You’ve invested organizational resources to develop a solid brand strategy, one that differentiates your company in the marketplace and provides a clear plan for success—only to realize that the average attention span is only eight seconds long.

It’s a problem that all organizations face. The most successful are those that tell their brand story in a way that:

  • Is clear, consistent and compelling
  • Captures the audience’s attention; i.e., gives them a reason to care
  • Uses simple, “everyday” language (no industry jargon)
  • Incorporates stories, analogies, and/or anecdotes
  • Follows a logical structural narrative

From Brand Strategy to Brand Story, or How to Get to the Point

A good brand story is clear, simple and interesting. It immediately gets to the heart of the matter (the “why?”). Everything else, i.e., the “who, what, where, and when,” follows.

A good brand story is concise. It contains just enough information to create a position in the mind of the consumer. (In marketing speak, brand positioning is the most important element of the marketing plan because it provides internal direction for external messaging.)

Visual outlines are very helpful for synthesizing the strategic outputs of a branding project into a concise and logical story that employees embrace and customers remember. It can be a hand-drawn map, a Word table, a stack of sticky-notes or index cards—whatever works. Here are the most important elements to include:

Headline: So what? Who cares? What is the single most important point? Always start with the audience’s needs.

Setup: Who are you? What does your brand stand for (i.e., what is your brand promise)? Who benefits?

Challenge: What is the main challenge, conflict, or issue? How does it affect your audience?

Opportunity: What is the opportunity or unmet need? How does your brand make a difference?

Success: What does success look like? What anecdote or example best demonstrates your brand’s contribution?

Embrace Brevity

One of the hardest things to do is to turn your company’s greatest asset—its brand—into a story that someone with an eight-second attention span can’t resist. Just remember this: The objective of a good brand story is not to cover all the bases, but to provide an opening for people to say “go on, tell me more.”