Good Branding is Good Storytelling

A successful branding system functions much in the same way a good story works: There is a narrative arc to the experience of interacting with the brand that tells the story of the entity it represents. Branding should make an argument for the organization and set the tone for all other content and interactions consumers will encounter along the way.

A Logo is the Book Cover of Your Brand

Consider the last book you read that promised one thing on the cover and then delivered another inside. Maybe you even tossed the book aside in frustration. Now every time you see its cover, you scoff.

Similarly, once you've interacted with a logo in the brand's context, it works as shorthand for all the emotions you will experience with that company. Say you ordered a gift from an online store and they botched your order. Customer service refused to refund you, and you were not able to resolve your dispute. The next time you encounter this company's logo -- whether it's online or on the street -- you're going to have a visceral reaction associated with that previous interaction. On the flip side, a positive interaction would have given you a pleasant feeling each time you ran into that brand.

a website should tell the origin story of your brand

Customers like to know about the people behind the brands they love. A successful website tells the story of an organization's team, depicts the culture of the brand, and delivers necessary information in an intuitive and easy-to-navigate way. I'm not just referring to "About Us" or "Staff" pages -- the entire website should communicate the story of a brand's evolution.

user experience is the plot twist they'll remember

In many ways, the moment that can change everything for a brand happens near the end -- whether it's in a checkout aisle (or checkout page of an online store), a customer service chat, or when a customer tears into the packaging of their newly-purchased item. At any of these points is an opportunity for resolution or chaos: Checkout can be a smooth and friendly process, or a confusing, anxiety-inducing mess. A customer service interaction can go quickly, or take forever and end with dissatisfying results. Packaging can be eye-catching and easy-to-open... or it can overuse wasteful materials and require a YouTube tutorial in order to access the product inside.

All of these experiences build into a narrative that customers will tell themselves, and other people, about your brand. While it's vital to tell the story of your brand on your website and through your logo, the story other people tell about your brand will carry more weight with the public. Taking care to ensure that at each stage of the process your brand is communicating positive values will result in a happier ending for everyone.