10 Amazing Brand Story Examples

Great brand sto­ries all share sev­en com­mon traits, as evi­denced by the­se top brands.

Lisa Lacy By Lisa Lacy. Join the discussion » 3 comments

The ques­tion, “Who are you?” can be either sim­ple or com­plex, depend­ing how philo­soph­i­cal you want to get. Many peo­ple live their lives with­out real­ly con­tem­plat­ing the lat­ter. Brands don’t have that lux­u­ry. In fact, fig­ur­ing out the answer should arguably be their first order of busi­ness – before any prod­ucts stock shelves or press releas­es hit newswires.


A brand sto­ry isn’t just a valu­able mar­ket­ing asset, it’s also a brand’s guid­ing prin­ci­ples and impacts every facet of the orga­ni­za­tion. In oth­er words, it’s not just a mar­ket­ing mes­sage, it’s also a sales pitch and a roadmap for the C-suite.

Momen­tol­ogy sur­veyed the prover­bial land­scape and iden­ti­fied 10 brands that tru­ly know them­selves and their sto­ries – and have had major mar­ket­place impact as a result.

In tak­ing a closer look at the­se brands, we dis­cov­ered sev­en com­mon traits. Brands that have nailed their brand sto­ries:

1. Start With Prob­lems

From the begin­ning, many of the­se brands have iden­ti­fied mar­ket needs and/or injus­tices and, sim­ply, have solved them. The result is a com­pelling brand sto­ry.

It’s impor­tant to have a sto­ry that peo­ple can under­stand and con­nect with,” said Jen­nifer Eggers, group direc­tor of brand com­mu­ni­ca­tion at brand­ing firm Siegel+Gale. “Espe­cial­ly with new­er brands, peo­ple care and expect that the brand is com­ing into exis­tence for a good rea­son – to solve a prob­lem, to change how we do things, to meet a speci­fic need – and the sto­ry is cen­tral to com­mu­ni­cat­ing the brand’s pur­pose.”

2. Embrace The Under­dog Sta­tus

Many of the­se brands were/are under­dogs who were unde­terred when it came to tack­ling titans of indus­try. They’re the so-called dis­rup­tors. And they have good sto­ries to tell as a result.

3. Rede­fine An Expe­ri­ence

A good brand sto­ry is good in part because it has some­thing to say – and, many times, that’s because the brand itself has tak­en an expe­ri­ence or an indus­try and turned it on its head.

4. Fos­ter Com­mu­ni­ties Of Rabid Fans

Brands that have a clear iden­ti­ty and pur­pose are able to form more mean­ing­ful con­nec­tions that result in tru­ly devot­ed fans. It’s not just a brand or a pro­duct, but rather a means to an end per­son­i­fied by said brand. In oth­er words, the brand is inte­gral to a cov­et­ed lifestyle. At the same time, this can also result in detrac­tors, but, brand­ing experts say, that’s just fine.

5. Have Vis­i­ble Founders

There’s pas­sion in the­se brands. Their biggest fans, often, are Employ­ee #1. In the­se cas­es, the founder does not sim­ply hand the reins over and watch checks roll in after cer­tain objec­tives have been real­ized, but rather retains an active role in the com­pa­ny he or she start­ed and holds the title of Chief Evan­ge­list.

6. Know Who They Are And What They Stand For

While many web­sites have more elab­o­rate ver­sions, each of the­se sto­ries can be dis­tilled into a sound byte that rep­re­sents all the com­pa­ny exem­pli­fies.

7. Do Good

Many of the­se brands incor­po­rate an ele­ment of social good into their sto­ries – whether that’s giv­ing back to com­mu­ni­ties or fos­ter­ing sus­tain­abil­i­ty or help­ing con­sumers find their best selves. And, again, the­se lofty goals make for good sto­ries.

So which brands have an excep­tion­al brand sto­ry? Here are 10 exam­ples.


Toms Shoes

Toms shoes

Brand Sto­ry: Accord­ing to the web­site, which includes The Toms Sto­ry, founder Blake Mycoskie “wit­nessed the hard­ships faced by chil­dren grow­ing up with­out shoes” while trav­el­ing in Argenti­na in 2006. “Want­i­ng to help, he cre­at­ed Toms Shoes, a com­pa­ny that would match every pair of shoes pur­chased with a new pair of shoes for a child in need,” the site says.

In a Nut­shell: One for One.

Mea­sure of Suc­cess: To date, Toms says it has given more than 50 mil­lion pairs of shoes to chil­dren in need, has helped restore sight to over 360,000 peo­ple, and has helped provide over 250,000 weeks of safe water in six coun­tries. In addi­tion, Toms launched its Bag Col­lec­tion in 2015. With each bag pur­chased, the brand says it will help provide a safe birth for a moth­er and baby in need.

