Storytelling is Your Secret Sauce to Branding. Here’s How You Do It

What do you think of when I say coffee? Most people think of Starbucks.

Starbucks has now become synonymous with drinking coffee. Millions of people visit a Starbucks store every day to get their daily coffee boost. For a brand that’s barely 20 years old, that’s pretty good.

The success of Starbucks coffee has inspired the opening of hundreds of thousands of cafes all around the world wanting to create the same success. But unlike Starbucks, most of these stores fold within months of opening.

If you’ve been thinking about opening your own café or building an international brand like Starbucks, it is worth examining what they are doing differently so you don’t become part of the statistics.

The Starbucks Story

People like drinking coffee at Starbucks for just one reason. It’s not because Starbucks has the best coffee around (it doesn’t). It’s really because they want to be part of the Starbucks story.

What’s the Starbucks story?

The Starbucks story is a story of growth, connection and family. You can have the best cup of coffee in the world but you won’t feel connected to other coffee drinkers unless you’re drinking a cup of Starbucks coffee.

Starbucks told a story that resonated with millions of people around the world.

The Secret of Master Storytellers

Founders of the best-known brands out there are also master storytellers. They hone their storytelling skills to absolute perfection because they know that stories are what connect their customers to them.

They know that without stories, they end up like everyone else – formal, ‘professional’ and boring. When they tell stories, they bedazzle their audience and bring them into their tribe.

Storytellers take advantage of our human fascination with stories to put us under their spell and make us want to be part of what they do.

And it’s working.

‘1,000 Songs in Your Pocket’

One of the most famous master storytellers of our time was non-other than Steve Jobs. He transformed gadgets from being something for geeks to something that everybody wanted.

And he did this by telling stories about a new way of living. When he wanted people to buy into his idea of the iPod, Steve Jobs explained it as having ‘1,000 songs in your pocket.’

If he had said something more factual like, “1,024MB of data that gives you the flexibility of storing 1,000 audio files” the iPod would have failed.

Give an Edge to Your Online Brand

As more people put their brands online, it has become increasingly challenging to stand out from the crowd. If you sound like every other brand, there’s really no reason for anyone to pick you over the thousands of others just like you. You blur out and become a commodity.

Use Stories to Fascinate

To stand out in the noise and come out on top, you must learn how to fascinate your audience. Storytelling allows you to connect with people. By showing them that you are human and that you feel how they feel, you’ll be able to build an unbreakable bond with your audience.

Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Share your ‘How I Started’ Story

Somewhere on your website (usually the about page) should be a personal story of how it you ended up doing what you’re doing now. Some of the best How I Got Started stories go back to the founder’s experimental years where she tried out different ideas and ultimately ended up with her business today.

Sharing personal stories of struggle and success allows your audience to relate to you as a person.

2. Share your Why

Explain why you are doing what you do. When people understand the why behind your brand, they can decide if that’s important to them. If say the reason you started a fitness business is so people don’t end up unhealthy like you did, that is going to be important to people who want to do the same.

When people can see that your business is connected with a deeper, more meaningful goal, they will be pulled in by your message.

3. Pick a side

Show people what you stand for and what you don’t. Doing this automatically makes people want to support your cause and will attract the right type of people to come buy from you.

If you hate environmental destruction, you will likely gain the attention of those who support the same cause. People like associating themselves with other people who share a strong belief in something with them.

4. Share stories of failure

Even when it makes you feel uncomfortable. Sharing stories of how you have failed makes people feel closer to you. By being vulnerable, you break your image of perfection and gain the empathy from people you want to sell to.

Nothing builds trust and connection faster and more effectively than vulnerability. Vulnerability is the secret weapon nobody likes using, making it that much more effective when you do.

5. Write in a simple and easy to understand way

Nothing turns people away from your writing than words that they don’t understand and sentences that are too long. If you want to sound like an expert, make it easy for other people to understand what you are saying.

If you write in a way that’s difficult to understand, you make people feel stupid. Stupid is the brand killer.

6. Help your readers understand how your unique experiences can help them

The most important part of storytelling is when you help your readers connect the dots. Show them how your unique experiences can help them to solve their problems in a way no one else can.

All the storytelling means nothing but a pat on your ego if you don’t relate to how you can help people solve their problems.

If you’re a coach, show them how you found your passion for helping people and how your unique coaching methods can help them where other coaches have failed.


Storytelling is a great way to build trust and connect with people. By telling stories people about yourself and showing people how human you are you get to build connections with them.

It doesn’t matter if you’re good at storytelling or not. Storytelling is a skill anyone can master, even if you are not a born natural. All you have to do is practice and learn from master storytellers.

By telling stories about your business, you will finally stand out from everyone else and successfully build a brand everyone wants to be part of.

Join other smart people who like to read about business

Subscribe and get my weekly newsletter packed with the latest insights about business in Malaysia so you can make smart decisions for yourself.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *