Design and tell compelling brand stories

Storytelling is a transaction where emotional information is exchanged for an emotional response. Told well, your brand story serves the same purpose.

Just as storytelling introduces a character, plot, and conclusion for that emotional transfer of information, your brand story uses what you do, who you are for, why you do it, and how you do it to elicit a specific emotional response from your audience. The best brand storytellers understand what sentiments and emotions capture attention, resonate, and even compel action for their audiences.

Story is 22 times more memorable than any other piece of information you will ever share. Storytelling helps your brand reach its objectives by:

  • Aligning your brand’s messaging
  • Informing decision-making
  • Capturing attention in oversaturated markets
  • Building brand trust, reputation, and awareness
  • Increasing engagement, website traffic, conversions, and sales

Storytelling basics

The three main story elements are plot, characters, and conclusion. The plot is what’s happening in the story, while the conclusion is what happens to the characters in the end. You can also think of emotion as its own fourth essential story element.

Each story has a story arc which has five parts: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution, which can be rearranged to create different story structures. There are at least eight common story structures. The most used is the mountain, where tension and drama steadily increase until the climax happens near the end of the story.


Generate multiple viable ideas for your brand story and story arc from which to choose.

Combine empathy with audience research to design a brand story that makes an emotional connection with your audience.

Align each story element, like the characters, plot, and conclusion, with your story mission, and create your brand story outline.

Add depth and intersectionality to your brand story through ideation using the SCAMPER model.

Creating low cost, low effort brand story concepts to prototype and test, using the Napkin Pitch model.

Benchmark and test your brand stories against the success indicators of emotion, reaction, and lasting action to see if they are viable and resonate with your audience.

This hub and its playbooks could do with a tighter focus. The title is Design and tell compelling brand stories – but the content often wanders off into general storytelling. We first need to clarify what a brand story is and where the value lies in telling your brand stories.

To my understanding, brand stories are specifically about how a brand came to be and what the brand is doing today. Google is a great example of a brand that used to tell great brand stories. It had its origin story, but it also had unique stories about what it was doing internally to innovate and support its workers.

The reason I’m pointing this out is that when it comes to points like brainstorming brand story ideas and writing out the story arc, you’re typically not writing fiction – you’re telling a heavily stylized version of a true story. So instead of looking for story ideas and characters and arcs, maybe it makes more sense to first look for notable employee experiences and funny or inspirational stories from founders.

The introduction is far too long and fluffy. But it has some really good stuff hidden in the collapsible sections!

These points are good too.

Cut down the intro to the points I’ve quoted above.

No need for an intro to the steps.

Make all of the steps more concrete and action-focused; less feeling- and concept-focused. See if helps.

While this isn’t strictly a summary of the playbook, it’s pretty good – you’re giving the reader an idea of what to expect from clicking through to the playbook, without indulging in unnecessary window-dressing.

Made extensive edits to the hub intro and steps based on the feedback and the edits made to the playbooks themselves.

Hi @lsmous – thanks for the edits!

The intro is still too long:

We really need the introduction to simply explain what brand stories are, and why they’re useful. The rest is overboard.

The steps are a lot better – much more action-focused. :+1:t3:

Trimmed down quite a bit.

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