Why it Works: In an era of unprece­dent­ed com­pe­ti­tion and an abun­dance of com­par­ison data, Stephen Gol­ub, vice pres­i­dent of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing agen­cy DXa­gen­cy, notes a new con­sid­er­a­tion point has become increas­ing­ly impor­tant: Do peo­ple like you?

With social media, brands are now more than their price points, they are liv­ing, breath­ing enti­ties with per­son­al­i­ties, goals and val­ues,” Gol­ub said. “Con­sumers want to feel not only like they are get­ting a good pro­duct, but that they are get­ting it from a good brand. For exam­ple, Toms was able to enter an extreme­ly com­pet­i­tive indus­try with prod­ucts very sim­i­lar in price, qual­i­ty and style to that of its estab­lished com­peti­tors. They were able to do so by com­bin­ing their pro­duct offer­ing with a robust brand sto­ry that con­sumers could get behind and feel good about being a part of.”

Also: It solves a prob­lem, has a vis­i­ble founder and does good.


Warby Parker

Warby Parker

Brand Sto­ry: In its Sto­ry, eye­wear retail­er War­by Park­er says it was found­ed as a rebel­lious upstart to tack­le the prob­lem of expen­sive eye­wear after one of its founders lost his glass­es on a back­pack­ing trip and couldn’t afford to replace them as a grad stu­dent. What’s more, like Toms, War­by Park­er part­ners with non­prof­its such as Vision­Spring to dis­trib­ute a pair of glass­es to some­one in need for each pair sold.

In a Nut­shell: Good eye­wear, good out­come.

Mea­sure of Suc­cess: War­by Park­er says it has dis­trib­ut­ed over one mil­lion pairs of glass­es and has trained over 18,000 men and wom­en to give basic eye exams and bring glass­es to their com­mu­ni­ties with Vision­Spring.

Why it Works: War­by Park­er solves a prob­lem, has a rebel­lious spir­it and does good.

Also: See Toms.


GoPro

GoPro

Brand Sto­ry: In a let­ter from founder and CEO Nicholas Wood­man on the GoPro site, he writes, “GoPro helps peo­ple cap­ture and share their lives’ most mean­ing­ful expe­ri­ences with oth­ers – to cel­e­brate them togeth­er. Like how a day on the moun­tain with friends is more mean­ing­ful than one spent alone, the shar­ing of our col­lec­tive expe­ri­ences makes our lives more fun. The world’s most ver­sa­tile cam­eras are what we make. Enabling you to share your life through incred­i­ble pho­tos and videos is what we do.”

Befit­ting­ly, the brand also has a video sto­ry:

In a Nut­shell: Think it. See it. Do it.

Mea­sure of Suc­cess: The brand recent­ly added a Periscope inte­gra­tion, allow­ing users to broad­cast live from their HERO4 Black or Sil­ver cam­eras, among count­less oth­er part­ner­ships, includ­ing one with the NHL. It also recent­ly announced it expect­ed 2015 rev­enue to be $1.6 bil­lion.

Why it Works: It’s all about com­mu­ni­ty and shar­ing. Accord­ing to boil­er­plate, what began as an idea to help ath­letes doc­u­ment them­selves, GoPro has “become a stan­dard for how peo­ple cap­ture them­selves engaged in their inter­ests, what­ev­er they may be.”


SoulCycle

Soulcycle

Brand Sto­ry: The fit­ness brand says its vision was “to cre­ate an alter­na­tive to the fit­ness rou­ti­nes that felt like work.”

Now the brand says it pro­vides “an inspi­ra­tional, med­i­ta­tive fit­ness expe­ri­ence” called a “car­dio par­ty” that is “the best part of our rid­ers’ day, every day and that has trans­formed their rela­tion­ship to exer­cise.”

In a Nut­shell: Find your Soul.

Mea­sure of Suc­cess: The com­pa­ny announced its intent to go pub­lic in July 2015. It report­ed­ly plans to raise up to $100 mil­lion. And, as of Sep­tem­ber 30, the self-pro­claimed lifestyle brand says it has over 383,000 rid­ers in 48 U.S. stu­dios.

Why it Works: Soul­Cy­cle has rede­fined the exer­cise expe­ri­ence and whole­heart­ed­ly embraced its com­mu­ni­ty of super­fans.

