A Information to Model Storytelling [Free Worksheet] (2022)



Take into consideration a narrative you’re keen on—a documentary, a podcast episode, a novel. What about that story makes it stick with you? Likelihood is it moved you to really feel one thing.

A model story accommodates most of the similar components that draw you into your favourite ebook or movie. And it’s a narrative that serves an identical goal. It has characters (you, your clients), a battle (private or buyer ache level), rising motion (your journey to unravel that downside), and a climax (the launch!). Most significantly, it leaves the reader or viewer with a sense. 

In the event you consider model storytelling when it comes to simply storytelling, you free your self from the constraints of what you assume a model story ought to be and permit your self to put in writing the story you need. There aren’t any guidelines right here—however there are many pointers that skilled storytellers use to catch and preserve consideration. Be a part of us in coloring exterior the traces, gained’t you?

Meet the storytellers

A model’s story is commonly carefully tied to a founder’s authentic imaginative and prescient for his or her enterprise or one they uncover alongside the way in which. In consequence, they’re usually the one folks able to sharing their model’s origin. So, I spoke with the practitioners—founders who’ve efficiently used storytelling to have interaction and construct audiences and develop their companies. Right here they share their private journeys and experiences, alongside their best-kept secrets and techniques for crafting a compelling model story.

Charlotte Cho

Writer, licensed esthetician, and co-founder of Soko Glam and Then I Met You

Portrait of Charlotte Cho holding skincare products
Charlotte Cho

When Charlotte took the leap and launched Soko Glam in 2012, she had no enterprise or magnificence expertise. She appeared an unlikely founder—at first blush. But it surely was Charlotte’s unconventional strategy that got here to outline her now broadly revered model.

Soko Glam is, in some ways, the manifestation of Charlotte’s private model and skincare journey. She took her viewers alongside for the journey as her enterprise bought off the bottom, candidly sharing her ups and downs and constructing a following by real storytelling. In 2018, she launched her personal skincare line, Then I Met You, a model constructed round an ethos near her coronary heart.

Lauren Chan

Mannequin, former trend editor, and founder and CEO of Henning

Portrait of Lauren Chan

Lauren moved from Canada to New York to work as a plus-sized mannequin earlier than transitioning to journalism—the place she later grew to become a famend knowledgeable on plus trend.

Dismayed by the shortage of clothes choices in her measurement, Lauren launched her personal plus model, Henning, in 2019. For six months, she thoughtfully constructed a group across the story of the model, earlier than formally releasing any product. Her personal experiences are tightly woven into the model’s “why.” 

Ashley Jennett

Mother, registered nurse, photographer, and proprietor of The Bee & The Fox

Portrait of Ashley Jennett standing in a field with her children
Ashley Jennett

For Ashley, a nurse by commerce, her on-line t-shirt enterprise occurred fairly accidentally. It was a model born out of a inventive partnership together with her finest pal as they visually documented their lives and journey. The Bee & The Fox launched quietly with youngsters’ tees however caught a swelling wave of consideration when it launched its Mama Hen shirt for ladies. The enterprise is now Ashley’s full-time job—on high of being a full-time single mother. Her story of motherhood and keenness for talking up are evident at each touchpoint—even throughout the fronts of the shirts themselves.

I additionally consulted Karlee Bedford, Head of Model Advertising for our Model and Communications group at Shopify, to get some knowledgeable insights. Karlee brings to her position at Shopify greater than a decade of expertise constructing and rising manufacturers within the promoting trade.

What’s a model story?

Earlier than we speak about model storytelling, we must always speak about model—a time period that always will get confused with “branding.” “Model is a lot greater than a brand or a tenet doc,” says Karlee. “Model elicits a feeling.” She refers to Seth Godin’s definition of brand name that describes it as “a set of expectations, recollections, tales and relationships that, put collectively, impression a client’s resolution to decide on one services or products over one other.”

Let’s take two seemingly related examples: Nike and New Stability. Whereas their merchandise might not differ very a lot functionally, “they behave in a different way and have very completely different views,” says Karlee. “Shoppers available in the market for sneakers have a special feeling about what every model affords them emotionally.”

