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4 steps for building your beguiling brand story

Every brand has a story. Even brands that do the bare minimum. For example, when Joe of Joe’s Plumbing puts up a sign outside his place of business, it at least communicates that there is some guy named Joe and he offers plumbing services.

If you do nothing more than tell those you hope to engage what your brand does, you will help them begin to understand why your brand may be relevant to them.

The thing is, there is so much more value your brand can deliver. It can take you from being recognized to actually being desired by those you hope to engage. Of course, it doesn’t happen magically. The good news is there are 4 steps that will help you build your beguiling brand story.

  1. Identify your most compelling features — these are the unique attributes of your brand’s product or service. Or it is the way you deliver that product or service. This isn’t a laundry list. Find the three to five features that are the most compelling. These will provide the details to your brand story.
  2. Define the benefit of each feature — what does the feature mean to the person who experiences it? What does it do for her or him? Your widget may be made of titanium, but that’s not the benefit. The benefit is that it lasts longer, saving replacement costs and providing more reliable operation. The benefit makes you relevant to those you’re telling your story to.
  3. Craft your value proposition and your position — your value proposition distills your features and benefits down to one statement that helps those you hope to engage understand why you are valuable. Your position helps them understand how you are unique from your competition.
  4. Connect it all to your larger purpose — what larger ideal are you serving? How do your features, benefits, value proposition, and position ladder up to and support this larger purpose? I call this your Big Audacious Meaning. It is the difference your brand can make in a life, a community, or even the world. This is what takes your story from desirable to irresistible.

After you have gone through the four steps you will construct your brand story. Keep this story short — aim for just a couple paragraphs. Start with the 4th step first and work your way back to the 1st. In other words, lead with your Big Audacious Meaning (step 4). Explain how those you hope to serve can experience that larger purpose through your value proposition and how that value proposition is supported by your position (step 3), your benefits (step 2), and your features (step 1). I like to start with this structure because it has you leading with your most compelling element — the difference your brand will make in a life.

You can also tell the story starting at the 1st step and working your way to the 4th. This has you starting with the more rational elements of your story and showing how it all ladders up to the most emotional part of your story (your Big Audacious Meaning). This structure works well for those who are deeper into the customer journey — in other words, closer to making a buying decision.

These are just two possibilities. The steps can be reordered and remixed to fit the demands of the story that needs to be told. But it all starts with going through the process. With each step, you’ll identify the elements. You’ll see the parts of your brand story emerge. And when you put all 4 together, you’ll go beyond simply being of interest to those you hope to serve to becoming beguiling.

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 August 29, 2019.

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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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