Headline - the secret ingredients of a hot brand story

Why you need a brand story

We all know that that people love to hear stories, watch stories, read stories, tell stories and, write stories. That’s how we are programmed and that’s part of how we socialise.

You even pay for stories when you go to the cinema, buy a book or listen to an audio. At parties, people gather around the best story tellers (and you always know who’s telling a great story at the pub). You probably watch TED talks (some kind of Olympic Games for storytellers) and you enjoy corporate presentations that tell a story an awful lot more.

And then there are websites.

The good ones tell a story and those without a story are pretty dull.

Here are a couple of good ones:



Did you get past the homepage? Great! Here’s how you can do that too:

Everything – the image, tagline, and the corporate philosophy support the brand story

Know your WHY, HOW and WHAT

Yes, that again. I seem to mention that a lot and here’s a link to my last blog where I mentioned it:


The WHY infects your audience with passion.

The HOW tells your audience what you do better and different to the rest of the bunch.

The WHAT clarifies your offer and goes on about all the detail and features.

And the WHY is the most important one. That’s the part where you come alive and tell a fascinating story about your business, what inspires you, why it exists, and why it’s great to use your services.

Your passion is contagious! So sort out your WHY first.

With your HOW you pick up on your USP and you differentiate your business. What is it that you do better? What is it that makes you stand out?

And don’t use commonplaces like:

  • We are fast
  • We listen
  • We are cheaper

So are most people! That’s what everyone can do with no extra skills. Your HOW should be about something you can do better than others, something that creates a “barrier to entry” to your competitors.

It can be a skill that is hard to acquire or a unique way of doing something. So think about what’s special to your business.

Lastly, we come to the WHAT. Here’s where you can go into the detail and the features of your product or service.

But hang on – it’s not as simple as this. Listing a bunch of features is pretty boring and your features might not even be what your clients are looking for. Which takes us to benefits:

Your audience wants to know the benefits

I won’t say forget about the features, but I’d stress that benefits are much more important to your audience. Features are important only once you’ve convinced your audience of the benefits of your product.

To find your benefits – start with the features like this:

“My gadget has XXX, so that you can YYY!

That’s your benefit and you need to find those that really matter to your audience, those that satisfy the needs that you’ve already specified earlier.

So, go ahead and list at least 5 benefits and make it good ones! And figure out what is your ultimate and most important benefit, the one that gets you the deal, the one that makes you stand out, the one that sums up all the other benefits.

That’s the benefit that you will use for your headline.

I want that stuff!

That’s exactly what you want your audience to think once they have read your headline. That’s why you plaster it all over your homepage banner. Once you’ve come up with a concept – your brand story – play around with different headlines and write down 20 different headlines.

Ask your friends and family which ones they prefer and ask them to be honest with you. Ask them what they feel when they read your headline.

Even if you are not very much into that touchy-feely stuff – it’s really important to understand how your headline resonates emotionally. Because:

Buying decisions are made by our emotions. Even if you consciously try to engage your rational side of the brain.

Why do you think marketers are successful with offers like this:

  • Limited offer only!
  • Offer expires within 24 hours!
  • We allow only 5 new members a month! Or even:
  • Buy XYZ or doom and gloom will happen! (Does that sound familiar to insurance brokers?)

Because they evoke desire through scarcity, time pressure and even through fear.

A tagline makes your offer stronger

Now, you’ve got this great banner image (no stock photo, mind you…) with the headline, you push a bit further with your tagline. Your tagline gets a bit more specific and sums up what the offer means for your audience.

And if you have rotating banner images, you can use your headline and a different tagline with every new banner image! Like that you can appeal individually to each of your customer personas. Because each persona wants something slightly different.

But what about my story?

Yes, right! That’s stuff for another blog. But for now, I just point you in the direction of the Content Marketing Institute. There, you’ll find some very interesting reads about the “Hero’s Journey” and why it works in advertising.



And if you are up to read an entire book – then I can very strongly recommend Donald Miller’s book: “Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Message so Customers Will Listen”.

This book explains the the theory of storytelling, why it works and how you can write your own brand story step-by-step.

How will I tell my brand story?

Well, you will tell your brand story on every page of your website:

  • Through your brand colours
  • Your Logo
  • Your images
  • Your headline
  • Your taglines
  • Your mission, vision & values, and
  • Definitely your “About” page

Every page of your website must be part of your brand story!

Does that sound like an awful lot of work? Hell, yes! But it’s worth it – and just drop me a line if you want help with yours.

Man carrying story book

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2018 The Word Distiller - Copywriting