What’s In A Company Name? Here’s Why Your Backstory Brings Success

The name of a company is often the first element of your brand that a customer will experience. Not only should the company name be memorable but those that are personable, distinctive and authentic can resonate with customers faster.

With a huge 71% of customers being more likely to use a brand name they recognise, establishing and enhancing your reputation is essential. Companies and brands create their names from a variety of inspirations, so their journeys should be celebrated. Let’s look at how sharing your company’s backstory can help boost your success and set you apart from the competition.

What is an origin story?

A company’s origin story typically explains the reason behind how a company was formed and often where its name comes from. This will include details like why the company was created, when it was established, who started it and how it rose from an idea to a fully-fledged brand.

It’s perhaps best to think of your origin story, or backstory, as your brand story that serves as the core value of your company. Your story and values are what will bring people to your company and it’s the identity that will drive you forwards.

A great brand story can instantly improve how your company is perceived, including the quality of your goods or services. However, one thing a good backstory should not be is a blurb about the state of your company. For example, the short blurb on your About Us page is just a summary of what your company is, how many staff you have and where your office is based.

What should you include in a brand story?

If you want people to buy into your company or brand, they must see the real people responsible for it. For example, the British parkour brand, STORROR, has a unique name that originally wasn’t associated with the sport they champion.

With so much intrigue surrounding the name, the company explained the meaning behind its identity; an unusual middle name passed through generations and shared by the founding brothers. Giving a personable account of where the name came from helped endear STORROR’s brand to its customers and build another layer of trust for its seven million YouTube followers.

Companies must set the tone for their brand through their brand backstory, ensuring they are humble and sincere. Be honest about your history, don’t pretend that you had it all figured out when you started, sharing some of your failures makes you more human and shows determination to succeed.

It’s also important when establishing your backstory to write it from the first-person perspective. Writing in third-person might make it seem like you have hired someone to write it for you, which makes it less relatable and personable.

Why should you share your backstory?

Industry is competitive and people or businesses can buy their products and services from all over the world. What can help companies to stand out is a relatable brand story, where your customers buy into your perspective and approach rather than simply buying your product.

Conveying why your company exists and what your approach is helps to build trust with customers and through consistency in your story, you can build loyalty. Sharing your backstory also helps to give potential customers a sense of who you are; after all, no one else has your story.

You can define your mission statement through effective storytelling. Iconic motorcycle brand, Harley-Davidson, outlines its origin story complete with its mission, culture and vision. This scene-setting for the customer evokes how motorcyclists feel and creates an instant connection with the brand.

How to create effective storytelling in business?

Rather than a bulky About Us section of your website, use this page to give your customers and readers an exciting way to discover your brand ethos. Consider adding photos and videos to better describe and enhance your company’s journey and identity. You want people to comprehend the message you are putting out there, so avoid burying it in a huge block of text that most people won’t find engaging.

Work in your compelling backstory throughout your company’s website, blogs and existing or rebranding marketing campaigns. Ensure that your story comes across effectively on social media and engage with those who it resonates with to help build trust in your principles and ethos. That story must be consistent across all mediums and platforms, from your website to your Linked In to your Facebook stories.

Using social media allows you to reach your target audience through interactive means, such as Stories or live videos, where you can deliver insights rather than a sales pitch. You want people to recognise your brand for what you stand for, whether that is a reduced impact on the climate, high-end fashion or using locally-sourced materials.

Where should your company’s backstory come from?

A brand origin story is important to establish a connection between the company and its customers. For that reason, the backstory should ideally be written by the founder.

Perhaps writing isn’t your strong point but it’s important to get your story out there the way you want to tell it. Have someone from within your company interview you to get the important information written down, and they can work out how to make it a compelling story. Ideally, someone from your marketing department will be involved in this to ensure they have a greater understanding of the story and can roll it out across all platforms and mediums.

Some questions to consider:

  • What was the inspiration behind this business?
  • What job(s) have you had? How did that experience prepare you for later?
  • What led you to this industry?
  • What did you have to give up to get here?
  • Where was the first office?
  • Who was your first client or customer? What did you learn from that person or company?
  • What milestones helped shape the business?
  • How did you come up with the name?

For example, Starbucks concisely explains its backstory from how its name was inspired by Moby Dick to the important people responsible for its expansion and love of coffee. You should find a balance between providing important company details and keeping your story concise. Provide details of your journey, your ups and downs and your beliefs but it doesn’t have to be the length of a short novel.

Ensure your story is engaging and interesting, don’t just list dates and accomplishments. Consider a beginning, where you saw a chance to solve a problem, a middle that describes the hurdles you have overcome and an end which is your solution to the problem (your product or service).

About the author: Annie Button is a professional content writer and branding aficionado.

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