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Origin stories for brand builders 📚
The importance of origin story to accelerate growth
First time here? I’m Amanda, and this is Creative Growth Memo, a newsletter that pulls back the curtain on how startups can use creative to drive growth through real-world case studies, playbooks, interviews, and reviews. If you like what you read here, you can: book a 1:1 call with me, find me on Twitter, or follow me on LinkedIn.
📓 Origin stories are tools
What is an origin story?
What does your origin story signify?
How intertwined should a founder’s story be with the brand story?
How can you tell it in under 10 minutes?
A brand origin story is a simple narrative describing how your company started. Many people talk about the importance of story, but it’s easier said than done. Here are the tools that help me. 👇
Storytelling is an art, which at it’s core is about making people feel something. Pixar director Pete Docter puts it this way.
“What you’re trying to do, when you tell a story, is to write about an event in your life that made you feel some particular way. And what you’re trying to do, when you tell a story, is to get the audience to have that same feeling.”
Use your origin story to help people feel something in order to make people do something.
⚒️ The Brand Tool
Origin story. A simple narrative describing how your company started.
Origin stories are particular important for startups because startups have no brand equity. Your 👏 story 👏 is👏 all 👏 you 👏 have. It could be the differentiator that helps you:
Get a meeting with an important investor
Land a talented first hire
Attract friendly media coverage
Your story matters, and it can be an incredible accelerant for growth.
Listen to these founders talking about their startups. They make you feel the pain of the problem in entertaining ways (ZocDoc - “It felt like Mike Tyson bit off my ear”). They establish their credibility (Patreon’s founder, a musician, understood creator needs well). They paint a picture of the new world (you can find a practitioner who accepts your insurance and book an appointment 24 hours a day):
You can feel the potential, right?
Steps to identify your origin story
Here’s some baby steps to take to identify your origin story:
🧰 How to use it
⛏️ Mine for insights in your story. Open a notes app & answer the questions using the prompts below. These are your notes & fodder for your story.
🎨 Get creative. Timebox yourself & write a rough story draft. Here’s a set of tools I use to prompt storytelling when I need a bit of help.
🚗 Road test it. In conversations with friends, investors, customers - you’ll notice what it lands.
🎤 Real talk / Pitfalls to avoid
A story is a story. It doesn’t need to be exhaustive. It needs to be memorable. It should be entertaining. It should be honest. The biggest mistakes I see founders making with origin stories are:
Extreme modesty. Being afraid to use their story.
Overly technical. Assuming everyone will understand the business as well as they do.
Watered down. Not articulating a bold enough vision or calling out problems in the industry (this is why we use creative tools to dial up the drama of your story!)
Until next week,
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