By Cyndi Pyburn 

At the heart of every successful brand is a ‘brand story.’ It is that story that creates, first and foremost, trust. The story should be simple, and easy to understand. The story should be amplified through personality. More and more brands today are embracing the power of stories to transform their presence and identity. Why? It is quite simply the best way to connect with customers. It goes beyond the actual product or service being sold. It provides context, meaning, and emotion.

A brand story can be built from scratch, but must be authentic in its intent. A few examples:

Uber says it is evolving the way the world moves by connecting riders through its app and delivering for the rider a better experience. Your ride. On demand.

Coca Cola’s story is about happiness and its small role in perpetuating that emotion around the world. Inspire moments of optimism and happiness.

Go Pro says it helps people capture and share their lives’ most meaningful experiences with others. Think it. See it. Do it.

TOMS’ founder witnessed the hardships faced by children growing up without shoes while traveling and, wanting to help, created TOMS shoes, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a new pair of shoes for a child in need. One for One.

The brand story must come to life both in the store and online. In fact, the story can be used as the catalyst to launch. The story helps a retailer to immediately connect and engage with customers. The story is unique to help a retailer to stand out and be differentiated. The story helps a retailer to develop their core message – what they stand for. It is that ‘why ’that customers believe in and become loyal to. In Simon Sinek’s ‘Start with Why,’ he asks why does your organization exist? Your why is the purpose, cause, or belief that inspires you to do what you do. When you think, act, and communicate starting with Why, you can inspire others.

Then the magic happens. Content abounds. It becomes much easier to create content that is tightly connected to the brand story. Take Sport Chek, for example. Through extensive consumer research that Sklar Wilton & Associates conducted, a brand positioning was validated and translated into ‘Your Better Starts Here’. The key insight was that sport is transformational and is a journey to a ‘better you’. This informed Sport Chek’s advertising and content platform.

Ultimately, a brand story must inspire – inspire a customer to ‘try’, inspire a customer to ‘buy’, inspire a customer to ‘stay.’  Loyalty is the ultimate brand story success measure.