How To Make Your Brand Storytelling Work.

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Brand Storytelling

Brand storytelling is a powerful, effective packaging strategy to connect with consumers and leave a lasting impression. With brand storytelling, the devil is in the details because the more personable and honest your message is, the more effective it will be. But not all brand storytelling is created equal. Here’s how to ensure yours works for your CPG packaging design while staying true to your brand, business goals, and company culture.

What is Brand Storytelling?

Brand storytelling is a means of communicating your brand’s core through all messaging and visual cues. Companies can work with a brand storyteller to flush out the stories that are true to the brand but also matter to the consumer. 

Why Brand Storytelling Matters More Than Ever

Before the social networking revolution, brands could get away with a good story that could have been communicated better by the creative director. Now, brands must have a great story and a proven way to share it with the market. A compelling story is just as much about the delivery as the content itself. 

“Everybody wants to be taken somewhere. If we don’t tell people where we’re taking them, they’ll engage another brand”

Donald Miller

Brand Storytelling Framework: What Every Story Needs

Developing a brand story is similar to creating a literary story. The fundamental elements remain the same, and using the traditional storytelling framework covers much ground, much of which brands tend to miss. Let’s look at the storytelling framework related to a brand story. 


Every brand story needs a compelling plot that engages and keeps your audience interested. The plot should convey the journey and transformation of your brand, highlighting key milestones and challenges along the way.


The setting of your brand story sets the stage and context for your narrative. It includes the time, place, and environment your brand operates. The setting makes consumers feel “invited” to the scene, engaging them in the story.


Introduce relatable and memorable characters in your brand story. These characters can be your customers, employees, key partnerships, and of course, the founders. Develop their personalities, motivations, and relationships to connect your audience emotionally.

Point of view

Choose a perspective or point of view that helps your audience connect with your brand story. It could be first-person, third-person, or even a collective voice. The point of view should align with your brand’s identity and the message you want to convey.


Every engaging story needs conflict to create tension and capture attention. Identify the challenges, obstacles, or pain points your brand faces and has faced setbacks due to this decision. Show how your brand faced adversity, eventually identifying a solution.


Craft a compelling narrative that combines all elements into a coherent and compelling story. Use a combination of emotions, language, and storytelling techniques to make your brand story captivating and memorable. Consider the tone, voice, and style that align with your brand values and personality with messaging that stimulates the emotions you want to evoke.

How To Create Your Brand Storytelling Strategy

Every brand can understand and execute the storytelling framework, but frameworks alone do not create a story with the most significant impact. Many companies use a brand storytelling agency to create the best possible strategy. Let’s look at some of the tactics we employ as a part of our brand development services to help flush out your brand story.

Identifying Your Target Market

The first step in developing a brand storytelling strategy is to ensure you create a message for the right audience. And while brands have an idea of their target audience, through research and brand testing, we often find brands need more alignment between their current customer persona and their ideal customer. 

Being crystal clear about your target audience has numerous benefits, including better virality of your brand’s mission and greater depth of brand awareness with your customers looking a like audience.

Brand Differentiation & Positioning

It’s easy to define what brand design should stand for—honest business practices, transparency, and quality customer service. It’s more challenging to take a critical look in the mirror and identify what your brand stands for from a consumer’s perspective. If what consumers think your brand represents is different than what you think your brand means, you have a brand storytelling problem.

But that’s not the end of this story. It’s even more work to speak your story distinctly. Meaning, your story will be different from the competitive set?

“Your brand story is more than what you tell people. It is what they believe about you based on all the signals your brand sends out,” says Deborah Shane for Small Business Trends

To identify your brand’s soapbox qualities (characteristics worth sharing), it’s crucial to ask tough questions and project honest answers in your storytelling. For example, when climate change is how you position your brand, through consumer testing, we ask questions such as “Choose the product you feel cares the most about the environment.”

Go beyond subjective decision-making when interpreting the values, ideologies, and culture consumers express daily and how your brand projects those qualities through branding, marketing, and retail packaging design.

Storytelling Through Brand Design

Successful brand storytelling requires more than inserting bits and pieces of your company mission statement into the marketing content. Consumers connect with unforgettable stories that sew company values into the fabric of the great design. That’s why it’s essential to approach brand storytelling like you would any dynamic product packaging campaign. 

A strategic approach means you must take advantage of different mediums and platforms, adapt design elements to reach your audience through those platforms, and ensure your message is consistent across the spectrum.

Repurposing strong content that tells your story well, with honest emotional resonance, is a great way to move brand storytelling between mediums. Try using intriguing elements from your company’s history in your packaging design or crafting design elements around inspiring talking points from internal and external interviews.

Visual storytelling: A story is told by what meets the eye, which includes imagery, colors, typography, and visual metaphors; it all matters. These visuals evoke emotions and convey your brand’s personality to the target audience, complimenting your audio and text-based brand experience.

Consistent Brand Messaging

The storytelling element of an effective brand messaging design concept or content snippet should never be an afterthought tacked onto the end of an already-formed packaging message. Similarly, a design element, direction, or concept isn’t as strong or impactful without that authentic consistency built into the backbone of your packaging storytelling. Today’s consumer audience is marketing message savvy and quick to pick up on tactics meant to deceive or trick them into acting a certain way. They know when branding, marketing, and product packaging puts on a show, which is why authentic, consistent brand storytelling is compelling.

