Close-up photo of Mel Gibson's face from set of Braveheart movie

What’s your brand story?

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Great stories captivate both our hearts and our minds. They make us feel and think. They’re emotional and cerebral.

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Everybody loves a great story. Why? Because great stories captivate both our hearts and our minds. They make us feel and think. They’re emotional and cerebral.

My all-time favorite movie is Braveheart, the legendary story of William Wallace, a 13th century Scotsman who leads a revolt against King Edward I of England in an attempt to secure Scottish freedom. This heroic story has everything: love, drama, terror, war, hardship, battles, bravery and nobility. What more could you ask for?! It’s an epic story that is beautifully told.

People are naturally drawn to great stories. They grab our attention, keep a grip on us, and leave a lasting impression. Isn’t that what brands ought to do?

New York Times bestselling author, Donald Miller, wrote in his book, “Building a Story Brand”:

“In a story, audiences must always know who the hero is, what the hero wants, who the hero has to defeat to get what they want, what tragic thing will happen if the hero doesn’t win, and what wonderful thing will happen if they do…The same is true for the brand you represent…If we haven’t identified what our customer wants, what problem we are helping them solve, and what life will look like after they engage our products and services…we can forget about thriving in the marketplace.”

The key is to know who the hero is in your brand story. And guess what? It’s not your brand! Your customer is the hero. Good brands make their marketing story about their customers, not themselves.

Nike empowers everyday people to be athletes. Apple empowers people everywhere to live with greater freedom. Amazon empowers anybody to get anything they want right away.

Because in the real world, real people live real lives with real needs and real wants. So your brand story better be real. If you make it about yourself and how great your brand is, people will tune out. Make it about your customers and you might find out more people really love your brand.

Photo: Paramount Pictures