Once upon a time, in 2006, there was a girl who lived in San Francisco.
At 22 years old, she dropped out of community college and got a job as a campus safety host at a local art school. By day, she sat at a desk checking student IDs. By night, she sold secondhand clothing on eBay, making as much as $1000 in profit per sale.
In 2008, the girl closed her eBay shop and launched her own e-commerce site selling trendy, vintage-style women's apparel. What started as an online side hustle grew quickly -- and unexpectedly -- into a multimillion-dollar retail powerhouse. In 2011, her company's revenue increased to $23 million and at its peak, it garnered $100 million in annual sales with more than 200 employees. That company is NastyGal.com (the retail site that sparked my love for online shopping) and the girl from San Francisco is Sophia Amoruso, founder of Nasty Gal and the author of her best-selling memoir, #Girlboss.
Although Nasty Gal filed bankruptcy in 2016 and was sold in 2017 (I know- not the happy ending we were hoping for), the company still has one helluva success story. And when it comes to building your brand, that's one of the key components of establishing its identity- your brand story.
Why is your brand story important?
Whenever I'm working with clients who are launching a blog or website for their business, the first thing I ask them is why. Why are you launching your brand? What's the story behind it?
Identifying the 'why' of your brand is essential because it's personal. It adds character and purpose behind what you're doing. It's what makes your brand unique because it tells a story. And people love a good story. Why? Because it's inspiring. It's relatable. It's REAL.
So what exactly makes a good brand story?
Think about your reaction to the Nasty Gal story at the beginning of this post. Was it compelling? Inspiring? Did it intrigue you enough to make you want to check out their website? If so, that's exactly what a good brand story should do: captivate, inspire and build a connection. So how exactly do you do that? Here are three key essentials your brand story should have:
Your mission. Every story has a protagonist, or hero, who is tasked with a mission he or she must accomplish to solve a greater problem. Your mission is the reason why you started your brand or business in the first place. It's the problem that needed solving- that thing that kept you awake at night until you finally answered your "calling" and embarked on your journey to building your business. It's the driving force behind not only what you do, but who you are. It's what gives your brand its purpose.
Your challenges. At one point or another in the story, every hero is faced with some level of adversity. In the Nasty Gal story, the hero is the founder, Sophia Amoruso, and her challenge was finding a career that she was passionate about after dropping out of school. We all face obstacles in life that can either break us down or make us stronger. Sharing the challenges you've faced while building your brand/business is a powerful element that will make your brand story compelling and relatable.
Your victories. Every hero must overcome whatever obstacle(s) they face during their journey. When you were reading the brand story earlier, did you feel inspired by the Sophia's journey from being a community college dropout to the founder of a multi-million-dollar company? Or think about a really good movie you've watched recently. Were you rooting for the main character the entire time? Did it almost feel like you were on the journey right alongside them? That's what a good story does-it evokes human emotions because it promotes the human experience. Sharing how you've made strides and overcome challenges in your business will make your customers feel like they're a part of your journey, which builds engagement and loyalty.
Your story is not only a great way to introduce and promote your business, it's a great way for people to connect with your brand on a deeper, more relatable level. It's the one thing that sets you apart from the millions of other brands that exist in this ever-evolving digital marketing space.
Are you a content creator who needs help developing your brand story? If so, book a free consultation with me and let's get started!