Mastering Your Brand Story | Bree Baich | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Why Storytelling?


    • 3.

      Why it Works


    • 4.

      Understanding the Audience


    • 5.

      What's the Storyline?


    • 6.

      Key Ingredients


    • 7.

      Organizing the Story


    • 8.

      Storyboarding 101


    • 9.

      Putting it Together


    • 10.

      Best Practices and Conclusion


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About This Class

Why storytelling? Because we all want to do business with people we like. Stories create connections between products and an audience by revealing a brand’s authenticity.

Have you noticed the shift from product pushing to story-based commercials? Features and benefits are great, but people want to know how a product or service saves them time or improves their life. To do that, brands need to show how the product (or service) fits into someone’s world. It’s easily achieved if you build audience-focused narratives.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a small business, an entrepreneur just starting out, or someone looking for innovative marketing ideas, there’s something in this course for everyone. Want to better understand your audience? Or maybe you’re looking for a story winning formula? I share some of my favorite tips and tricks along with fitting examples to help you gain the confidence you need to become a storyteller for your own brand.

In 3 parts we’ll cover:

  •       Your target audience and how to reach them.
  •       What should be included in a story and what should stay on the editing room floor.
  •       And finally, we’ll jump in and create your first story.

For the project you’ll need a way to capture video and a social media platform to share it on.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Bree Baich

Visual & Interactive Story Designer


Hello, I'm Bree.

I’m a transmedia storyteller for an analytics software company focused on design and deployment of multi-platform narratives. I bring stories to life one Prezi, presentation, interactive workshop and engaging video at a time. I've got mad love for animals, mentoring and coaching, cutting edge technology, great design, Harleys, live bands, and paying life forward every chance I get!