Model is a lot greater than a brand or a tenet doc. Model elicits a sense.

Karlee Bedford

Model storytelling makes use of narrative to form and talk the essence of your model to your clients. It’s a mixture of info (the who, what, when) and emotions (the why) that inform the world what you’re about and why they need to care. story infuses a model’s values: what do you stand for? 

A model story can change into the North Star for a rising firm; a beacon that guides what an organization does along with what it says. It will possibly act as the inspiration of a set of model pointers that preserve your mission, message, and voice constant, at the same time as you scale.

Your model story, like every good story, ought to be fascinating, human, and trustworthy. It ought to make folks really feel one thing. That feeling then turns into the catalyst for a desired motion—be a part of, donate, comply with, join, purchase.

Why take a storytelling strategy?

The 1946 movie It’s a Fantastic Life tells the life story of George Bailey, a person who provides up his dream to do the fitting factor, solely to search out himself broke and depressing. However then! When all of it appears fairly hopeless for poor George, we meet Clarence, an angel despatched to assist our woe-stricken protagonist. A Christmas miracle! Clarence exhibits George a world with out George that’s, frankly, a lot worse than one with him. An awakening. Not a dry eye in Bedford Falls. Fin

I’ve seen this movie not less than two dozen instances. It’s a household custom, and with out it, Christmas simply wouldn’t be the identical. The story, for me, is the magical reindeer mud on your complete vacation expertise. Nope, it’s not the eggnog and rum inducing these heat and fuzzy emotions—it’s the ability of storytelling. Neuroscience agrees. 

One Berkeley examine discovered that the mind produces a neurochemical referred to as oxytocin—typically known as “the love hormone”—when folks watch or hear a transferring story. Oxytocin creates emotions of empathy and compassion, and better ranges of the hormone are proven to supply generosity and belief. 

Storytelling is a chance to emotionally join with customers.

Karlee Bedford

For a model, that’s excellent news. “Storytelling is a chance to emotionally join with customers,” says Karlee. “It affords the buyer greater than only a services or products—it affords them an expertise.” In the event you can transfer your audiences to really feel one thing it’s simpler to construct belief and an preliminary connection, laying the inspiration for turning them right into a buyer.

Lauren’s experiences have been integral to her model story as a result of it’s rooted in her most weak moments. She launched mere months earlier than the onset of COVID-19 and the escalation of the Black Lives Matter motion. “Proper now we should be deeply human,” she says. And since Henning was constructed upon that premise, it was pure for the model to make use of its voice. “It is smart to concentrate on group and dialog.”

Storytelling “can affirm our personal beliefs and perceptions, however extra usually, it challenges them,” says author and historian Cody C. Delistraty. This can be a cornerstone of The Bee & The Fox, a model that goals to encourage dialog. “The center of the model is at all times going to be within the content material. It’s in what we stand for. It’s the organizations we donate to,” Ashley says.

Authenticity and belief

“Relationships between people take time to construct, and the identical is true for manufacturers and their clients,” says Karlee. “It requires spending time collectively, sharing experiences, having conversations, and constructing belief over time.” 

Portrait of Lauren Chan
Lauren’s personal story is on the heart of her model’s story. BFA

Lauren believes the folks your model serves ought to have a seat on the desk, making selections. “A part of the rationale that plus-sized manufacturers have largely failed prior to now is that they’re not based or run by plus-sized folks,” she says. “And it’s evident.” Lauren is her personal buyer, so she’s capable of share a typical expertise with them. The authenticity shines in her model story and visuals. 

Charlotte’s genuine self additionally performs a central position in each Soko Glam and Then I Met You—and their tales. For her, gaining belief meant being candid about her personal lack of credentials. “Most individuals purchase skincare traces as a result of they arrive from a dermatologist,” she says. “Hey, I didn’t even wash my face a few years in the past.” Charlotte used running a blog as a solution to share classes from her private skincare journey—and that vulnerability resonated with a rising Korean magnificence fandom.

