Domino's
Domino’s Pizza: 30 minutes or lessmiskan / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Imagine this: It’s pizza night with the kids. Everyone’s hungry and ready to eat NOW. Without even thinking, you dial the number for Domino’s. Why? Because you know you’ll get your pizza in 30 minutes or less, that’s why!

This is the power of brand story at work.

There may be half a dozen other pizza places near your home. And they all deliver. On the surface, there’s nothing particularly unique about Domino’s. But what is unique is how they’ve built a brand story around “30 minutes or less.” The result is that they have a stronger connection with their customers. Which is why you picked up the phone and called Domino’s – and not the other guys – when you needed pizza fast.

So how do you put this power to work for you? How do you create your own brand story?

It all comes down to asking yourself the right questions.

1. HOW did you get started?

Sometimes the tale of your origin is just … romantic. In the case of technology giant Apple, Steve Jobs started out assembling the company’s first computers in his garage. Mega coffee retailer Starbucks began as just one little coffee shop on a street corner in Seattle. These humble beginnings put the companies’ immense successes into concrete terms people can relate to. Can you use your company’s beginnings to tell a story about where you are now?

2. WHAT do you do deliberately?

Don’t worry about being different. Worry about being deliberate. And then own it. Remember the Domino’s story at the start of this post? Plenty of pizza companies offer fast delivery. But Dominos owns “30 minutes or less.” What can you own? What is your “30 minutes or less” story?

3. WHY do you do what you do?

Have you ever watched the TV show “Shark Tank”? On the show, entrepreneurs pitch their company ideas to a panel of self-made millionaires, hoping to secure a capital investment. Each of these entrepreneurs loves to explain the “light bulb moment” that provided the inspiration for creating their company. Their passion is palpable. Why does your company exist? What is your palpable passion?

4. WHERE are you going?

Facebook isn’t just a website; it is transforming the way people connect and interact. McDonald’s isn’t just a restaurant; it is transforming the way we eat. Whole Foods isn’t just a grocery store; it is transforming the way we think about food. Goals like these can tell powerful stories. So tell us, where is your company going? What is your end goal?

Keep in mind, you don’t have to answer all four questions to develop your own brand story. One (or more than one) of these questions will resonate with you; simply run with it. This is your story, so be creative with how it develops. Let your imagination soar.

Truth be told, developing brand stories is one of my favorite aspects of marketing. If you’ve neglected your brand story so far, why not get started now? Put some inspiring music on your Apple iPod, grab a cup of Starbucks coffee, and take a look at these four questions we’ve described.

I can’t wait to hear your story.