I write about storytelling for various online publications like:,, and 

Off hours you can catch me in the workshop turning old stuff into usable items pet humans love, or volunteering for animal welfare non-profits in Austin, Texas. My life's mantra: "The best th... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hey guys, thanks for joining me for mastering your brand story with just your phone, other stuff optional. Now, I don't know if you realize this or not, but there's a trend in the way companies are going to market these days. We're moving away from product pitching and really leaning hard into story-based narratives. Just take a look at those ads that play during the big football playoff game every year. For the last two years, the top 15 performing ads actually led with story and there's a reason for that. Companies are realizing that there's tremendous value in capturing the consumers' heart, which leads to their spend, when they show how their product looks in real life. I'm Bree Baich, I'm a transmedia storyteller for an awesome software company, and I get to spend my days helping thought leaders organize and then ultimately visualize the stories that they tell. So I get super excited when I have opportunities like this to share what I know to help other people become better storytellers. Now whether you're a small business, or an entrepreneur just getting started, or maybe you're a marketing professional and you're just looking for a few new tips and tricks, there's something in this for everyone. I've segmented it into three parts. The first part is all about the audience, because every good story, every great story is wrapped around the audience. The second part is actually about what needs to be included in your story and what should stay on the cutting room floor. Then the last part, it's your opportunity to put your first story together. Now, stay tuned till the end because I do have a tool that will help you put those stories together so much easier. Sound good. Let's get started. 2. Why Storytelling?: People ask me, why storytelling? The answer is simple, stories help us connect with your brand. They help us really see what you're all about. Stories reveal a brand's authenticity. What I mean by that, is maybe you have a philanthropic focus, or you're super passionate about your product and you want us to be just as passionate. Or maybe you're one of those cool, fun companies to work for and you want us to see what it feels like to work there. We're able to see that through the stories that you tell. Stories also help by us really see how your product fits into our world. I can completely see myself driving down the highway in that sexy blue convertible, just really enjoying life. Stories have a way to help us connect with you and your product. But what happens when you have a product that's not quite so sexy as that blue convertible? Maybe it's something like this box right here. How do you make something like this become compelling and create that connection with the audience? The Paper and Packaging Board did it when they created an ad campaign about a little boy throwing paper airplanes over a fence. Basically, it was about a little boy who wanted to be closer to his dad and so he was throwing paper airplanes and his neighbor on the other side was gathering all those airplanes and putting them in a box. Mailed that box off to the little boy's father who was serving overseas. Father opened the box, was overwhelmed with all the wonderful words from his son. Wrote him letters, folded them into paper airplanes, put them in a box, sent them to the neighbor, and the neighbor sent them back over the fence. The whole point was to help an audience see how that simple little box could bring two worlds closer. How do you make something like that really compelling? You make it personal. We could see ourselves in that story about the little boy who was throwing paper airplanes to his father. Stories are contagious. I tell one to you, you share it with someone else, they share it with someone else, and that story lives on and on and on. Stories beget other stories. That's why storytelling. 3. Why it Works: So why do you stories work? Well, we're going to dig into a little science here. There's been a lot of research about this particular topic and one of my favorite researcher is Jennifer Aaker. She reminds us that emotion drives decisions and we rationalize those decisions later. Think about anytime you ever had buyer's remorse, you were really excited about the product. You probably had a great experience with the person you are interacting with and engaging with. You got at home, still loving it. Couple of days go by and you start to wonder, why did I buy that? That's what we're talking about here. Whether we like it or not, humans tend to buy or make decisions based on how something makes us feel. We all want to do business with people that we like. Yes, we're buying from companies, but ultimately we're buying from the people within the companies. Anytime you can highlight that in a story, who the company is or what they're about, it really does make that connection with the audience. Stories make your company personal. Stories make your company memorable. People may not remember all the details, but they'll remember how you made them feel. Ninety percent of businesses using social media have generated brand awareness. So why not story? A good first step would be to design a fictional story. 4. Understanding the Audience: Now we're going to dig into the most important part of your story, and that's understanding the audience, because every great story really is, like I said earlier, wrapped around the audience. I break it down into four consumable parts. I'm going to use a case study from to highlight each one of those parts. It starts with really understanding who your target audience is. For Yard Inflatables, they don't have a brick and mortar, so all of their customers are coming through their website. Next, they needed to understand why the customers would need them. In their particular case, they offer seasonal items. Consumers who are looking for yard decorations during the major holidays, they're a great resource for those customers. Then third, where do those consumers hang out? When I say hang out, I'm talking about where's the best place or what's the best channel for to put their stories? In their particular case, Facebook and YouTube seemed to be the place where their consumers went for information. The fourth piece is twofold. It's knowing what your intent for the story is and what your expectation of the audience's post-story. Is your intent to motivate, to educate, or just to engage? What's your expectation? Are you hoping that they'll better understand something about your company? Are you looking for brand advocacy? Or maybe, you're just trying to help influence them? Maybe, again, you're philanthropic and you really want to get them involved and so you want to influence their decision to do that. Those four pieces are really what's tied to making great stories. Now we're going to take a little bit of a pause and I'm going to ask you, if you haven't already downloaded the exercise files, because we're going to work on exercise number 1, getting to know your audience. Here's how this works. You've got three things that you're going to do and you've got three areas to work in. The first one is to identify who your target audience is. In the box underneath audience, you're going to put who your target audience is. The box next to that is, what do you want the audience to do? That's your expectations of the audience. Do you want them to become a brand advocate for you? Would you like them to participate or partner with you