So you want to know how to tell a brand story, do you? You may assume it has to be about you, because it’s your brand story. The thing is, some of the most powerful brands and stories around are those that make it about others… about those they serve… about those they help… forward-thinking brands like Warby Parker.
Having started in 2010 with a rather simple message, Warby Parker have grown into one of the world’s leading socially-conscious brands. The way they start their history page says it all, if you ask me, and paints a clear picture as to who they are and what they’re about.
Warby Parker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: to offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.
But what makes their brand story so compelling? It’s not like they’re the only socially conscious brand around, after all. They’re not the only ones to use the on-for-one model, either. In many ways there’s nothing special about Warby Parker, but at the same time something truly remarkable.
When you type into Google, how to tell a brand story, you’ll see plenty of articles and examples shining back. Indeed there are many ways to approach your brand story, too, and I’m not here to say one path is better than the next.
But there’s something to be said about how Warby Parker tell their brand story, and it’s something I believe everyone can take inspiration from – whether you’re a socially minded one-for-one type business or not.
WHO DO YOU STAND FOR?
Not what do you stand for, rather WHO?
Who do you stand for? Who do you serve? Who do you help, and how could you help them better? We’re all so quick to understand what we do and how to do this better, but we should really begin with two types of who:
who you are and who you serve.
Warby Parker stand for people who don’t have access to glasses. They want to right this wrong, help these people, and involve them in their journey – indeed, base their entire journey around them. But they want to connect you to them, too, and make you realise how important this issue is.
As such, you don’t buy a pair of Warby Parker Glasses for the glasses alone, rather the message behind what buying those glasses mean. A pair of glasses is a pair of glasses, but when you purchase from Warby Parker, this isn’t the case. They aren’t a mere item or product.
They stand for a certain type of who, and in doing so defines who they are, and who their customer is.
STAY TRUE TO YOU & THEM
Of course, it isn’t about serving a particular who and building your business around them, rather staying true to this each day no matter what it is you do.
If you read about Warby Parker’s culture, you begin to see how to tell a brand story that matters. It isn’t about saying the right things, but living and dying by them.
This valuable who they serve remains top of mind each day, and as such continues to define who they are.
When working with suppliers, it’s important these factories offer fair and worthy conditions. After all, what good would it be to serve those who need glasses, only to abuse a different community who need fair working conditions. It wouldn’t, and as such, the entire premise surrounding who Warby Parker are would fail.
They treat their customers (aka: you) the way they like to be treated themselves, which I imagine is a high standard after seeing and visiting the places they’ve been to. Such a journey humbles you, and so as they grow as people and as a business, the way they see and serve you grows.
Because you’re an import who, too.
I could talk about Warby Parker’s frames, and their videos, and how they use images and words and such. As an overall business, they offer a great example as to how to tell a brand story that matters.
But you needn’t look further than their true cause: those who they serve.
Everything else is just how they go about sharing it, which is important, don’t get me wrong, but it isn’t the reason you should follow and take inspiration from Warby Parker and co. The true lesson to take from them isn’t that they stand for something, rather how they stand for someone.
Standing for something is easy. It isn’t hard to be generous, because if you have money, you can donate it. If you have excess stock, you can give it away. You can help a lot of people and do good things, but does this mean you serve someone? Not necessarily, which is where many brands go wrong.
Warby Parker do serve someone. They have a clear goal as to who they help and serve, and they have a clear definition as to who they are, and who there customer is. It’s all about the who.
HOW TO TELL A BRAND STORY TRUE TO YOU
How to tell a brand story… a good question. Maybe the real question should be, How to tell a meaningful brand story; one that matters.
If you stand for someone, base your entire business around them, and do everything you can to serve them, it’s hard to fail. Whether this someone is your actual customer, your staff, people in a particular country, or those brought together by a specific issue (a lack of glasses, for instance) doesn’t matter per se.
What matters is that you stand for someone, rather stand for something.
Warby Parker do a fine job of standing for those in need of glasses, and by laying the foundations here, it forces them to be a better and more socially minded business everywhere else. It affects how they treat you, their customer. It affects how they treat their staff. It affects who they work with, and the conditions they must provide for their workers.
It affects how they communicate, who they communicate with, and how all this comes back to the true point… How it helps them serve those they stand for.
You can learn a lot from Warby Parker and how to tell a brand story with meaning. You take a lot of inspiration by serving someone, rather something. It isn’t easy to do, and depending who you and what you do, it may not be an overnight fix. But you can build a brand story like this so long as you focus on an all important who.
The question is, will you? I’d love to hear your answer, and if you have a question or two, be sure to ask me on FACEBOOK or TWITTER. It’s where the conversation continues, and where I show you how to tell a brand story that matters.
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