Closeup shot of a cork noticeboard with post it notes with different words on each, such as Power, Love and All about the People

The perfect storytelling framework for purposeful brand origin stories

Inject humanity into your brand origin story, with the help of a framework that draws out the emotion in your journey. 

If you’re leading marketing for an innovative or purpose-led business (or are an ethical DIY small business owner), you know how important it is to wear your ethos and purpose on your sleeve. Whatever your niche – eco products, charity, art/design, consulting, professional services, policy or activism – you are in the business of people or planet. So it follows that you need to inject humanity into your stories.

The most effective brand origin story is more than a timeline with key milestones charting how you came into existence. A great brand story:

  • articulates the distinctiveness of your organisation’s purpose, vision, and impact
  • conveys your values through character and action
  • captures your spirit
  • inspires your audience to be part of whatever change it is you’re making in the world!

Think of your brand origin story as the start of a path you’ll unfold for your audience. Eventually, you’ll craft other stories inspired by this one that lead people on a journey of discovery and connection: with your brand, your big ideas, your communities and your quest for impact.  

A five-step framework for a purposeful brand origin story

Use this framework as a tool to structure an authentic, engaging, and human story of your brand building. 

1. The radical idea

Every great brand origin story begins with a spark of inspiration. For purpose-led organisations, it can come in the form of a spark of anger at injustice. Perhaps you had a sense of hope that things could be different? Capture that moment when an idea took hold of you and refused to let go. It’s as if the universe (or your conscience) is whispering in your ear, urging you to bring your vision to life.

This is the moment when your brand story truly begins. When crafting your brand origin story, be sure to capture the excitement and passion that comes with that igniting moment. Describe it in vivid detail, and convey the sense of possibility and potential that it lit within you and your team.

2. The blindfolded journey

Once the radical idea has taken hold, it’s time to embark on the journey to turn your idea into reality. But you probably broke new ground and did things differently. Describe the unknowns you encountered in those early days, the decisions you made with no frame of reference, or the risks you took.  

Be honest about the doubts and fears you had to overcome. We all have fears. By showing us yours, you’ll add depth and authenticity to your narrative. Your vulnerability will help your audience connect with the human side of your brand.

3. The leap

No great story is complete without obstacles to overcome. An easy journey gives the audience nothing to hook into. Get us invested in your success by making us silently cheer you on from the sidelines. As you tell your brand origin story, highlight the challenges you faced, the lessons learned, and the strategies you used to navigate the rough patches. Describe how this phase influenced and elevated the way you work now. 

This part of your brand story shows resilience, resourcefulness, and determination. These qualities give your audience faith in your commitment to your cause. They also demonstrate that your brand is capable of overcoming challenges and adapting to change, which builds trust and credibility.

4. The liberating moment

As your brand journey progresses, there will be moments of triumph and celebration. In your origin story, what was the key milestone, achievement, success or revelation that indicated you were established and on the path to ‘success’ (whatever that looks like for you)? 

Be bold in what you share – after all those struggles, there’s no danger we’ll think you’re boasting! Describe the emotions and sense of accomplishment that came with reaching your goals, and convey the pride and joy you feel now as you look back at how far you’ve come. 

5. The faithful followers

Your brand story is not just about you. It’s also about the people you touch and the connections you forge along the way. Share the moments when you realised that your brand story was not just your own, but ours too. Describe how your brand has impacted the lives of customers, partners and community.  

Highlight the support, loyalty, and love you’ve received from your audience, and express your gratitude for their role in your brand’s story. This part of your brand origin story demonstrates the collaborative side of your brand and builds a sense of community and belonging with your audience.

Origin stories are for every brand, at every stage

Whether you’re leading marketing for a well-established brand undergoing a refresh, or you’re a founder launching a new brand, take time to plan, design and write your brand’s origin story. Keep it authentic, engaging, and aligned with your brand values, to chart a purposeful way forward.

Need support to write your brand origin story?

It can be challenging to find the time to plan and design your brand origin story. I work with motivated but busy marketing professionals to teach them to find and write their brand origin story. Get in touch or find out more about what I offer using the link below.

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