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Does Your Brand Have a Backstory?

Does Your Brand Have a Backstory?

What’s the first thing people think of when they see your brand? OK, what about the second?

The photo below is pretty, colorful, quaint, someone even said it was like a fairy tale. Cool, great photo. Maybe I could sell it at a stock photo site. But those are all extras, icing, bonus points. The true power of the photo is that it’s the place where both of my kids learned how to ride bicycles. Would you realize that from the photo? No, of course not. But if the photo came with a caption or some text or a story, it would put a whole different perspective on the photo. Then again, maybe not for everyone. For me, it’s a photo of a special place that I’ll never forget and it’s very important to me and to my kids. In fact, it qualifies for the esteemed Lounge Chair of Timeless Oblivion status because it’s a place that’s so dear to my heart and when I’m biking in that forest, I’m at peace at such a deep level I’m not sure I ever want to leave. In a word, it’s one of my paradises.

That’s delightful that it’s so meaningful to me, but what about my audience?

If the backstory is meaningful for the owner, is that enough? Maybe.

It might be enough if the story is so meaningful to me that my client at least remembers it–or maybe remembers it more than they would a pretty photo without a backstory. How does this work? This may sound far-fetched, but I’ve seen it happen. Because you’re passionate about something, it doesn’t necessarily translate into someone else being passionate about that same thing, but at the very least, they recognize and “give you credit” for your passion. They’ll remember it.

We had a heater repairman come check out our furnace. I don’t know anything about furnaces and I truly don’t care to learn. But this guy spoke about the furnace as if she were his mistress! He knew everything about them, knew the special tricks, the oddball stories and anecdotes and his passion rubbed off on me. Not that I fell in love with my furnace, but that I acknowledged and even admired his passion for his trade, his brand, his knowledge. He had a story to tell behind the furnace that I remembered. Do I remember the name of his company? No. But I could dig his name up in my records and I’d hire him again in a heartbeat.

I’ve worked in branding for a decade. It’s almost impossible to create a name with a backstory. But you can almost go about it the other way around: what’s a backstory you can turn into your brand?

It’s not the only path to take in branding, but it’s certainly one and it’s certainly memorable. What happened in the forest below that was so important? Can you remember?

Is there some meaning behind it?

Is there some meaning behind it? Both of my kids learned to ride bicycles in this forest. [Barneveld, Holland]

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