“The best brands are built on great stories.” – Ian Rowden,   Chief Marketing Officer, Virgin Group

A brand story is more than content and a narrative. It goes beyond text on a website, brochure or a presentation. It’s more than a logo, color palette, packaging, and business cards. Everything you do, how well you do it, and what you stand for are elements of your business that give a complete picture with facts, feelings and interpretations. Even the staff you hire should reflect the truth about your brand.

Building a brand story is not simply about differentiating your company or getting noticed. It’s about creating something that people care about and making an emotional connection. A great brand story strategy will show you how to stand out, increase brand awareness, create customer loyalty and power profits.

In this recent commercial by Dell, the company tells a great story of its brand by sharing the beginnings of others, saying “At Dell, we’re honored to be part of some of the world’s great stories. We are a company that personifies entrepreneurial spirit, celebrates it every day and embodies it in everything we do.”

There are several ways brands tell their stories. Maybe it’s a story of renewal or rags to riches? A mission from point A to point B? A story about transformation after a journey? Whatever your brand story may be, make it engaging and motivating with these four characteristics:

1. Be relevant: Brand stories that aren’t meaningful will have little impact. Companies should know what’s important to them and their customers, and build their brand story around that thinking.

2. Be credible: Don’t give customers smoke and mirrors. They want proof that what they’re buying works – whether it be products or services. Tell the truth about your brand.

3. Be compelling: If a brand story doesn’t hold a customer’s attention, it’s not worth telling or not being told right. Subject matter, words, imagery and sound can make a brand story compelling and create an experience that the people are moved by.

4. Be persuasive: Great stories don’t just keep people interested, they motivate them to do something. For companies, a brand story with imagery and words can play a large role in making a connection – emotional or intellectual – then move people to action.

So, what’s your brand story?