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Building a brand narrative involves addressing the copy on your website, social media, and email campaigns with attention to your values and identity.

Strategic Brand Narratives

Every brand has a story: why it was created, whose passion keeps it going, and how it contributes to others’ lives. Consistent, creative, and authentic narratives allow your business’s story to pierce through the content-saturated digital world and stand out from the crowd.

While nearly 70% of Gen-Zers—a generation who have grown up with the Internet—find online advertising disruptive, 58% report that they’re willing to pay for content that aligns with their values. As more and more Internet-savvy generations learn to cultivate their newsfeeds to find content that resonates with their interests, it becomes imperative that you communicate your services and values through intriguing, memorable storytelling.

Here’s our short guide to digital storytelling that will help you refine your brand narrative across website, social media, and email marketing platforms. 


This is the home base for your brand’s online presence. Most—if not all—of your marketing will drive viewers back to your website, either to learn more about your business, engage with a blog post or other resource, or purchase a product. Your website needs to tell a brand narrative that both captivates and offers viewers a clear understanding of your brand, your values, and your offerings. 

Here are three essential elements of crafting your brand narrative on your website:

1. Treat your homepage like a book cover. 

Book covers offer an obvious example of branding through visual storytelling. They don’t explain the plot or introduce the characters, but they do set the mood and pique interest. 

Your website’s home page should do the same. It should immediately create a sense for the community or industry of your business, by boasting relevant, recognizable photos and familiar keywords. 

The visual and written elements that give your viewer their bearings should also give them a sense for your business’s personality and values, by creating a sensorial and emotional connection. To test this, try stepping back and imagining yourself as a first-time visitor; ask yourself: what feelings do I get and what associations do I make before clicking further?

2. Avoid jargon in your about page.

If your website’s home page is the book cover, then the about page is the summary in the dust flap. It should tell the reader what they can expect from your business.

It might be tempting to use a lot of “insider” terminology to thoroughly explain what you do and to show that you are an expert entrepreneur; but you should resist this impulse. This essential backstory shouldn’t sound like the back of a textbook; it should read like a gripping mass-market paperback. 

Viewers who already know what they want from your business won’t need the technical explanation, and those who do should be directed to your blog, FAQ, or relevant product pages. Develop a vocabulary of specific keywords and adjectives that build your brand voice, and focus on one or two events that define your brand’s origin story. Some questions to get you thinking: 

Who or what inspired you to start your business? 

Was there a particular moment when the business idea came to you?

What problems did you set out to solve? 

What needed to be done differently that inspired you to do it yourself?

Most importantly, as you craft this story, don’t be afraid to get creative. Just as no one wants to read a boring book, no one wants to browse a boring website.

3. Make your website navigation a journey.

Building an accessible, easy-to-find page with your products and services? Great! Throwing your products and services in the reader’s face every time they click on something? Not so great.

For a long time, web designers believed in the myth of the “three-click rule”: viewers will leave a website if they don’t reach something they want after three clicks. However, recent research has shown that readers are willing to keep clicking, as long as each click offers substantial progress toward their goal. The real cause of frustration isn’t the clicks, but it’s the extent to which each click offers useful, pertinent information. Even in website navigation, the journey matters—possibly as much as the destination.

Feature an obvious link to your product page in your website’s header, but otherwise focus on promoting your products through stories that highlight specific solutions, features, and offers which will appeal to the various needs of viewers. Try mapping the user journey to inform a website flow that will naturally guide viewers to where they want to go.

Social Media

Social media platforms are an important resource for growing your brand, because they offer a direct channel between your target audience and your website. If your brand’s social media presentation is inconsistent or its storytelling unengaging, users are less likely to visit your website, join your mailing list, or otherwise enter your pipeline. 

Try these practices for accentuating your brand narrative and elevating your social media impact:

1. Personalize your imagery.

Stock photos are a fantastic resource, and the industry is expanding to include not only higher quality, but more diverse and inclusive stock photos that span a wide range of themes. It’s important to recognize, though, that this imagery can only elevate your content if done carefully and intentionally; so you must resist the temptation to just pull the first stock image that looks nice and that is kind of related to your business.