It’s expen­sive, it’s cult-like and if you’ve ever been, you know it’s absolute­ly unques­tion­ably over the top. And it’s unapolo­get­ic in its extrem­i­ty,” said 180LA Exec­u­tive Strat­e­gy Direc­tor Kasi Bruno. “Instruc­tors swear, sweat and whip their hair back and forth…and they charge you a for­tune to live that with them. But for every Soul­Cy­cle zealot there are dozens more who count them­selves out.”

And, accord­ing to Bruno, that’s okay.

The best brand sto­ries repel more peo­ple than they attract. Simul­ta­ne­ous­ly mag­net­ic and uncom­fort­able, strong brand nar­ra­tives act as a ral­ly­ing cry for some, but as a snub for most,” she said. “And it works like a charm. Brands that tell a good sto­ry do three things real­ly well: they’re unapolo­get­ic about their point of view, they craft sto­ries that are strong enough to repel peo­ple, and they immerse believ­ers in the nar­ra­tive.”

 



Chipotle

Chipotle

Brand Sto­ry: Chipotle says it is in the busi­ness of good food. It seeks to use high-qual­i­ty raw ingre­di­ents, clas­sic cook­ing tech­niques and dis­tinc­tive inte­ri­or design to bring ele­ments of fine din­ing to quick-ser­vice restau­rants. At the same time, Chipotle also says it seeks to cul­ti­vate a bet­ter world with respect for ani­mals, farm­ers and the envi­ron­ment.

In a Nut­shell: Food with Integri­ty.

Mea­sure of Suc­cess: It’s TBD in this par­tic­u­lar case. After head­li­nes about E. coli, the brand, which oper­ates more than 1900 restau­rants, is host­ing a nation­al employ­ee meet­ing on Feb­ru­ary 8 – and will close its loca­tions for four hours that day. In a state­ment, founder Steve Ells said the brand’s new enhanced food safe­ty plan “will estab­lish Chipotle as an indus­try lead­er in food safe­ty.”

Why it Works: Chipotle trans­formed the idea of what was pos­si­ble with fast food, doing good for both con­sumers and farm­ers, total­ly redefin­ing the expe­ri­ence in the process. The result has been an enthu­si­as­tic fan base. And the founder is a vis­i­ble pres­ence in the brand’s cur­rent cri­sis.


Uber

Uber

Brand Sto­ry: Uber says it is evolv­ing the way the world moves.

By seam­less­ly con­nect­ing rid­ers to dri­vers through our apps, we make cities more acces­si­ble, open­ing up more pos­si­bil­i­ties for rid­ers and more busi­ness for dri­vers,” the brand adds.

In a Nut­shell: Your Ride, On Demand.

Mea­sure of Suc­cess: The brand recent­ly cel­e­brat­ed its bil­lion­th Uber trip and, accord­ing to Busi­ness Insid­er, it is worth more than $62.5 bil­lion and is rais­ing $2 bil­lion in fund­ing.

Why it Works: Uber is the rebel­lious taxi alter­na­tive that has rede­fined trans­porta­tion.


Airbnb

Airbnb

Brand Sto­ry: Airbnb says it is a trust­ed com­mu­ni­ty mar­ket­place for con­sumers to list, dis­cov­er, and book unique accom­mo­da­tions for unique trav­el expe­ri­ences.

In a Nut­shell: Wel­come home.

Mea­sure of Suc­cess: The brand pro­ject­ed more than one mil­lion peo­ple would stay in an Airbnb on New Year’s Eve 2015. It offers accom­mo­da­tions in more than 34,000 cities and 190 coun­tries.

Why it Works: Again, Airbnb has chal­lenged the hotel indus­try and total­ly rede­fined an expe­ri­ence. As a result, as not­ed in its brand sto­ry, it boasts a com­mu­ni­ty of loy­al users.


Under Armour

Under Armour

Brand Sto­ry: Under Armour calls itself the orig­i­na­tor of per­for­mance appar­el, or ath­let­ic gear designed to keep ath­letes “cool, dry and light through­out the course of a game, prac­tice or work­out.”

Fur­ther, the brand notes its mis­sion orig­i­nat­ed in the pur­suit of a t-shirt that pro­vid­ed com­pres­sion and wicked per­spi­ra­tion off skin, reg­u­lat­ing tem­per­a­ture and enhanc­ing per­for­mance. Under Armour now says it seeks to make all ath­letes bet­ter through pas­sion, design and the relent­less pur­suit of inno­va­tion.