on something? What is that expectation? In contexts of use, it really comes down to, where would you get the most traction if you were going to put a story on social media? Again, Yard Inflatables felt like Facebook was probably their best bet because they knew that's where their customers hung out. The reason why this is so important is because obviously you want to go where they are, but it's also going to dictate what technology you're going to use. These days, our phones can do a whole lot, but there are some times where you may need a little bit more editing software and some talent to help you out, and based on where you're going to put those stories it may drive that you need more technology or more help. Take about five minutes and fill this out. Fill in your target audience, what your expectation of that audience would be, and then where do you think the best place to post a story. I gave you a little extra room as well because some folks actually have multiple audiences that they could tell additional stories too. If you want to go a little bit further and maybe save that for later, I gave you a little extra space to think through some additional audience types and/or additional places you might be able to post that story. 5. What's the Storyline?: So what's the storyline? You know, that thing people are going to remember about you. It's called a core message. A lot of people, when they first get started, they want to shove everything in that first story. But the problem is a confused mind will always say no. No that's too much not going back. You want to really focus on the one thing you want people to remember about you, then's case, they wanted people to remember that big smiles come in small boxes. That's because it's their differentiates. Their biggest competitor are the people that make blow molds, those big plastic things people put out on their yard and in yard inflatables case that seven and a half foot span with Olaf in his head fits into a 12 by 12 box, super small. So it's easier to store. It's not clunky. For them, what they want to remember, their core message for their Facebook story is that big smiles come in small boxes. Now, can your story be tied to a need, pain or problem? Maybe? It's a good place to start because if you can meet someone's need, relieve their pain, or solve their problem, they are incredibly loyal. Let me give you a couple examples. Who we are stories are very common on Instagram. Instagram has 400 million people watching videos every single day. In companies like Everlane have nailed the who we are stories. They have something called Transparency Tuesday where they allow followers to ask them questions, and then they shoot videos to answer those questions. I don't know if you've heard this or not, but Instagram just launched IGTV, which enables us to now shoot vertical video instead of the square ones, but up to 10 minutes long. So it's a great platform for people who want to show behind the scenes and get to know those kind of stories. Next, our troubleshooting. This one happened to me today. I had shot all of my video and started watching it and realized there was this terrible buzz. I went out to YouTube and I looked for, how do I get rid of this buzz with my microphone and found the answer on YouTube. Youtube has 300 plus million viewers every single day. It's a great place and it's one of the most popular places people go to figure out how to fix things. So these are great stories. If you have a company where you might have customers that have issues or challenges with your product, it's a great place to proactively post on stories for troubleshooting. Those how-to videos, Facebook. Those hands in the bowl. Eight billion people are watching Facebook videos every single day. Tasty is one of those companies that has really perfected those short little Facebook's stories. Those stories where you watch them put all those ingredients together by the end, you can see the final product that apple pie bake, I'm telling you right now, delicious. How to use stories on Facebook really rocks, it's a great platform for how to use stories. So good that that's where posted this really fun Facebook story, how to become the popular house in four easy steps? Now here's where I'm going to let you in on a little secret to storytelling. People love less. I don't know what it is. But if you tell somebody that there's four easy steps, or three ways, or seven secrets. They are all over that. They love that stuff because they know that they're going to get the information that they need really quickly. If you can add that to your title and you can break your video down into steps or lists of any kind. People are going to love those kinds of stories. In that particular case, they did a four-part story where they had a gentleman ordering something online. Then he was waiting at the door on delivery day. Then they showed him assembling the product. Then finally it was voila. There's my product and all the neighbors showed up to rejoice. That was a really great, fun, easy Facebook story that was four steps and it was easy for them to put together. Sometimes though, you want to think outside the box because thinking outside the box really is a way to go viral. For instance, YouTube, the fifth most viewed video on YouTube is, will it blends. It's a blender company. Again like my box, not a sexy product, but my goodness, there the funniest videos. They will put all kinds of things in the blender to see if it blends. So my coaching to you is, as you're going through and you're thinking about the audience and what the audience might be interested in about your company. Maybe thinking outside this cute little box might be the answer to how to, who we are, need, pain or problem, or maybe even some troubleshooting. 6. Key Ingredients: Okay, now we're getting into those key ingredients. It's the things that belong in a story. Easiest way to think about this is really to think about your favorite book when you're a kid. Every book had four key ingredients in it. I'm going to use again yard inflatable story to highlight it, to roll this together. The first thing that every story has is it has a place. For a yard inflatable it was the house, right. The story took place in this neighborhood at Hunter's house. Then there was the character, Mr. Hunter. He was the one that was ordering the product online and went through the assembly and all of that good stuff. The next thing is the objective, every story has to have an objective. What is it that they're trying to accomplish in that story? In this particular case, it was helping people see that big smiles come in little boxes. Then they all have to have an ending of some sort. In the Yard Inflatable case, it was the fact that people are going to start converging to their house because they had this huge, big inflatable for everyone to enjoy. So every story needs to have four parts. It needs to have a place, a character, an objective and an ending. Okay, so here's, we're going to take another little pause where you take about five minutes, won't take you very long. We're going to work through the last two sections in this worksheet. The first thing you're going to do is you're going to figure out what problem are you trying to help the audience solve? It goes back to that need, pain or problem. Is that what you're trying to do? Write that in that space. Then the next thing you're going to do is, what's your core message? What's that one thing that you want the audience to remember about it? Again, they won't remember every detail in your story, but they're going to remember the highlight, what was the most important. Then the last piece is writing in or filling in, where did it take place? Who's