Are you ready to harness the power of your brand narrative? Discover the differences between a brand narrative and a brand story and how to create cohesive content to build your brand.

Before Netflix, television and even books were invented, stories and narratives have constantly circulated between people.

Cognitive psychologist, Jerome Bruner, states that people are 22 times more likely to remember facts through a story than simply the fact given on its own. It’s for this very reason that marketers recommend the use of brand storytelling and narrative to build brand reputation, identity and exposure.

Research even suggests if consumers believe in a brand story, they’re:

• 55% more likely to buy a product in the future

• 44% more inclined to share the story

• 15% more likely to buy the product immediately

However, to tap into this extraordinary opportunity, businesses need to understand the difference between a brand narrative and a brand story.

What is a brand story?

A brand story is not just a brand’s story, in that it belongs only to the history of a company.

A common example of a brand's story is seen on the ‘About’ or ‘Our Story’ page on a company's website. This is a brand’s story, and although it makes up an important chapter of the overall story, the overall brand story goes further.

A brand story includes facts and feelings created by a business. It’s the way a brand decides to tell its own story, and it's why brand storytelling is so important.

It involves features like:

• The brand mission, vision, and statement

• Brand values

• Brand history and existence

• Characters (Owners, partners, staff etc)

• Products and services

A brand story is a business-centric model. It’s a story concerned with the business only.

What is a brand narrative?

The brand narrative is a concept of applying narrative principles to a business. As long as the brand continues to exist, the brand narrative remains continuous and adaptable over time.

Elements of a brand narrative involve:

• The brand story/stories

• Brand identity

• Consumer relations/perceptions

• Brand reputation

• Brand design

• Brand tone of voice

A brand narrative is a business-centric, product-centric, and customer-centric model. It involves all elements of a brand beyond its own story.

A great brand narrative will cultivate dialogue from multiple sources while willingly collaborating with other companies, clients, and co-creators over time to help nurture its overall narrative.

What is the difference between a brand narrative and a brand story?

While we’ve all probably heard of a brand story, the brand narrative is not as well-known. Nevertheless, the latter is arguably more important.

What distinguishes a brand narrative from a story is the structure and size. In basic terms, a brand narrative is bigger. It contains a brand story within the narrative but is also influenced by forces outside of itself, such as customers, culture, competitors and other factors.

The distinction between a brand story and narrative impacts the roles both play in the world of marketing. The main difference is structure.

• Story structure – Beginning, middle, end

• Narrative structure – Flexible and ongoing

Stories by nature are singular in that they’re a one-sided account intended for an audience. On the other hand, a brand narrative is open, adaptable and comprised of many voices.

As a result, the brand narrative runs deeper than the brand story as it involves narrative psychology. Through a sense of narrative psychology, consumers will shape their memories of a brand, alongside their present opinions and projections of the future, by defining themselves in their relationship to the business.

This is perhaps the brand narrative’s greatest strength over the brand story. While the business-centric brand story ends, a brand narrative continues to live on, nurturing and developing into something more powerful.

Another key difference between the two concepts is how a brand story contains a singular author (the brand). The narrative, however, is shaped by multiple influences.

While a brand story is a business-centric model, a brand narrative is business, customer and product-centric all in one.

So, where a brand story ends, a brand narrative continues to develop.

Elements of a brand narrative

For a brand narrative to be strong, it must be believable. Brand narrative aims to develop total trust in your brand from every source, internally and externally. After all, 81% of consumers agree that they need to be able to trust a brand before investing.

If you're going to generate trust for your consumers to believe in your brand, each narrative element must run consistently. Here is a list of the key brand narrative elements.

Brand Story

As already discussed, the brand story is comprised of the history and people of the business. It must maintain a consistent mission and vision to contribute towards a cohesive brand narrative.

Brand tone of voice

A brand’s tone of voice (TOV) runs right through all elements of content and communication. From product descriptions to customer service conversations, all lines of communication impact the overall identity of a brand and its subsequent narrative.

Brand design

Every element of design impacts the overall impression placed upon a brand. For the brand identity to remain strong, it must showcase consistent design features, from colours to the logo and social media visuals

How to create a strong brand narrative

A true brand narrative is cohesive from top to bottom. The best way to develop a healthy brand narrative is to begin by establishing your company’s mission, vision and statement. Ask yourself, why does my brand exist? These values accompanied by your history will provide a clear and cohesive brand story for you to build on.

From the business-centric brand story, you must then maintain complete consistency across all aspects of your business, extending further through your culture, community and client base. For consumers to believe and trust in your narrative, you must supply them with complete faith. This faith and trust will ultimately serve you with a strong brand narrative that will only be damaged if the brand doesn’t remain consistent while willing to adapt when necessary. Remember stories end, while narratives live on.

At Design in the Shires, we’ve become specialists at establishing strong brand narratives by mastering all aspects of digital marketing. Whether it’s a website design or SEO and content creation, we offer complete digital marketing packages to our clients, so they can establish themselves consistently and competitively across all sides of their business.

If you’re looking to improve the presence of your brand narrative, get in touch. We have what it takes to turn consumers into true believers in your business.

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