You’ll be able to’t promote authenticity and you actually can’t train it.

Ashley Jennett

At the same time as Charlotte has gained hard-won expertise—authoring a ebook on skincare and incomes her esthetician licence—she maintains an enthralling degree of transparency together with her viewers by the ups and downs. “I talk about this brazenly, even on my social,” she says, “about how careworn I used to be for the launch of Then I Met You.”

One of many frequent pitfalls in constructing a model, says Karlee, is “inventing model advantages, moderately than mining and uncovering their real goal and values.” Insincerity is difficult to cover. Daring messages and agency stances gained’t learn as genuine irrespective of what number of buzzwords you employ. “You’ll be able to’t promote authenticity and you actually can’t train it,” says Ashley.

You and your model

You, the founder, convey your model into being, however let’s be clear: you aren’t the star. You’re the narrator, the supporting character, the story system that lets the principle character shine. Your buyer? She takes the lead.

Your story turns into the construction upon which your clients write their very own.

However, your position is important. Your story turns into the construction upon which your clients write their very own. In the event that they see themselves in your struggles and triumphs, you’ve solid them a job within the heart of your model’s story.

The choice to place your identify and face on the heart of your model story is a private one. For a lot of causes, chances are you’ll select to be extra eliminated. Whereas Ashley’s About Us web page on The Bee & The Fox’s web site tells an attractive and private story, her personal face and identify are obscured. As an alternative, the faces captured within the model’s pictures are consultant of the model’s numerous clients.

Image of a model wearing a hat and a t-shirt looking back over her shoulder against a background of treesImage of a two models wearing coats and sunglasses against a sky background

Image of a model sitting on a car wearing a t-shirt that reads
The Bee & The Fox

In Lauren’s case, she tells me that Henning did want a face. “Our enterprise is one that’s intensely emotionally pushed. Plus-sized trend—for individuals who have been marginalized by this trade—is much more emotional,” she says. “It required a human being, it required heat, it required understanding and group.”

Answering your “why”

An excellent story at all times has a “why.” It’s the predominant character’s raison d’etre, the driving drive behind the journey to the what or the the place. In a model story, that “why” could possibly be a ache level—a niche available in the market that you simply intention to fill—or achievement of a ardour. The reply to “why did I create this?” may change into the leaping off level on your story.

When Lauren was working as an editor, she met with a number of the greatest names in trend—whereas sporting garments that didn’t specific her type or make her really feel assured. “I used to be restricted to low cost, crappy garments,” she says. “I used to be actually having wardrobe malfunctions at work and skipping conferences as a result of my garments have been embarrassing.”

Lauren’s frustrations, she understood, have been private, but additionally shared by many ladies who put on plus sizes. Her “why” was guaranteeing that different ladies didn’t need to expertise the identical. “When plus-sized ladies solely have one sort of trend and so they aren’t capable of specific themselves, they’re not capable of really feel genuine,” she says.“The consequences of which can be simply mentally detrimental.”

Free Worksheet: Model Storytelling

Use this useful train as a information that can assist you craft a compelling model story and construct a loyal viewers by the ability of storytelling.

Story components

The rules of telling a fascinating story are roughly the identical throughout mediums. It’s the standard of what’s expressed, not the format, that determines whether or not a narrative resonates.

We are able to make use of and study from the identical storytelling strategies that movie administrators or novelists use to hook their audiences. I do know, literal many years might have handed because you have been final anticipated to painstakingly decide aside The Outdated Man and the Sea. However understanding the underlying components of a well-told story is beneficial as a guidelines of types.

