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How To Tell A Brand Story Customers Believe In

It was a slow Wednesday morning, and the smell of freshly baked croissants wafted from the new French bakery. The store was almost empty, as were the display cabinets that should have been teeming with tempting pastries at this hour. The rock music blared. The bakery assistant who wore yesterday’s apron and a half-hearted smile, dropped the croissant she was bagging while remarking to a colleague that running out of croissants was ‘not a good look for a French bakery’. She haphazardly sealed the bag by scrunching the top with her fist. The customer paid $4.90 for the croissant. His coffee was half price because of a special promotion the bakery was running to attract more customers before 9.30am. What should have been a story about an exceptional croissant worth paying almost $5 for was broken because of the mediocre experience.

Where did the bakery go wrong and how could they tell a better brand story? The biggest problem is the disconnect between their desire to pitch their product as a premium offering and supporting that story with nothing more than quality ingredients and high prices. The service design and delivery tells a different story. The empty display cabinets, discounting, poorly trained and presented staff and music that doesn’t enhance the mood, create a disconnect.

Our brand stories are not merely a way to get customers to come through the door and hand over cash—we want them to feel glad that they did. Every choice we make and everything we do must align with the story we want our brand to embody. Our actions have to support the message we want customers to believe.

The product, environment, service, and design each play a part in taking our customers on a journey we hope they’ll want to repeat. It’s our job to make sure the story is consistent from start to finish. We do that by being clear about exactly what our brand stands for and by making deliberate decisions that align with and support that vision.

Image by Emanuele Toscano.