While many companies expand and build brand recognition using a variety of tools and strategies, successful branding efforts have one thing in common: a compelling story delivered through a variety of mediums that reach your target audience.

As humans, we are natural storytellers, and as consumers, our interest is more easily captured by a compelling story that personalizes and localizes a concept or issue. Told creatively, a good story can inspire action, shift opinion and generate public conversation.

When developing a branding campaign, it is important to first consider and understand your audience. Who are they? What do they know already know about your company? How do they commonly consume media? Some pre-campaign polling can help you discover where you stand with your target audience and how to improve their perceptions of your organization.

Once you understand your audience and their baseline impressions, you can begin to develop the messaging that will capture their attention. For instance, an organization whose audience feels as though they’re disconnected from the community might consider sharing stories that highlight their involvement in the community and support of popular causes.  Similarly, a business with a less-than-stellar reputation on environmental matters, may want to engage in high profile efforts to promote sustainability and conservation.

Armed with the information necessary to understand your audience, all you have left to do is tell your story. This can be easier said than done, as you need to reflect on your company’s values, activities and future goals to build out a narrative that is authentic. If you’re not able to accurately reflect your values and the work you do through a story, your audience will not “buy in”, and you will lose brand recognition.

Know your audience, authentically tell your story and watch your brand grow.