📖 What are the weather of a superb story? Usually, a story consists of:

  • Exposition: characters, setting, and particulars that assist the reader visualize the story
  • Battle: a disaster or rigidity level that will change the course of the character’s path
  • Rising motion: the lead-up to the climax
  • Climax: the defeat, rebirth, or aha second; the inception of one thing new
  • Falling motion: additionally referred to as dénoument or decision

✏️ For example, let’s use these story components to create the premise for Henning’s story:

  • Characters: Lauren, plus-sized skilled ladies (her clients)
  • Setting: New York, places of work and areas the place skilled ladies function
  • Battle: Lauren couldn’t discover clothes that represented her internal self outwardly
  • Rising motion: she started to have wardrobe malfunctions and miss conferences, and the shortage of acceptable clothes choices affected her psychologically
  • Climax and determination: she grew to become fed up with the choices in plus trend and determined to launch her personal model. Henning grew an viewers primarily based on its authenticity and dedication to designing garments for plus ladies, by plus ladies

The Hero’s Journey is a well-liked story format that mirrors the trail of many entrepreneur sorts and could also be a perfect framework for you. It’s a Fantastic Life’s George Bailey took a round journey and located himself again the place he began, modified by his experiences. Present the vacation spot, present the place all of it started, after which bridge the hole.

One other train to strive is mapping your story out on Disney’s story backbone—a framework upon which most of the firm’s movies are constructed: 

As soon as upon a time… 

And day-after-day… 

Till sooner or later…

And due to that… 

And due to that… 

And due to that… 

Till lastly…

And since that day…

The ethical of the story is…


The very best inspiration will possible come from the tales which have moved you prior to now. What are a few of your favourite films, books, podcasts, or different model tales? What have they got in frequent? What storytelling gadgets do they use successfully to encourage feeling?

The client because the hero

Screen shot of a Then I Met You post on Instagram
Buyer faces and tales are sometimes highlighted in Then I Met You advertising and marketing. Then I Met You

Bear in mind to focus in your story’s central character: your buyer. As you craft your story, maintain them in your thoughts and let their wants and ache factors information you. “In the event you can’t talk who you might be as a model and the kind of one that would establish together with your core values, then you definitely gained’t have the ability to promote it to them,” says advertising and marketing skilled Joey Ng.

Incorporating our clients’ interpretation of our model has been such a giant cornerstone of Then I Met You and has allowed us to thrive.

Charlotte Cho

As you develop, incorporating your buyer’s story into your model will change into extra pure, as long as you create a dialogue together with your viewers—as they start to share their experiences, you may collect these tales and use them to construct upon your personal. Lauren had this in thoughts for Henning earlier than she even had a product to promote. She knew buyer voices would assist form the model’s foundations, and he or she now contains a few of her finest clients in photoshoots.

Charlotte opted to behave because the curator of the tales her clients have been already telling. She found that her followers have been creating their very own artwork—unprompted—round her merchandise and model. “They generally take higher pictures than we do!” she says. Then I Met You lately launched an artwork present and competitors to spotlight a few of this work on the model’s website. “Incorporating our clients’ interpretation of our model has been such a giant cornerstone of Then I Met You and has allowed us to thrive,” she says.

Visible storytelling

Nice storytelling is decided by type, not format. The proper medium is the one which finest helps your model narrative: may you inform your story by video, audio, pictures, or design?

Lauren says that visible storytelling is vital to Henning. Her clients are profitable ladies “who wish to symbolize themselves in a classy and sharp method.” To draw that viewers, Henning may be very deliberate about its voice and visuals. “I actually wished to create a model the place these ladies may instantly see that they belonged right here.”

Blonde model wearing a beige trenchcoat Hands adjust the belt of a brown trench coat

Blonde model poses for a photoshoot wearing a black coat

The model speaks to a bunch that has traditionally been ignored by the style world—clients must see themselves represented in Henning’s story. “Vogue photos have lengthy dictated what ladies at massive on this tradition take into consideration themselves,” says Lauren. “After we solely see one sort of lady in trend—skinny, white, Jap European, younger, and tall—everybody else suffers damaging psychological results.”

When and the place to make use of story

The obvious place to inform your model story is on an About Us web page. It’s a devoted area in your web site designed particularly for this goal. You should utilize a mixture of written narrative, video, and visuals, all on a totally clean canvas.