Telling a brand story with images requires discernment of themes and careful consideration of the messages conveyed; and often this means personalizing the imagery you use. Original photos can be especially powerful, but that resource isn’t readily available to many businesses. Another effective means of personalization, though, is custom templates that integrate your logo, brand colors, and key phrases in your images.

2. Encourage readers to retell your story in their own words.

Don’t neglect the social in social media. Stories are effective because they allow us to relate over shared experiences. By taking advantage of comments, shares, reviews, and survey features, you allow your audience to fully engage in your story and to feel that much closer to your brand. Here’s how this might look:

A fitness wear company posts a story about a running shoe that’s intended to alleviate joint pain; at the end of the post, they invite current wearers to comment with their own fitness barrier stories and how the product helped them overcome it. Many viewers might learn, from relatable stories in the comments, that the company’s product could solve their fitness problem too and will seek out the fitness company’s products. 

Leveraging shared experience by encouraging user conversation can be incredibly effective—especially when your business continues to engage in the conversation. Reply to their comments: thank them for their responses and share helpful feedback. 

3. Don’t limit yourself to one kind of caption material.

Your content doesn’t always have to speak explicitly about your offerings. There’s so much more to your story as a business, and users want to hear it. Don’t be afraid to share your goals as a business owner, the things that bring you and your team joy in and around work, or commentary on current events that are relevant to your business’s values.  

Business is a part of the human experience, and now, more than ever, consumers are open and seeking ways to engage with the humans behind the business. With that in mind, seek to create engaging captions that are authentic to who you are as a business and as people. 

Email Campaigns

Email campaigns involve a unique kind of storytelling, in that they speak to the audience directly. Because emails are intended to be direct messages, the stories in this space should cultivate a more personal connection, making recipients feel that they’ve received a message written specifically for them. Firstly, be sure to keep your mailing list up to date to avoid bombarding uninterested readers. 

Once you know you’re addressing readers who want to hear from you, try these tactics:

1. Focus on stories with real people making real choices.

An email is a personal medium, so you want to tell personal stories. Generalizations like “we’ve had a lot of sales!” or “we’ve helped thousands of people!” are vague and don’t elicit emotion. But the story about how your coaching business helped your client Jessie finally find the confidence and strength to run a marathon? That’s an inspiring story.

Not every email can or should include a tear-jerker, but it should reference specific offerings and instances that help readers understand what your values are and how you can help them.

2. Create opportunities for the reader to contribute to your story.

Your brand’s story isn’t finished yet, and your clients are a part of that story. When you announce new projects, offerings, or events, you invite your readers to come with you on the next step of your journey.

Think about the phrase call to action. While this is a common marketing term, it is also the first step in any Hero’s Journey narrative. This isn’t a coincidence—we want to position the customer as the hero.

When you send an email asking readers to fill out a survey, leave a review, or visit you at a convention, think about how you are inviting them into a journey with you. What incentives are you providing?

Instead of simply saying, “Hi there, we see you bought something, want to leave a review?” say “Our business values quality in everything we do. We’re happy to have improved our store interface and our products with feedback from customers like you. Please leave us a review so that we can continue to improve!” Suddenly, the email isn’t just a generic request; it’s an invitation for the reader to step into their role and be a part of something.

3. Describe how audience action makes a difference.

If readers are opting into your journey, they deserve to know the effects of their contribution. Though especially important for nonprofits managing donations, this is also pertinent for-profit businesses appreciating the support of their customers.

In addition to promoting new projects and encouraging readers to take action, you should keep your contacts informed of what you’re able to accomplish with their support. 

Announce how the profits from that huge summer sale allowed you to update your website, or talk about the improvements you’ve made to your payment system with client feedback. When you let your audience know that they’ve made a difference, you give them another reason to stick around.

Following these guidelines, you’ll be able to coordinate your website, social media, and email campaign content to tell a cohesive and powerful brand story that will both attract new clients and expand your relationship with existing ones.