Woman talks to group who intently listen
More than ever, consumers want to understand and align with a company’s purpose, values and identity. Sharing the origin story of your business can help them do just that. — Getty Images/ monkeybusinessimages

Every business began as an idea, a vision or an accidental discovery. From local shops to major corporations, every brand has an origin story — and customers want to hear yours. Data from Sprout Social found 57% of consumers will spend more with a brand they feel connected to, and 76% will buy from them over a competitor.

More than ever, consumers want to understand and align with a company’s purpose, values and identity. They want brands to be more human and relatable — what better way to do that than explain “here’s how I got here”? Here’s how you can approach telling what is arguably your brand’s most important story.

What is an origin story?

An origin story is a simple, digestible narrative explaining how your company was started. Your business’s origin story might include the who, what, where, when and how of your business’s beginnings. The most memorable origin stories focus on the ‘why’ of how the company came to be.

[Read: 7 Steps to Building a More Resilient Business]

Why your brand story is important

Almost everyone knows that Apple started in a garage, Facebook was developed in a dorm room, and Coca-Cola was originally a medicine. Stories like this capture our attention and stick in our memories. According to a multitude of sources, storytelling is practically in our DNA. Thus, telling your brand story is one of the quickest ways to build a connection with your audience.

Second, your origin story is your differentiator. It is what sets you apart from other companies that provide similar services or products. In a hypercompetitive marketplace, a compelling story helps customers understand who you are and gives them a reason to choose you over the others.

Finally, a great origin story strengthens your brand and can lead to increased sales and customer loyalty. It may also attract and inspire employees while serving to reinforce your company’s culture and values.

[Read: 7 Ways to Improve Company Culture Remotely]

Make sure your story feels personal, honest and authentic. It’s okay to share your humble beginnings or early challenges (it might even make your brand more relatable), but don’t make something up just because it sounds good.

Tips for telling your brand’s origin story

Defining and telling your brand’s origin story can be a daunting task. Don’t worry though — your story will evolve over time as your company grows. To help you get started, here are some tips for telling an engaging story.

Be authentic

Make sure your story feels personal, honest and authentic. It’s okay to share your humble beginnings or early challenges (it might even make your brand more relatable), but don’t make something up just because it sounds good.

Keep it concise

A great origin story is easily told, retold and recognized. Thus, it needs to be clear and concise. Rather than including every date and detail, try to focus on the “aha” moment, which is the pivotal event that revealed an unmet need or a new way of doing things.

Make your customer the hero

It may sound counterintuitive, but your origin story isn’t only about the company or the founder.

Make sure you tie it back to the customer by highlighting the problem you solved for them, or the unique benefits you aimed to provide.

Use specific details

Just as your favorite books and movies use detailed imagery, so should your story. Create an image in your audience’s mind by sharing specific details about the characters, setting and how you were feeling. These details will help draw people in and make your story more real.

Get inspired

There are plenty of great origin stories out there to help get your creative juices flowing. Look to others in your industry or brands you admire for inspiration. CamelBak, Torchy’s Tacos and Starbucks all have examples of company origin stories. You can also look to time-tested frameworks like the Hero’s Journey to help you structure your story.

Be consistent

Once you have your business’s origin story, share it consistently. Tell the story on your website, on social media, in interviews, and in pitches. Teach it to your employees and instill it into the company culture. Telling your story over and over makes your brand memorable and reminds people why they should connect with you.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published December 16, 2021