However, nice advertising and marketing is about assembly your clients wherever they’re, even earlier than you get them to purchase. Storytelling is a strong software to construct model affinity and belief at a few of these earliest touchpoints, similar to social media posts or adverts. And don’t overlook to remind present clients why they assist you—inform your story on packaging and add a private contact to your customer support communications.

🎙️ The place to inform your story (and a few examples of brand name storytelling to encourage you):

Screen grab of Soko Glam's About Page or the brand's online store
Charlotte’s personal voice remains to be central to Soko Glam’s model story, at the same time as the corporate has grown to incorporate extra voices. Soko Glam

Storytelling as you scale

Because the founder, you draft the primary model of your story, carefully controlling the consistency of your message. However as your model scales, chances are you’ll begin to delegate a number of the storytelling to companions, freelancers, companies, or workers. How do you make sure that you retain your voice and story regular and true to your authentic imaginative and prescient?

This grew to become a problem for Ashley as she started to work with a advertising and marketing group. She began to see communications popping up in her feed from her personal model that felt like they have been coming from another person. She realized that it was an space of the enterprise that she couldn’t absolutely let go. “I’ve to have that management,” she says. “Having our voice on something and every little thing that we put out there may be completely important to me.” Now, Ashley has a better relationship together with her advertising and marketing group’s work.

Ashley employed a former neighbor to deal with her customer support, as a result of it was vital to her that this important touchpoint was dealt with by somebody she knew intimately.

It was simply very deeply vital to me to have one thing sturdy to reference. That North Star may be very clear to us.

Lauren Chan

Lauren’s strategy was to anticipate scaling. She labored on the model for months earlier than launch. That work resulted in property like a model type information that helps align anybody she brings onto the group. “It was simply very deeply vital to me to have one thing sturdy to reference,” she says. “That North Star may be very clear to us.” 

For Charlotte, scaling and increasing the variety of voices that symbolize her model has been a constructive expertise. The model remains to be comparatively small, she says. “It is not like we’re Sephora or Ulta.” Subsequently, Charlotte remains to be intimately concerned with the model’s messaging. However different faces and voices have began to emerge in a few of her movies and weblog posts. “My curation movies was simply me,” she says. “However now I’ve folks from the group come and host with me.” 

How inform your model story

Display of Then I Met You products on a row of shelves against a blue wall
Then I Met You

First, that is your story. Delegating the total process of writing your model story could possibly be a mistake. Certain, the professionals may help polish your story, however you ought to be closely concerned on this course of. “We are able to’t outsource our voice,” says activist and entrepreneur Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart. “It’s our coronary heart, it’s our soul, it’s our story.”

What does your model consider? And why does your model exist? From there you may outline your viewers’s core need and the emotional providing that fulfills that viewers’s need.

Karlee Bedford

I attended a workshop in 2019 introduced by storytelling professional Louis Richardson. “It’s not about getting them to purchase,” he instructed us. “It’s about getting them to consider.” With that in thoughts, let’s get writing. 

1. Begin with the fundamentals 🔤

“Outline your conviction and goal,” says Karlee. “What does your model consider? And why does your model exist? From there you may outline your viewers’s core need and the emotional providing that fulfills that viewers’s need.” Solely then, she says, are you able to begin to dive into the finer particulars, like voice, tone, and design.

2. Ask questions 🤔

In the event you’re not a pure storyteller, begin with brainstorming workouts to get the inventive juices flowing. Reply the next questions (level type is okay at this stage):

  • Why does your model/firm exist? Why did you begin this enterprise?
  • What’s your private historical past? Embody what’s related to your entrepreneurial journey or the inception of your model.
  • Who’re your predominant characters? You? Your goal buyer? Mentors? Companions?
  • What’s the setting, if related? Is place vital to your model? Why? (That is vital for manufacturers that target a area people or have been impressed by journey, for instance.)
  • The place’s the stress? What motion adopted? What downside are you attempting to unravel?
  • What’s your mission? What do you intention to perform by this model?
  • Who’s your viewers or perfect buyer? Be particular. What do they at present consider? What would you like them to consider after partaking together with your model and story?
  • How would you want others to explain your model to a pal?
  • What do you stand for? What are your private values? How will these be mirrored in your model?