An exceptional copywriter can create storytelling consistency across all of your company’s packaging designs by:

  • Telling relatable, true stories
  • Being specific about company values
  • Keeping brand messaging simple
  • Appealing to emotion
  • Sharing success and failures

Authenticity is an essential puzzle piece, regardless of the medium or message. Let consumers know you’re not hiding anything, and they’ll appreciate the honesty and want to connect with your story.

Brand Trust

Your compelling brand story only matters if the consumer can trust what the brand is saying. While part of trust building occurs through a systematic process where you are careful not to go outside of a consumer’s natural ability to trust a statement, the other part is to engage customers in your brand storytelling through an interactive packaging experience. In a packaging design, it may be as simple as shifting to a smart packaging design using a QR code that leads people to a digital storytelling experience. Alternatively, you can use social media to showcase your story by bringing consumers into the story.

Authentic brand storytelling demands transparency. Any brand that cannot display its true story is unlikely to earn the consumer’s trust. For this reason, if the goal is genuine brand loyalty, you must share your brand values and mission as more than a statement; From the first scene to the present day, put it out there for the world to see. 

When Your Story Must Change

Plenty of valid reasons exist for a brand going through a story change. Sometimes it is for positive evolving purposes, whereas other times, it’s to get your brand out of a sticky situation requiring a pivot strategy

Channel Specific Storytelling

In the case of multiple or omnichannel sales and marketing channels, your storytelling will need to adapt to the specific audience within these mediums. Marketers of a pet food brand may need to tell its story differently on Amazon than they do with a display that sits within a pet specialty store. Regarding a CPG marketing strategy, the demographic and ad consumption differs on Instagram from TikTok. When storytelling is involved, content creation requires modifying your storytelling for these platforms. 

Creative directors should ask themselves, “Can I modify this story for this channel?” Hopefully, the answer is yes, bringing up the next question, “How can I best tell this story within this channel?” And the final question….” Considering the various marketing messages, how can I maintain a consistent narrative for brand consistency?” 

It’s a tough job, but we can accomplish it through a strategic process. 

Global Brand Storytelling

While every organization aspires to be a global brand, companies rarely approach the international market with a comprehensive branding strategy that includes storytelling. It’s not only a language change that signals a storytelling revision, but the cultural nuances and regional preferences impact how effective your storytelling strategy will be. 

The best way to adapt your story to an international audience is to engage in testing before you enter the market. 

How To Measure The Impact of Your Storytelling

Measuring the impact of your storytelling efforts is crucial to understanding the effectiveness of your brand narrative. Here are some key performance indicators (KPIs) to consider when evaluating your brand storytelling:

  1. Brand Awareness: Measure the increase in brand awareness through metrics such as website traffic, social media engagement, and mentions in the media.
  2. Customer Engagement: Track the level of engagement with your brand story, including metrics like social media likes, comments, shares, and customer reviews.
  3. Audience Reach: Monitor the size and growth of your audience, both online and offline, to assess the reach of your brand story.
  4. Conversion Rate: Evaluate the conversion rate of customers influenced by your brand story to purchase or take a desired action.
  5. Brand Loyalty: Assess customer retention rates and repeat purchases to gauge the impact of your brand story on fostering brand loyalty.
  6. Customer Sentiment: Analyze customer sentiment through surveys, reviews, and social media sentiment analysis tools to understand how your brand story is perceived.
  7. Story Engagement Metrics: Measure the consumption of your brand story content, such as time spent on web pages, video views, and click-through rates.
  8. Share of Voice: Compare the volume and visibility of your brand story with competitors to determine your brand’s share of voice in the market.

By monitoring key metrics related to brand awareness, customer engagement, reach, conversion, loyalty, sentiment, story engagement, the share of voice, and ROI, you can gain valuable insights and make data-driven decisions to optimize your storytelling efforts.

Brand Storytelling Examples

Like a bookstore, the CPG industry is full of storytellers. But only a small percentage of those stories are worth hearing. Here’s a look at three brand storytelling examples.

RXBAR gained popularity by focusing on simplicity and transparency in its brand storytelling. Their packaging prominently displays the ingredients in their protein bars, highlighting their commitment to clean and wholesome ingredients. The brand’s straightforward messaging resonated with health-conscious consumers seeking nutritious and convenient snacks.

Chobani disrupted the yogurt industry by introducing Greek yogurt as a healthier and more indulgent option. Their brand storytelling revolves around making better food accessible to all. They highlight their use of natural ingredients, sustainable practices, and community initiatives through their “Love This Life” campaign.

Pipcorn is a small-batch, heirloom popcorn brand prides itself on quality and flavor. Their brand storytelling highlights their commitment to using non-GMO, whole-grain ingredients and their dedication to sustainable sourcing. They convey a sense of craftsmanship and authenticity in their brand messaging.

What’s common about these effective brand stories is the timing. These success stories entered the market with unique messaging when shoppers were ready to hear something new. We understand the impact of being “too late” to the party, but unless you are willing to plant a seed where germination takes a long time, something must be said about being too early with a brand story.

Data-Driven Brand Development

SmashBrand is a branding agency for FMCG and CPG companies. From brand strategy to packaging design testing, our Path To Performance™ process guarantees a retail performance lift. Book a time to discuss your project with our team.

The Only Agency To Guarantee A Retail Performance Lift.

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