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Get the Free 20 questions to Ask Before Launching Your Idea workbook when you sign up for occasional updates.

The 20 Keys To A Brand Story

A brand story is more than a narrative. The story goes beyond the copy on a website, the text in a brochure, or the presentation used to pitch to investors. Your story isn’t just what you tell people. It’s what they believe about you based on the signals your brand sends. The story is a complete picture made up of facts, feelings, and interpretations, which means that part of your story isn’t even told by you.
Everything you do, from the colours and texture of your packaging to the staff you hire, is part of your brand story, and every element of it should reflect the truth about your brand back to your audience.
If you want to build a successful, sustainable business, a brand that will garner loyalty and, if you’re lucky, become loved, you have to start with your story.


1. The Truth
What business are you in?
Car companies don’t just manufacture boxes to get people from A to B.

2. Purpose
The reason you exist.

3. Vision
What impact do you see your business making in the world?

4. Values
Your values reinforce the vision for the business, shape its culture, and guide its behaviours.

5. Products and Services
Do they live up to the story you want to tell?

6. Your People
Leaders and employees, their values and posture.

7. Value you deliver
Think beyond features and benefits.
People don’t buy what you do; they buy how it makes them feel.

8. Name and Tagline
Your opening move.

9. Content and Copy
Your content and copy are the way you woo your customers. They are your voice and the way you communicate your brand’s personality.

10. Design
The visual shorthand that helps people to make decisions about your brand.
It also shapes the user’s experience of your products and makes them work better.

11. Your Actions
How you do everything, from greeting customers to answering the phone and requesting payment,

12. Customer Experience
Customer experience is everything that happens when people encounter your brand and how it makes your customers feel.

13. Price and Quality
The price you charge and the quality of what you sell or serve sends a signal to the right people.

14. Perception
Your position is your customers’ perception. It’s shaped by the way in which you touch their hearts, not by how you manipulate their thinking.

15. Distribution
How you get your products and services into the hands of customers sends them a signal about your brand. It can also provide a competitive advantage.

16. Location
Your location has to align with your business strategy.

17. Ubiquity or Scarcity
Do you want to have a product in every store, or will being selective about where your brand is stocked align with your story? Is your plan to have a presence on the tablet of every consumer with access to an Internet connection, or will you serve just a handful of consulting clients each year?

18. Community
Your audience. The people you want to reach out to, those your brand resonates with.
The people who feel like they belong and who want to share your story.

19. Reputation
The story your customers tell about you. How your idea and brand story is spread. What one person says to another to recommend your brand.

20. Reaction and Reach
How your customers behave towards your brand. Lines at the Apple store.

You’ll find more about how to tell a great brand story using the 20 keys in my new book
The Fortune Cookie Principle
now available on Amazon.

The story you tell is a choice. What story are you telling?