Brand Culture Storytelling Framework


Whether you want to compel customers, engage employees, or recruit top talent, our brand culture storytelling framework will help you cultivate a meaningful brand and a company culture that resonates.

What's a brand culture story?

Brand Culture Story = Alignment x Purpose

Your brand culture story aligns your internal and external brand around a shared purpose.

Keep in mind, this isn't just a story you manufacture about your culture. It's being what you say you are, it's embodying your brand culture day in and day out. 

Your brand culture story compels your customers not just to buy, but to believe. It engages your employees not just to show up, but to thrive. It recruits top talent not to just apply, but to join.

The following three-part framework will get to the heart of your brand culture story...

Rule of Three

Start by thinking in threes. For centuries, the human brain has been wired to think in threes.

1, 2, 3. Beginning, middle, and end. Ready, set, go. Know, like, trust. Gold, silver, bronze. The three little pigs. Trilogies. The rule of thirds in photography. You get the gist. We like threes because we like patterns, and it takes three things to form a pattern.

So how can you apply the rule of three to your brand culture story?

Storytelling in Three

Aristotle's Rhetoric on the art of persuasion breaks a pitch down to three key pillars: ethos, pathos, and logos. 

Inspired by this concept, we've come up with our own framework on how to apply ethos, pathos, and logos to your brand culture story.

No. 1: Ethos

Ethos is persuasion by cultivating trust. The goal is to demonstrate that you, the founders and leadership team, are trustworthy. Typically, it's best to start with ethos as a strategy for establishing trust early on.

Here’s how to apply ethos to your brand culture story:

Branding - consistently embody your brand culture through both words and action. Train yourself, and your team, to communicate your culture more effectively. Carefully select the words you use. Be intentional about your tone of voice in all communications, external and internal. Express your brand culture in what you wear, your design choices, and in every single touchpoint.

Credentials - convey your leadership competence. Highlight your background, experience, and qualifications within the industry. Communicate your knowledge through subject matter expertise and thought leadership. Include your education, certifications, awards, and accolades. Mention affiliations with top-tier experts, partners, clients etc.

Social Proof - demonstrate that other people trust you. Secure genuine and positive client testimonials, expert endorsements, recommendations, and referrals. Showcase media logos, press features, influencer placements, along with ratings and reviews.

      No. 2: Pathos

      Pathos is persuasion by evoking a visceral, emotional connection. Oftentimes, pathos comprises a majority of a story since it's the most likely to catalyze action.

      Here’s how to apply pathos to your brand culture story:

      Core Values - identify your core values. They typically encompass your guiding principles, deeply held beliefs, motivations, hopes, dreams, and perspectives on the world. Once you get clear on your core values, lead with them. Those who share your values will be drawn to you, your story, and your brand.

      Stories - share your purpose, vision, and personal experience. Use powerful anecdotes, metaphors, analogies, and examples. The key is to evoke emotion, positive or negative. For example, if your story elicits intrigue, you'll trigger dopamine, and capture attention. Add empathy, you'll prompt oxytocin, and foster a bond. Infuse humor, you'll activate endorphins, and spark the imagination.

      Experiences - integrate your brand culture through tangible experiences. Leverage multimedia content like images, audio, and video. Create a sensory experience through space design, visualization techniques, detailed descriptions, and tactile sensations like infusing tastes and smells.

      Because we live in an attention economy, pathos is increasingly vital. To cut through the noise, you must evoke emotional connection, give someone goosebumps, make them smile, or tear up.

        No 3: Logos

        Logos is persuasion by appealing to rational reasoning. Typically, logos comes after pathos since it's more effective to introduce logic once your audience is already emotionally invested. The goal to confirm what your audience feels is true with evidence. 

        Here’s how to apply logos to your brand culture story:

        Facts & Figures - provide evidence, numbers, analytics, statistics, research, case studies, charts, or graphs to support your argument. One caveat, be careful to not overwhelm or bore your audience with too much data.

        Organization - format your story in a simple to understand, easy-to-follow order. The left side of the brain appreciates simplicity, predictability, and certainty.

        Universal Truths - ground an argument in reality, share common worldviews and beliefs to prove your points are valid and true. 

          When analyzing the top TED talks, you'll find that story takes up most of the presentation. In fact, top talks tend to consist of 10% ethos, 65% pathos, and 25% logos.

          Now it's time to leverage ethos, pathos, and logos to cultivate your brand culture story. I want to hear how you applied this framework, shoot me a note here. Or, if you’d like to work together, learn more here.

          Oh, and if you'd like to nerd out with me on all things brand strategy, communications, and public relations subscribe to the newsletter below.

          Look forward to connecting!

          Dara Elliott | Publicist, Brand Strategist, FounderDara Elliott | Publicist, Brand Strategist, Founder 

          Dara Elliott

          Brand Strategy, Communications + PR Consultant