At Highway 85, we understand the importance of the story to your brand, that story is more than the essence of design, more than a marketing message. Your story is your brand’s guiding principles, your sales pitch, it’s who you are and what you stand for. When a customer ask, “Why should I buy from you?” your story is the answer.


The Power of a Story

Human beings have been telling stories throughout history. Before written language, early people told their stories through cave paintings and oral storytelling. It’s a truly primitive need, to tell and hear stories.

The idea of telling a brand story feels a bit like the latest marketing buzzword, just another ploy to move more products, sign more clients, or generate more clicks. In reality, science backs up the power of stories.

It sounds incredible, but when people hear stories, their brains respond in amazing ways. Simply put, stories power up the sensory and motor cortexes in your brain. Here’s the incredible part: the brain of the person reading the story lights up in the same areas as the brain of the person telling the story. Even better? It isn’t only the language centers lighting up. For example, if you read a story about running, the part of your brain that controls your motor functions lights up, even though you’re only reading about running. Researchers at Princeton call this phenomenon neural coupling.

What does this mean for your brand?


Stories Build Trust

When you connect with your audience this way, you create a sense of trust. And, the more simple your brand’s story, the better. You aren’t writing a novel, after all, you’re telling customers (and potential customers) who you are and why they should care.

Your brand’s story tells the audience why you exist. (Hint: the answer isn’t just to make money.) It tells the audience that you relate to them, understand them, and are just like them. You state a problem, demonstrate your solution, and then brag (in a non-braggy way, unless that’s part of your story) about your success. North Face does it through focusing on life’s adventures, TOMS shoes began when the founder wanted to provide shoes for people without them, GoPro as a way to share meaningful experiences with people you care about. These companies, and loads more, created stories that differentiate them from a sea of competitors.


Reinforcing Your Story through Design

Design reinforces your story, creating a consistent note across all platforms – your website, displays, promotional materials, trade show booths, even your office décor. It all combines to tell a single, cohesive story that supports and promotes your brand.

Highway 85 takes a unique approach to interpret your story in a physical, tangible way, trying to visualize your brand through its story.


The Elements of Your Design

It all starts with your color palette. Incorporate these colors throughout your design, from your logo to your brochures to your retail space and all points in between. Creating this consistency is how you build and reinforce trust with your audience. Of course, the other elements of your design also support and tell your story, from the typography you choose to the images selected for your website. Every piece works together to represent your brand.


You Have to Know Your Audience

No single story appeals to everyone. Even though the Harry Potter series is one of the most popular of all time, some people enjoyed neither the books nor the movies. The same will be true of your story, and that’s actually a good thing.

With your story, you create a universe, a club of followers and believers in your brand. These people will follow you, connect with you, and share your story. What’s more, the more people hear your story, the more they trust it.

Your design works for you here, as well. With consistent design, your audience recognizes you no matter where they see you, and they remember your story – and your brand.