Self-starters are rarely void of passion and drive, and the origin story of any brand will always resonate most deeply with those who built it. However, a brand’s story can go from inspirational to off-putting if it’s not told with intention. Starting a business is a triumph to be proud of, but sharing that story is a delicate balance of ensuring you’re reaching the right audience, conveying the intended message and asserting your authority as a brand. The good news: It’s not as daunting as it might seem.
Keep it simple
How can you cram the inevitable nuances that come with starting a business — the countless hours, pitfalls and triumphs, test runs and wins, to finally launching — into a few paragraphs? Well, you don’t have to. It’s always better to keep it simple and go straight to the most important details. Although it can be tempting to include every twist and turn of your origin story, what matters the most is at the very beginning: Why you got started in the first place.
One way to concisely convey your origin story is by describing a problem, then explaining the solution your company offers. Take Warby Parker — the innovative retailer was started by students who continually found that getting new eyeglasses broke the bank and knew it shouldn’t have to. The company’s site reads, “Every idea starts with a problem. Ours was simple: Glasses are too expensive.” That’s it. After you name the problem and your solution, you can then decide which details to include (and which to omit). But it all comes down to remembering why you started the brand, and how it can help or serve others.
Any business owner knows the path to success is rarely linear, and triumphs come intermittently before really landing on your feet — even then, there are likely to be occasional setbacks. When sharing your brand’s origin story, it’s crucial to maintain honesty and authenticity regarding the peaks and valleys as well as your company’s intentions for the future. When hardship has passed, it can be tempting to rejoice in hard work and avoid reliving some of the most difficult times in building the brand. However, it’s often those pitfalls that resonate the most with other entrepreneurs and consumers alike. Include the pivots or reroutes that were integral to the journey; they play a larger part in present and future success than you may think.
Sometimes the biggest difference between a brand story and an inspirational brand story is in the “why.” The steps to how the brand got started are, of course, essential — but it’s why it got started that often sparks inspiration and intrigue from customers. The why is usually at the heart of a brand’s overall purpose and mission.
Whitney Wolfe Herd, founder and CEO of Bumble, has shared that her experience working at Tinder is what drove her to create the women-forward dating app in the first place. “For all the advances women had been making in workplaces and corridors of power, the gender dynamics of dating and romance still seemed so outdated,” Herd writes on the company site. “I thought, what if I could flip that on its head? What if women made the first move, and sent the first message?”
By sharing the why of her mission, and how it’s important to her, the values of the brand are effortlessly communicated with care and intention.
Assert your authority
Most importantly, this is your story, and you are the one positioned to tell it. Sharing the details of one’s journey can be a vulnerable task, but it must be told with confidence and assertion of authority. Be specific and honest, put forth the image of the brand you want to be shown, and don’t leave room for people to speculate. With any good narrative comes authority, and at the end of the day, you know your brand best — so share those intentions with confidence and clarity.