For a easy template, entry our free worksheet:

Free Worksheet: Model Storytelling

Use this useful train as a information that can assist you craft a compelling model story and construct a loyal viewers by the ability of storytelling.

3. Hearken to your group 🎧

Your story ought to be genuine and related, says Lauren. And although your model story ought to be private, it shouldn’t essentially be created in a vacuum. “It shouldn’t simply be pushed by you,” she says. “Get on the market and discuss to your group to know the collective expertise of the folks that you simply hope to talk to.”

Storytelling helped our group perceive what we care about. How we’re truly residing our ethos of giving again.

Charlotte Cho

4. Write a narrative, not an inventory of info 📚

“Your About web page is an interview,” says marketer Melyssa Griffin. How would you describe your model in dialog to an employer or pal? Use a primary story construction outlined on this article to attach the solutions to your questions above in a method that’s conversational, partaking, and well-paced. And bear in mind to learn it aloud—is that this how you’d converse? “Infuse the issues that you simply stand for,” says Ashley. In the event you’re captivated with your story, will probably be mirrored in your writing.

Charlotte weaves very private storytelling into Then I Met You’s product growth and campaigns. Her honeydew lip masks’s substances have been impressed by her grandmother, who would serve the fruit to her when she was a baby. And when she, like many entrepreneurs, stepped as much as assist assist these affected most by COVID-19, she centered on grocery employees, impressed by her dad, who works at a grocery retailer. “Storytelling helped our group perceive what we care about,” she says. “How we’re truly residing our ethos of giving again.”

5. And the ethical of the story is…? ❤️

Many good tales finish with an ethical or lesson. Consider any of Disney’s movies. For model tales, let’s confer with this as a name to motion. Your story ought to at all times have a takeaway for the reader that’s actionable. 

Do not forget that the story’s purpose isn’t at all times to compel somebody to purchase—not less than not but. However what different motion would you like the reader to take? Ought to they comply with you? Full a survey? Learn extra into the causes you assist? How will you retain the viewers engaged and nurture them additional into your story? Perhaps the takeaway is just a feeling you need them to have.

“Folks will overlook what you stated, folks will overlook what you probably did,” Maya Angelou as soon as stated, “however folks will always remember the way you made them really feel.”

In search of suggestions—and when to behave on it

Woman in a hat and t-shirt that says "Nobody's Perfekt" stands against a background of trees
“No one’s Perfekt.” The Bee & The Fox

Working with an editor is a good first step to make sure that your voice is introduced in a elegant {and professional} method. In the event you don’t have the finances to rent a professional, any second set of eyes will do. Higher but, share your draft with a number of associates who will provide you with trustworthy suggestions, together with individuals who resemble your perfect buyer.

As soon as your model story is out on the earth, that doesn’t imply it’s set in stone. Search suggestions out of your clients continuously. There are a number of methods to assemble this suggestions:

  • Run surveys or polls delivered on social, in your web site, or by way of e mail advertising and marketing.
  • Take note of feedback, suggestions, and evaluations shared throughout your varied channels.
  • Ask questions of your viewers instantly in social content material (much less formal than a ballot or survey).
  • Supply free consults by way of video or chat—you may study as a lot from the expertise as your buyer.

Whereas it’s vital to absorb suggestions, know when to behave on it and when to let it lie. Not each buyer is your finest buyer, nor are they a model advocate. You’ll must know when to stay to your values.

Ashley’s model encourages dialogue across the matters which can be vital to The Bee & The Fox. Typically issues get heated. “I at all times preserve the model open to free speech,” she says. Often a remark will rub her core group the mistaken method. “Folks will say, ‘Are you able to please simply block this individual?’ or, ‘Simply take this individual’s remark down,’” she says. “And I’ll by no means try this. I’m OK being divisive.”

Characteristic illustration by Cecilia Castelli



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