How to Leverage a Boring Corporate Brand Story for Growth


When I discuss the benefits of companies that share their origins story, clients usually respond with “We don’t really have a story” or “It’s just not that interesting”. This kind of mindset is wrong. Typically, a brand story refers to the story of the founder or the story of how it was created, the type of brand story that provides insight into why a business started.

People often think their creation story is boring because they mistake it for a timeline, which can be both uninspiring and repetitive. What they fail to understand is that they have to focus only on why the business started.

Which companies are wrong

One example is from a men’s online store that sells bespoke swimwear made from recyclable materials, including old fishing nets. The “our story” section of his website looked more like a timeline than a story.

While chatting with the founders, I found out that they started the business when they noticed the lack of variety in men’s swimwear. Buyers had roughly a choice between wide and baggy shorts or speedos. When they lived in a coastal area where they saw firsthand the problems that discarded fishing nets were causing to the environment, they started their business to solve two problems with one solution. Not sharing this origin story on their website was such a missed opportunity.

“If you think your origin story isn’t compelling enough, or you don’t have one, think again.”

Another potential hurdle for companies believing they don’t have a founder’s story follows when the organization is a merger and acquisition merger, or is just very old. It’s important to remember that these businesses started somewhere and for a reason.

Even the biggest companies in the world have all started somewhere. Relatively young companies such as Google, Virgin, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple all have founders playing a major role in branding the company. Although Steve Jobs is deceased, he is still a major part of the Apple brand.

There are a lot of organizations that have been around for hundreds of years, but there will be an origin story if you look closely enough. By searching for my last book, I took on the challenge of finding origin stories for some of the oldest companies in the world and discovered some very interesting examples.

Brand stories don’t have to be boring

For example, the Royal Mint was established in the UK in 886. At over a thousand years old, it was founded by Alfred the Great when he took over London and began issuing silver pennies bearing his portrait.

Another example comes from Staffelter Hof, a winery and guesthouse in Germany that has been operating for over 1,150 years. The land originally belonged to the Carolingian dynasty from 580 to 876, but the family donated the land to the local abbey for work and income. It remained in the possession of the abbey until its purchase by the current family in 1805, and subsequently passed on seven generations to the current winemaker, Jan Matthias Klein. It is an impressive and interesting story.

I had to look for these stories, but it didn’t take me that long. I wish it was as easy as looking on business websites! Unfortunately, I had to find them from different resources. In fact, the History tab of the Staffelter Hof website brought me back to the Wikipedia page. What a missed opportunity to share the interesting origins of the company.

So if you think your origin story isn’t compelling enough, or you don’t have one, think again and maybe take the challenge of finding and sharing it. Providing information on why your business started will ultimately help customers connect and employees engage with your brand.

Gabrielle Dolan is a global expert in business storytelling and real-world communication. She is also the author of Magnetic Stories: Connect with Customers and Engage Employees with Brand Storytelling.

Read more : Biggest brand storytelling mistakes that are holding back business growth

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