your only limit is the medium you intend to use it on. Twitter forces you to use 140 characters at a time. But…you could use many Tweets. Basically, determine the limits and find a way to make the story work in that, much like what you’ve described. Hope this helps!

          • Prabhat Kumar

            We give engineering services i.e simulations, CFD, FEM, etc. How we can make marketing story.

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