the character? What's the objective? Then what's the ending? This is where you start thinking about what you need to include in the story. Again, the best place to start is by writing a fictional story. If you don't want to do a plain story of your own at this point, definitely start working through a fictional or a scenario of some sort. 7. Organizing the Story: So now I'm going to start organizing your story and this is where we take those key ingredients and we follow a recipe for putting it together and it's really about creating a beginning, a middle, and an end. The middle being where the majority of the story takes place, but the thing to note is in the beginning you really want to start with something that gets the audience curious. For, they started their story with hunter sitting at a computer typing and smiling and getting all excited, but they never showed you, what he's actually doing on his laptop. What's interesting about that is the audiences is like, where's the story going and that's what keeps them engaged. Then you get into the mid of your story. That's the middle, and that's where you're adding in those details, those little pieces that really bring your story to live. You want to make sure you add in some obstacles because no story ever told in a linear fashion was ever interesting and then you want to make sure that you're giving the audience a payoff, what is it that at the end they're going to be like, oh yes, I love it. So like that tasty how-to video, I was able to see what that apple pie bake look like, which maybe you want to run out and make one myself. What's that payoff for the audience? In some cases, you may even want to include a call to action like go to the website for more or jump out to Facebook and grab a coupon or whatever it is that you're really trying to get the audience to do part of member to that expectation. Sometimes you may want to include that call to action to continue that engagement with the audience. 8. Storyboarding 101: Remember at the beginning when I told you that I was going to show you a cool tool that I use to help put my stories together faster, we're here. It's all about storyboarding. I use a sticky note system, where I draw and then I put it on a white board. Why do I draw? Because drawing helps us understand the situation. Why do I use sticky notes? Because sticky notes help us understand a situation fluidly. Our stories are probably going to need to adjust as we're pulling them together and it's a whole lot easier to move sticky notes around than it is to erase things. But here's my favorite, group-think. There are times when I'm working on a story and I'll call a friend who doesn't even work in the software game, because I need to get an outside-in perspective. Group-think always helps us create a stronger story. I really want to encourage you to really lean on the power of the collective, especially in the beginning, because it enables you to get an outside-in perspective to this story that you're trying to create. Now to the storyboard. This is actually what it looks like. It's squares that give you an option to either draw in a square or do like I do and use the sticky notes, and then you can write down below each square, what actually is taking place. The reason this really works well is because it helps you to plan before you just go shoot your video. You're going to be able to shoot this video, using your cell phone, using your smartphone, using your tablet, whatever device it is that you're wanting to use and you're going to be able to do it pretty quickly, because you did all the planning up front. Storyboarding is about planning. In this case, this is the layout that used to put the initial story together. You can see Hunter sitting at his laptop and he is placing an online order. Then you can see Hunter is opening the door and peeking out the front door to see if the man in brown shorts has shown up yet. Then you can see him putting it together, unboxing it and laying it out and getting ready to assemble it. Then there's the payoff. You've got the beginning, that lean-in moment where people are like, "What's he ordering online?" Then you've got the details of him waiting for the delivery and unboxing it and putting it together. But then you get the payoff of him standing back and looking at his creation and in the drawing format, they were going with this blow-up snow globe, which is cool. This is where the power of the sticky note system really comes in. You can see just like you saw on the screen, where it's a four-part story. You've got him in the beginning doing a laptop, then he's waiting for the man in brown shorts, then he's unpacking and then there's the payoff. But it's very linear it's a good story, but it's not a great story yet because there's no risk and intrigue. They wanted to add a little bit more of an obstacle to it, so they move these last two a little bit later in the story. Then they added a little bit more intrigue. Yes, Hunter is looking out the door and he's waiting for the man in brown shorts to roll up but he hasn't rolled up yet. A little time goes by and he pokes his head back out the door and he's now looking at his watch like, "Where's it at, where's it at? " Super excited for it to show up. Finally, the doorbell rings and voila, the package has arrived. This is why the sticky note system works so well because it's a very fluid way of being able to reorder and realign the story as you go along. 9. Putting it Together: Now, it's your turn to start putting everything together. It starts with, the core message that you identified a little bit ago in an earlier exercise. Now, you're going to start gathering the tools that you need, like your pen or pencil depending on what you want to use to draw away. Then, ultimately you're going reorder and refine as you go along. But don't forget to post you're video in the community once you've finished. To get you started, you're going to jump to worksheet number three, and you're going to use that storyboard format. Feel free to draw in a squares or grab a few sticky notes, whatever works for you. 10. Best Practices and Conclusion: How did you do? Was it easy? Was it hard? Hopefully you had some fun today with me. I'm really looking forward to seeing the final output for your videos. But before I go, I really want to just share some of my favorite best practices that drive home the point of not really, why storytelling but the importance of storytelling. The first one is to have a goal. To have a goal for what you want the audience to do. But most importantly, what's that one thing you want them to remember either about your story, about your company, about your product. You need to have a goal. Next is to make it relatable. We talked a lot about the audience and understanding who they were and why they need you and where they hangout. When you know that information, it makes it so much easier to create customer centric, thought-provoking, engaging stories, leverage the power of the collective, I cannot say this enough, especially in the beginning. Stories are always stronger if there's group think. Even if you reach out to somebody who's not in your industry, that outside in perspective, can really help you create some strong narratives. Then lastly, practice. Practice, practice, practice. At first, storytelling is a little uncomfortable and I've had people say, "I'm not sure that this is for me, " but the more you do anything the better you get. Just ask Experian. They had an ad campaign where they said, "Everything you're good at now you were once, well, pretty bad at. But you learned and got better." Storytelling is the same. Thank you for joining me today. I cannot wait to see your stories. See you later.