Brand really comes into its own when you want to communicate your business, to tell your story, to create a narrative that wraps it all together. As individuals, we all buy into stories, it is the way that we have been taught to learn from an early age. The story that a brand presents needs to be simple, easy to understand and something that you can replicate. The essence of this story starts with the tagline.

1 ) The first line of communication

Taglines are something that can be done well, or as in most cases, badly. An example of a bad tagline is one in which the line offers little help in understanding what you do and the way you do it. It is a dry piece of communication in many ways, but it is the foundation from which most communication can be built from, which can then be more creative and fun.

A tagline that is too emotive makes little sense if the company is unknown. If I were to say ‘Magnolia Solutions – we make it right’. The question in the mind of the reader is, what do you make right? It leaves the idea of who you are very unclear. Compare that with ‘Jeeves – London’s finest dry cleaners’. Here we have a name that conjures some emotion, and then we have a tag that exactly describes what they are about and adds an element of desirability to it as well.

Once a tagline is in place, other forms of messaging can be derived from the brand values which should have already been created. What’s cool about brand values is that you have gone through a process which has concentrated down many words into a few meaningful ones, but now, when it comes to communication, we can take any one of those values and expand them out again to have more play and fun, as long as the meaning of that value is not lost.

2) Creating the right image

The next way a brand story comes to life is through the use of non-literal imagery. The power of non-literal imagery is that it captures the imagination. In communication these days we have approximately a second and a half for someone to get your story, to attract attention, for someone to stop and look at your communication and go ‘hmmm, that looks interesting.’ If the visual we use is too literal it creates no spark of interest. It becomes hard to differentiate you from your competitors.

If you run a flooring company, showing cross sections of floors wouldn’t stimulate most in the slightest. That’s why great brand communication uses associative imagery, like a famous sportsman running, sweat dripping off his face, with an expression of concentration, and wearing some branded trainers. That kind of image will make some, stop what they are doing, and take notice. Your image has to interrupt someone’s regular flow. It has to demand attention.

3) The message carries the weight

Great story telling can even be done without visual prompts if it has a powerful main message. This has to be short, punchy, to be understood again within that second and a half. It then needs to create a reaction, it might make you laugh or think. As the words do all the work they have to be powerful and appropriate so as to echo in the mind of the reader. Again, having brand values really help in forming a message as you have already concentrated down what your brand stands for in those values.

These are the characters involved in creating a brand story. They all play their part in varying degrees, depending on the format of communication, whether that is print, a Facebook ad, website or brochure. The important thing is that they all sing from the same hymn sheet. That the consistency of idea and tone is derived from the pre-defined brand values.