What it takes to tell an epic brand story

In the past, those your hope to serve would get to the end of the brand story and begin to see how the brand could enhance in their lives. They would begin to see the ‘what’s in it for me’ proposition. This is how branding operated for years.

But then, purpose became a thing. And with it came the realization that epic brand stories don’t end with the ‘what’s in it for me’ proposition. Epic brand stories go one step further and illustrate the ‘what’s in it for us’. In other words, the greater good that spreads out into the world when you engage with the brand.

When you go from ‘what’s in it for me’ to ‘what’s in it for us’, you connect with your prospects’ desire to be part of something larger than themselves. This is not at the expense of the ‘what’s in it for me’. After all, self-preservation is a powerful driver. Rather, it is showing them that there is more associated with your brand. It’s giving them that opportunity to feel that larger connection. Something that they rarely get to feel. Something that creates a powerful tug for all of us.

Achieving the ‘what’s in it for us’ requires clarifying how your brand makes a difference in a life, a community, or even the world. This is the brand purpose or Big Audacious Meaning as I call it. When you clarify this, you create the means for that story to go to the next level.

As an example, take Patagonia. Here is how you could portray these elements I’ve been talking about.

The ‘what’s in it for me’: I feel like I’m getting stylish, quality gear that I’ll feel good wearing for years to come.

The ‘what’s in it for us’: I feel like I’m part of a movement to help preserve and make our planet a better place.

When you share the ‘what’s in it for me’, you may win people’s attention. But share that ‘what’s in it for us’ and you begin to win their hearts.

Epic stories stir feelings. They inspire and motivate. They reach into our core and tug at our heart. They leave us feeling like we can be part of something larger. Something that makes a difference for those around us. Imagine giving your brand story that kind of power. It can become nothing short of epic.

For more information about connecting to the ‘what’s in it for us’, check out the Thrust Story Framework in the book Big Audacious Meaning — Unleashing Your Purpose Driven 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 clarify their unique, undeniable, and unshakable sense of purpose and create innovative experiences that bring it to life.

Originally published at https://www.dansalva.com on April 16, 2021.

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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