Test and iterate on brand stories to improve them

Business benefits

Resonate more with your audience, increase organic reach and engagement, and reach your brand goals with better brand stories.

Create or review a four-quadrant Napkin Pitch model for your brand story prototype, with quadrants labeled Theme, Benefits, Execution, and Business.

Elaborate on your plans for story format, length, distribution, and promotion in the Execution quadrant of your brand story prototype.

For example, you may decide that your story will turn into long blog posts that are posted on your website.

Turn your prototype into a sample piece of content.

If you want to turn your story into a long blog post, create that long blog post or at least a draft of it to start testing it. Alternatively, to keep the testing phase low-cost, you can just use your Napkin Pitch model quadrants with thorough answers as the testing prototype.

Make a list of potential insiders who fit your target audience and can help benchmark your story.

For example, if your target audience is engineers, create a small group of around 10 to 20 engineers who fit your target audience. Ask customer-facing teams for suggestions about who should be an insider.

Submit your story concepts for insider feedback by showing them your prototypes.

For example, make a LinkedIn group with your list of insiders and then post your two to three story prototypes.

Collect feedback from your insiders through discussions, interviews, polls, or surveys to benchmark your story.

Ask your insiders questions like:

  • Which prototype did you prefer? Why?
  • Did you read the entire thing? Where did you lose interest?
  • What emotion did you feel?
  • What did you think of the conclusion?
  • What part stood out to you?

Finalize your execution plan based on the insiders’ feedback.

For example, if the group of engineers says they like to read long posts, but first need something short to read, you may decide to add a bulleted summary at the beginning of the blog post.

Execute your plan by creating the storytelling content and publishing it to your broader audience in the way that fits your distribution plan.

To keep the costs down, start small with one blog post or one video. Later, you can weave your storytelling into more of your content strategy after collecting more feedback.

Track and analyze performance metrics for your story content to compare against your benchmark and goals.

For example, look at shares, clicks, likes, and comments to see how people are responding to your story. Keep in mind that a lot of impressions does not mean it resonated the way you wanted it to. Look deeper into the comments and discussion to see what people are saying about the story.

If the response to your prototype is poor or does not meet your goals, identify opportunities to iterate on your story design and better empathize, more clearly define your story, ideate further, or update your prototype.

Even if you prototype your story and benchmark your goals, it can still fall short when exposed to a larger audience. For example, if people are clicking on your story but quickly leaving the page, you may need to go back to the empathy stage to understand why your audience is quickly leaving the page.

Repeat the process until your story resonates with your audience and meets your brand objectives. Remember, each story is still a prototype. Be willing to go through this process many times before finding success.

“Resonate more with your audience and reach your brand goals.”

I think that this step reads poorly and isn’t easy to digest.

I don’t think that ‘story’ is needed in-between target and audience.

This can be worded differently. Using “Review earlier stages…” would be better than ‘go back’

Edits made to address feedback. More context included for the Napkin Pitch model to make this playbook read better standalone.

1 Like

Thanks @lsmous – this looks good.