Characters In Branding (Who’s The Hero?)

This post is part 3 in a series of posts for people trying to breathe life into their brands and tell their story with authenticity and clarity.

Part 1 uncovers two steps you can take to discover your brand story.

And Part 2 takes you on a journey as we break down Mary’s story (an organizational coach), and then weaved it into her business.

Go check those out so that you can follow the information in this post.

Today, you’ll find out who the characters are in your brand story. And how to make them captivating.

Breaking Down Your Brand Characters One-By-One

So often, we hear about heroes and villains when it comes to building a memorable brand story.

But, if you’re not comfortable being a hero or aren’t the competitive type, then that’s a bit of a turn-off. 

It is for me! The idea of throwing rocks at entrepreneurs I know are working their butts off makes me sick! And even though I’d like to be a hero, I’m not really comfortable in those shoes!

So today, I want to break down the characters in a different way. One that is better for business AND also feels better for heart-centered, creative brands! 

If you aren’t a fan of being the hero and want to avoid the drama of “villains,” stick around. This post is for you!

Let’s jump in and talk about the three character-types you need to think about when creating your brand story.

The 3 Main Characters For Your Brand Story

  1. The Protagonist

Think Harry Potter, Iron Man, or Froto.

In Mary’s case, it’s a mom who is overwhelmed and both needs and wants order in her home.

Some people might use the term “hero”. But you can stick with protagonist or have some by using words like “seeker” “hot shot” or “queen of tidy” – as long as it’s something you and your clients resonate with.

2. The Supporting Character(s)

For our purposes, I’m going to break these down into three categories: 

  1. Wise Guide – Professor Dumbledore, Gandalf The Grey, or Professor John Keeting (in Dead Poets Society) 
  2. Confidant – Samwise (Sam Gamgee in the Hobbit) 
  3. Sidekick – Hermione and Ron (in Harry Potter)

In Mary’s case, it’s an a-type mom who is excellent at helping other moms make life less chaotic. 

I would call her a Wise Guide because she’s been there before. 

3. The Antagonist

These are characters that highlight the personality and values of the main character. OR, get in their way. 

I break this down into three categories:

  • Villain – Jaws, The Terminator, The Joker, Voldemort (but also Bellatrix Lestrange and the rest of his Posse).
  • Rival/Mini “Bad Guy” – Draco Malfoy (in Harry Potter)
  • Foil (aka Polar Opposites) – Captain Spock

Mary had “Mini-Bad Guys” – the organizational coaches that didn’t know how to help a-type moms.

If her story went another way, the antagonist could have been “Opposites” – people who think moms should stop caring about being neat and tidy.

Did you notice that you are not the center of the story?

If you’re an introvert or hate the spotlight, like me, this will be a relief for you!

It’s not that you can’t be on the same adventure with them – like Hermione and Ron, or Sam Gamgee.

Most personal brands are, which is why we relate to our clients so profoundly. 

BUT… You’re not the main Character in THEIR story. Your job is to give them the tools or support they need to achieve their goals.

How do the characters in your story break down?

Start with this: 

  1. Protagonist: Your ideal client.
  2. Supporting Character: You.
  3. Antagonist/Foil: Those who do things differently or go against your values.

You, the Supporting Character (wise guide, confidant, or sidekick) will have the life and tactical experience to relate to your ideal client (the Protagonist) and give them what they need. Something that their Antagonist (Foil, Rival/Mini Bad Guy or Foil) have not been able to do – at least not like you can do it.

What Now?

Are you struggling to decide?

If you’re struggling to decide, go read the two earlier posts in this series.

  • Part 1 uncovers two steps you can take to discover your brand story.
  • And Part 2 takes you on a journey as we break down Mary’s story (and organizational coach), and it’s weaved into everything she does.

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About the author

Susanna has been helping small brands and businesses get more value out of the web since 2008. She has worked in the areas of content creation (blog, social media), copywriting (funnels, websites, email), design (social media, website, digital), and conversion optimization (FB ads, Google ads, Youtube Ads, SEO). Her motto is to Out-think, Out-create, and Out-convert. NOT, Out-spend!