What’s Your Story? 5 Elements of a Great Brand Story by @iamronii

by Ronii Bartles | Featured Contributor

I’m always harping on my clients about being consistent with their brand. Because as savvy as consumers are, they get confused easily. They get confused if you change the symbol, the name, the colors, the font, the logo – anything.  As business owners, we are pretty reluctant to change our “look” very often but we are terrible at changing our story all the time. Probably because we get bored with it so easily and feel like everyone has heard it before. But this is the most memorable part of your brand. It’s the one thing people connect with the most because that’s how they make that emotional connection to you and persuades them to want (people buy what they want, not what they need) to buy from you.

About a month ago I hosted a speed-networking event with a group of business owners and I didn’t want it to be that traditional boring networking where you walk up to someone and say, “hey, I’m Ronii and I own a marketing and branding firm. What do you do?” I wanted it to be more fun and interactive so I put together this little exercise that taught them how to craft a concise and compelling brand story. There are 5 main elements to any good story.

  • Character(s): That’s you! Did you ever see the movie The Holiday? You know that scene where Kate Winslet says she needs to be the “heroine of her own life!” That’s you! You need to be the heroine of your own story. This is your story and you need to be the main character. There are all kinds of supporting characters to your story that move around the plot but you are the heroine.
  • Setting: Set the scene. Where are you? What is the year? What is the environment that this whole adventure got started? Mine started when the economy crashed in 2008 and I was working for a marketing research firm that needed to downsize.
  • Plot: This is the storyline. What were the events that took place to get you to this point that you started this amazing thing that you’re doing now?
  • Conflict: You know that point in the movies where the heroine gets to the turning point in her life? The conflict that changes the course of her life? That’s this point. What was your struggle? What barriers did you break down?
  • Theme: This is the central idea/belief of your story. Why does your company exist? What is it that you believe so strongly in that you made this change?

You then weave all of these elements together into a one or two minute story about how you got started. Make it exciting! I want to know what you are passionate about. Regardless of what the thing is, passion resonates with everyone. Take insurance, it’s not all that sexy. But if you have a good, personal story as to why you love selling insurance and how important it is people are going to think that’s cool and will remember you.

We all have a story and consumers want to connect with you and your story. They want to know the human behind a business because that’s how they make the emotional connection they need to make a purchase. But their attention span is short so that story has to not only be compelling but concise as well (a TV commercial tells a story in only 30 seconds, right?) So, what’s your story?

Photo Credit: ODPictures Art Studio LTD – Hungary via Compfight cc


Marketing & Branding Expert – Ronii Bartles from Bartles & Associates Charleston, SC

Ronii Bartles HeadshotRonii is Bartles & Associates’ self-proclaimed Chief Rockstar. She has a whole list of amazing (but slightly boring) credentials like a Bachelor’s Degree from Shepherd University, a MBA from The Citadel, The Lowcountry Business Network Advisory Board Member and is President of the Charleston American Marketing Association, where she was also a 2012 Marketer of the Year Finalist. She loves to go around telling people that she actually is one of the Most Influential Women in Business in Charleston and a 40 Under 40 winner because the Business Journal told her so. Professionally, Ronii grew up in the marketing research industry and has been Director of Operations at ARG and W5. She took all that experience and started Bartles & Associates and roniibartles.com where Ronii and her team work with creative entrepreneurs and small businesses on developing branding and marketing strategies around what they do best, which they lovingly call Operations Marketing. B&A helps businesses uncork their potential by uncovering their WHY and then crafting that message into concise, memorable brand stories and marketing messages. Ronii is an active volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters for over twelve years, and won Big Sister of the Year in 2008. Originally from West Virginia (you can take the girl out of WV but you can’t take the WV out of the girl), she loves beer, college football (Let’s GOOO Mountaineers!), pizza, jeans and a t-shirt, and designer high heels. You can connect with Ronii on Twitter or LinkedIn or email her.


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