Guest Blog: The power of a brand story and how to use it to reach more customers

Hello, I’m Holly, the founder of Yorkshire Brand Stories.

Born and raised in the beautiful city of York, I have been influenced and inspired by my city’s heritage, culture and home-grown brands. York is not only rich in history, cobbled streets and chocolate making but it is also a modern city. Vibrant and full of life, a source of inspiration to many businesses and individuals to build their brand story around.

What is the purpose of a brand story?

You brand story is your purpose, your mission, your voice and your vision. It tells your customers what you are about and what to expect from you. It determines what you stand for…and what you don’t stand for. It is the guiding principals of your business and helps shape your business decisions and bring clarity and direction.

It’s the reason you get out of bed every day and work every single hour without a break till someone tells you to stop! It’s what connects you with your customers and when used effectively can be the most powerful tool to market your business.

What should I consider when writing my brand story?

Remember branding is not just about the visual – it’s what your business is about, what it stands for and your tone of voice.

What is your business about and not about? Be clear what your businesses is and isn’t about. Telling your customers what you don’t do can be just as powerful as telling them all the wonderful things you do, do.

What is the essence of your brand?

What do you do differently?

What’s your tone of voice? Conversational, high energy, knowledgeable, genuine, professional, calming?

Who is your target audience?  What’s their gender, age, are you targeting families, professionals, hobbyists? Are you able to supply locally, nationally, globally? How affordable is your product?

How do you want to be perceived? Friendly, helpful, thorough, environmental, charitable, innovative, fun & wacky, creative?

What is your strap line? Or how can you sum yourself up in one sentence? Here a couple of great examples from local businesses:

York Gin – History in the tasting’

Yorkshire Provender – Honestly delicious’

York Mumbler – Your local parenting community’

When it comes to the visual aspect of your brand story this is usually the first way people will discover your brand. So making a good first impression is vital to setting out what your brand story is about and what people can expect from you. You want to spark their imagination, excite and delight them and even bring fond memories to the forefront, connecting with them on a personal level.

The York Cocoa House branding pays homage to the great chocolate makers of the city and York’s chocolate heritage. Many local families will have a connection to the chocolate industry and York Cocoa House draws on those memories to connect with their customers. The simple, honest brown paper packaging allows the decadent, handmade chocolates to sing at the forefront. This stripped back approach also fits with the companies brand values of producing a fairer chocolate that not only tastes good but also does good.

Partnering with an artist is a great way to help illustrate your brand story. Finding someone with a  style that fits your brand can really add layers to your story telling and also gives you a wider audience instantly by tapping into that artists fan base. Local artist Emily Sutton created illustrations for Bettys café which were used throughout their packaging to evoke memories of traditional activities such as enjoying an afternoon tea whilst people watching from the grand tearoom setting.

By allowing customers to purchase products with these unique designs customers are whisked away to the Bettys café every time they open the cupboard and reach for their tin of tea to make a cuppa. If you are interested in learning more about working with artists please get in touch as I can help connect you with the right partners for your brand through my local artist licensing programme.

If you are starting to write or review your brand story I have created some simple activity sheets to help you work through these questions as well as a couple of completed examples which you are welcome to download for free. I’d love to hear your brand story so please do share yours with me!

How can I tell my brand story effectively?

Writing your brand story is key to knowing where you are coming from and how to market your business to potential customers.

Use your brand story to form the language of your marketing tools such as website, blogs and key words. To ensure the language, look and feel of your brand is consistent throughout every single touch point of your business create a mini style guide. This should include current logos, fonts and phrases as well as graphics, photo’s and brand imagery. Free services such as Canva are great tools to set this up.

REMEMBER: A consistent brand look and voice makes you memorable, trustworthy and appealing!

Social media, websites, newsletter and the like are all essential parts of marketing your brand but which ones are most relevant and effective for your business? Which tools allow you to best express your brand story?

How else can you make an impact, allow customers to experience or taste of your brand and how can you educate your customers and allow them to interact with you?

York Mumbler is a community focussed business whose primary objective is to keep parents of York informed about what is going on in the local area. In October half term they hosted a free, community Goblin trail at Rowntree Park. This covid safe activity allowed families to get out the house with young children and explore the local area. The Goblin trail gave York Mumbler, usually a digitally focussed business, the opportunity to have a physical presence in the city and reach a new audience.

My top tips:

  • Establish and write down your Brand Story
  • Define what your business is AND isn’t about
  • Create a Brand style guide and update your current customer touch points to ensure you project the same messages – verbally and visually – throughout
  • Asses your marketing tools and develop those that are most effective for your business

How can I help you?

Having spent 14 years managing global brands in the consumer goods industry I had a strong desire to be better connected to the city that had shaped me. Yorkshire Brand Stories was born to enable me to work with local brands I felt passionate about and made a difference within my community.

If you are looking for help writing your brand story or building your brand please feel free to get in touch and have a no obligation chat. If you are interested in learning more about my artist licensing programme I would love to grab a cuppa with you are share the secrets to this lucrative industry.

Holly Davies – Yorkshire Brand Stories

07544 281036

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