The first asset that Patrick Hanlon identifies in Primal Branding is the origin story.
This tells where the group, product, or person comes from and indicates where it is going. It provides context. It provides something for people to connect to.
Often, a creation story invokes a quest or a vision for the future. For example, Nike’s founding story involves trying to create the perfect running shoe. Starbucks’ founding story is about serving the perfect cup of coffee. MoveOn’s tells of trying to get the country to move on from the attempts to impeach Clinton and get on with the business of the country.
Creation stories also often involve overcoming adversity. FedEx’s founder going on to start the company after his marketing prof. laughed at him. A free South Africa emerging despite the oppression of the Afrikaner minority.
Storytelling guru Andy Goodman recommends that every nonprofit have a bank of stories at hand, one of which is the creation story, and I’ve found it useful to be able to tell ICPJ’s creation story to explain our origins in bringing people together from different faiths and backgrounds to work for peace.
(For more of my thoughts on primal branding, visit the table of contexts post)