What’s Your Brand’s Backstory?

What’s Your Brand’s Backstory?

Backstory telling is a new lens on storytelling according to Rohit Bhargava’s new book Non-Obvious Trends for 2018.  When you go back to a brand’s origin story, you can reconnect the brand to its roots and brew interest.

Marketing today is different from the past. With so much content and messages searching for viewers, capturing attention from your community is the lifeblood of a brand.

Customers want to understand more about who is behind a product and why they do what they do. Features and functions matter, but they don’t have to be the initial way a brand can introduce itself to prospects.


Telling your backstory means that you are establishing a solid foundation to help build a brand over time. It gives evidence of why you created that product or service in the first place. Think of comic book heroes like Superman. His backstory of his parents sending him from Krypton to Earth provides a context for you to see this superhero from a fresh perspective. In every episode of the TV show to the movies, his origin backstory creates a foundation for understanding why he exists.

Jeff, Fat Tires & Belgium Beer

Jeff Lebesch was biking around Belgium on a bicycle with fat tires to allow him to go from town to town sampling beers. He got to combine two things he loved, and his Belgium Brewing Company grew into one of America’s largest brewers. His logo still carries the image of a bicycle that speaks to his origin story.

When a new employee reaches their one-year anniversary, they get a piece of the company and a shiny bike that represents the essence of their brand. What a wonderful story to share and to share some history of how this brand came into being

Gail and the Gluten Free Caulipower

When Gail Becker’s young boys received a diagnosis of having celiac disease, she started to purchase every gluten-free product in sight. The problem she found was that they still were laced with fat, sugar and often unhealthy ingredients. She became inspired to create a different type of pizza that her boys could enjoy and would satisfy her desire to give them healthy, the gluten-free food they would love. Her experimentation led her to try using cauliflower as a pizza crust. Caulipower is now the top selling pizza on Amazon and hitting traditional grocery stores all over the U.S. (I enjoyed one this New Year’s Eve).

I have shared this backstory with friends who are sensitive to gluten and looking for alternatives. The backstory is an authentic reason to believe in this brand.

Aimee Kestenberg – Pocketbook Artist

When Aimee Kestenberg was growing up in Australia, her grandma was a seamstress, and every time she was at her house, she would teach her a trick of the trade. By eight, she could sew her garments and embroider by hand. She loves to tell the story of how at an early age she was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, watching her father, a giftware importer negotiates. While in middle school, she was called into her principal’s office because during lunch she was selling bracelets and didn’t see a problem with making a profit. Her teaches had a different view of this budding entrepreneur’s activities on the playground.

Today Kestenberg sells her artfully printed bags through numerous retailers merging a passion for artist and accessories with affordable pricing. When my wife discovered her brand, she couldn’t stop talking about the sheer artistry and elegance of Aimee’s work. Aimee combines an artist’s eye with an entrepreneur’s flair for marketing.

Questions to Ask About a Brand Backstory

  1. Why did this business start?
  2. Who was around at its inception?
  3. What were the roots deeply planted before this was even a business?
  4. What gave the owner the courage and inspiration to begin?
  5. What are the core principles that providing the foundation for their work?
  6. What were the early days like for this venture?
  7. What icons or images represent the feelings and emotion from the early days?
  8. What are some of the earliest values that this brand protected from day one?
  9. How does the brand celebrate important successes and connect back to their origin?

A brand without a backstory is just a transactional business. Today, consumers want to buy who you are as much as what you do.

Need help uncovering the authentic backstory for your brand and business? I have a shovel and am willing to dig. Call me at 919 720 0995 or email me at jeffslater@themarketingsage.com

Photo courtesy of Belgium Beer




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