In a Nut­shell: Pro­tect This House. Mea­sure of Suc­cess: The brand most recent­ly part­nered with actor/wrestler Dwayne John­son and, at CES, debut­ed what it calls a con­nect­ed fit­ness pro­duct port­fo­lio includ­ing fit­ness sys­tem UA Health­Box, a smart shoe and two mod­els of wire­less head­phones, all of which are pow­ered by health and fit­ness plat­form UA Record. In Octo­ber, the com­pa­ny announced third quar­ter rev­enue of $1.2 bil­lion.

Why it Works: The U in UA might as well stand for “Under­dog.” But the Lit­tle Per­for­mance Appar­el Com­pa­ny That Could solved a unique prob­lem. Under Armour has also real­ly per­fect­ed its voice and how to com­mu­ni­cate with its legion of devo­tees.

 



Beats

Beats

Brand Sto­ry: Beats says it brings the ener­gy, emo­tion and excite­ment of play­back in the record­ing stu­dio back to the lis­ten­ing expe­ri­ence and it has intro­duced a new gen­er­a­tion to the pos­si­bil­i­ties of pre­mi­um sound enter­tain­ment.

In a Nut­shell: Beats By Dre

Mea­sure of Suc­cess: Apple acquired Beats in 2014 for $3 bil­lion.

Why it Works: The vis­i­ble founder, Dr. Dre him­self, tack­led the prob­lem of sub­par head­phones and, as a result, rede­fined the way con­sumers lis­ten to music and found an incred­i­ble mar­ket, includ­ing no short­age of celebri­ty clien­tele.


Virgin America

Virgin America

Brand Sto­ry: Vir­gin Amer­i­ca says its mis­sion is to make fly­ing good again, with new planes, attrac­tive fares, top-notch ser­vice and a host of ameni­ties that rein­vent domes­tic air trav­el.

The Vir­gin Amer­i­ca expe­ri­ence is unlike any oth­er in the skies, fea­tur­ing mood-lit cab­ins with WiFi, cus­tom-designed leather seats, pow­er out­lets and a video touch-screen at every seat­back offer­ing guests on-demand menus and count­less enter­tain­ment options,” the brand adds.

In a Nut­shell: Make fly­ing good again.

Mea­sure of Suc­cess: In 2015, the brand launched an inte­gra­tion with Google Street View that allows con­sumers to tour plane cab­ins, as well as a part­ner­ship with Net­flix, which enables pas­sen­gers to stream con­tent in flight. It also announced net income of $73 mil­lion for the third quar­ter of 2015.

Why it Works: Vir­gin Amer­i­ca has tack­led the prob­lem of domes­tic air trav­el and refined the typ­i­cal­ly dull and some­times painful expe­ri­ence in the process, includ­ing every­thing from its catchy in-flight safe­ty video, which as more than 11 mil­lion views to date, to its near­ly six-hour video repli­cat­ing the expe­ri­ence of fly­ing on oth­er air­li­nes. It not only knows its voice and clear­ly com­mu­ni­cates its mes­sage through­out, it prac­tices what it preach­es.


What’s your favorite brand sto­ry? Why?

Lisa Lacy

Written by Lisa Lacy

Lisa is a senior features writer for Inked. She also previously covered digital marketing for Incisive Media. Her background includes editorial positions at Dow Jones, the Financial Times, the Huffington Post, AOL, Amazon, Hearst, Martha Stewart Living and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

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3 Comments on "10 Amazing Brand Story Examples"

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Nisha
Member
Nisha
1 year 3 months ago

What a great read! I appre­ci­ate you col­lat­ing the­se brand sto­ries, with a clear mes­sage and pur­pose. It real­ly shows the impor­tance of a sto­ry and how pow­er­ful it can make a brand. The emo­tion­al con­nec­tion it builds with a con­sumer is phe­nom­e­nal. Thanks!

Arden Miller
Member
Arden Miller
1 year 1 month ago

Thank you for shar­ing such a won­der­ful arti­cle!
Brand­ing is such an impor­tant part in busi­ness. I real­ly liked the sto­ry of Beats on how they brand their prod­ucts, by mak­ing most celebri­ties wear them. Some­times it seems as if Beats head­phones have more on-screen time than those celebri­ties. Also, the sto­ry of GoPro cams on how they tar­get­ed adren­a­line junkies and com­ing out with evwn bet­ter prod­ucts each time.
Came across anoth­er fas­ci­nat­ing arti­cle which shares some good brand­ing sto­ries. I’m shar­ing the link with you below.
https://www.logodesignteam.com/blog/7-case-studies-importance-branding-business/.
Do have a read. I’m sure you’ll be amazed!

Characters
Member
1 year 6 days ago

Very inter­est­ing arti­cle. Good job!!!!

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