Telling your Brand Story
Who you are and where your business came from matters more than you think

Once upon a time…

All good fairy tales have the same beginning. 

Sometimes — very rarely — a product stands alone. But, more often, the most iconic brands are about more than just their product; they also have a story to tell. Like Cinderella’s glass slipper, it’s the people and events that make up the story. Without these, it would have been just a small (and very uncomfortable) shoe.


Your brand is not your product

Your product may be perfectly designed and of very high quality, but your brand is the feeling that encompasses your connection with your customers, and how they perceive you. It’s an important part of building a relationship that is about trust and loyalty. 

 

Your brand is also not your logo 

The world’s most recognizable brands have recognizable assets (like a swoosh or a green two-tailed mermaid), but the logo is not the brand, although it definitely plays a part. Your logo is the symbol that represents your business, its story, or even its founders, and will for a long time, so make sure you invest wisely in a professional product: a skilled graphic designer is essential. 


Start with a hero 

Who is your target market? What do they do? What do they look like? Your story needs to resonate with your customers. Have they experienced similar frustrations? Do they also share your love of the outdoors, or coffee, comfortable seating, or (insert feeling here)? Are they busy parents, or devoted pet owners? Whose pain point are you hoping to address? I bet they’re a lot like you, but you are not the hero of your brand story. Your customer is.


As the word spreads, interview your customers and harness this social proof — let your customers help shape your story. They are your best ambassadors, and by sharing their stories and images, you can reach more and more ‘heroes.’


Not just the who and what, but the why

There are billions of potential customers on the planet, but also a massive amount of merchants. Why should they choose you? Why would they choose you? Perhaps it’s your social activism or Earth-friendly practices. Maybe it’s your distinctive, high-quality materials, or maybe it’s because you have the same struggles. Whatever it is, define it. Why does your business do what it does? How does it do it differently than another? Why should a customer give you their money?


Tell your story everywhere

Your ecommerce business comprises a website, multiple social media feeds, email marketing, packaging, promotional items and signage… you name it. Each media has its own reach, and if you’re creative, you can find a way to share a part of your story in each format, whether it be video, audio, imagery, text or print. 


A brand isn’t a rut

Brands can grow. They can develop and evolve over time, as long as the brand promise made is honoured. Much like your user stories should always inform your website decisions, your brand story should inform your business decisions. 


Shopify (whose green bag logo has been revamped once or twice) is a great example: it’s a business that was created by two entrepreneurs who were struggling to create an ecommerce site for their own snowboard store. They thought that they could make entrepreneurship more accessible; that lit the spark for what is Shopify today. Each new product they launch, each new business stream, tracks back to that goal. 


So, what’s your story?

Your brand story is a powerful way to build a connection with your customers and keep your business aligned with your vision. Once you can communicate clearly who your business is for and why it matters, tell everyone. Include your brand story in your About page, share your favourite testimonials, and circulate social proof of your hero. Done well, you will catch and keep the attention — and trust — of the people that connect with your brand. 



Are you interested in telling your story with ecommerce? Download Shopify’s brand storytelling worksheet or contact us for a consultation.



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