Is your business telling a brand story or are you still stuck on the old marketing model of show and tell?

Focusing on features and benefits is so 2012. If you want to remain competitive in today’s market, it’s necessary to tell a compelling brand story.

What is a brand story?

Not even sure what it is? A brand story is a cohesive narrative that inspires an emotional response in your audience. Some of this story is beyond your control. It’s what other people—your customers—say about you. That said, you can influence the conversation by developing a story to share with them.

This may all sound a little daunting but it doesn’t have to be. There are five very effective and easy ways to tell your brand story.

How to tell your brand story

In any good story, it all boils down to the who, what, why, where and how. These simple elements are a fantastic start to developing your brand narrative. Even better, you don’t need to explain all of them—one or two will be sufficient. Just pick the one/s which have a compelling and emotive aspect to them.

Let’s take a look at some examples of what shape your brand story might take when focusing on each of these elements.


Okay, so this is a brand story you can tell but take heed—it’s often one that’s overtold or not conveyed effectively. People don’t want a long boring history of the origin of your business. They don’t really care about the twists and turns you took to get to where you are. Your audience wants to know ‘who’ you are if there is something meaningful to them wrapped up in it.

Explaining the ‘who’ of your brand story may be a good approach for you if there is someone notable or famous at the forefront of your company or if you’re developing a personal brand. It may also be worth exploring if your ‘who’ and your ‘why’ are wrapped up together.

Who does ‘who’ effectively? We think Rollie’s story is pretty neat. And check out Marie Forleo’s for a personal brand.


In any good story, there should be very little telling of ‘what’. It’s boring and spoils the punchline. That said, it is important to tell your audience what you do, especially if it’s at all unclear. While for some businesses their ‘what’ is blatantly obvious, other businesses may have more ambiguous offerings. Remember that your audience does need to be clear on exactly what you do or you may lose their business.

Who does ‘what’ well? The ‘what’ of your brand story is best when told in a fun and engaging way, the way the guys over at SweatBlock have.


If there’s one of the six ways to tell your brand story that is the most effective, it’s probably your why. ‘Why’ is inspiring and emotive. So, if there’s an interesting or engaging reason that you started your business, share this with people. If you’ve chosen to take a slightly different approach with your business—such as ethical or eco-friendly measures—this is another ‘why’ that’s likely highly compelling to your audience.

Who does ‘why’ well? We love the way the team over at it.


While the ‘where’ of a brand story will only be suitable for some brands, it can still be a persuasive piece of the puzzle. For example, perhaps your company produces all of your products in Australia (or your country of origin) or goes to great lengths to ensure you only use ethically sourced ingredients or materials.

Who does ‘where’ well? Check out the guys over at Loving Earth.


Bring the ‘how’ of your brand story into play when there is something different about how you do things. Perhaps you take an entirely different angle to everyone else in your industry. Or maybe you value eco-friendly or ethical principles and this is a key driver of ‘how’ you approach your business.

How is a brand story that audiences are more and more drawn to these days. People want transparency and are driven to align themselves with brands that are committed to making a difference. If this is you then make sure you broadcast it far and wide.

Who does ‘how’ well? Take a look at the story Burt’s Bees tells.