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Every brand story needs these 3 powerful elements.

Our brand story is vital to our ability to engage those we hope to serve. It speeds understanding of why we might be relevant in their lives. More powerfully, it can create emotional bonds that move us from being noteworthy to becoming beloved.

To get to that level, we need all three elements of our brand story.

  1. Our features — this is the most rational part of our story. Our features are the attributes of our offering. For example, if a checking account is a bank’s product, its features could include a nation-wide network of ATMs, an easy-to-use app, and the highest paying cashback program in town. Features can also be more intangible — like a super-easy sign-up process. Or an on-going stream of tips and know-how to help people be better with their money.
  2. Our benefit — this is the effect that our features have in our prospects’ lives. Following the checking account example, the benefit would be feeling more in control, giving you the ability to make more confident decisions. You’ll notice the benefit is more emotional than your features.
  3. Our purpose — this is the difference our brand can make in a life, a community, or even the world. This is where our prospects’ focus on ‘me’ turns to a focus on ‘we’. It causes prospects to consider how engaging with our brand can help a person feel like they are part of something larger than themselves. To continue with the bank example, the purpose could be the desire to build stronger communities by helping people be more confident with their money.

These elements combine to make our brand story. If we neglect any one of the elements, our story will never get to that point of feeling irresistible.

Once we have honed each element, we can combine them in many different ways — giving emphasis to one over the other depending on where our prospects are in the process of engaging with us. Are they just getting to know us? Then we may want to emphasize our purpose (the most emotionally enticing element of our story), supporting it with our benefit and showing how all the features give it credence. If our prospects are further along, we may want to lead with our benefit, demonstrating how our features support it and how it all ladders up to our larger purpose.

Having this well-built structure opens the doors to a myriad of ways we can tell our brand story. We can arrange and rearrange the elements — emphasizing and deemphasizing each as the situation warrants. But always knowing that we are telling the most powerful story we can. An irresistible story.

Dan is an expert brand strategist and author of the book Big Audacious Meaning — Unleashing Your Purpose-Driven Story. He is a founder at Will & Grail — a brand innovation company, helping organizations find their unique, undeniable and unshakable sense of purpose and create innovative experiences that bring it to life.

Originally published at on January 23, 2020.

Written by

Dan is an expert brand strategist and author of the book Big Audacious Meaning — Unleashing Your Purpose-Driven Story. He is a founder at Will & Grail.

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