An Origin Story - Why You Need It And How To Craft It

An Origin Story - Why You Need It And How To Craft It

Keegan Sentner & Niomi Griffin

 / 

Mar 5, 2024

#BrighterFuture #Sustainability #BrandStorytelling #EcoFriendly #BrighterFutureBlogs #SustainableBranding #EnvironmentalAdvocacy #StorytellingMatters #JoinTheMission

Keegan Sentner & Niomi Griffin

The Power of An Authentic Origin Story

In 2007, roommates Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia were living out of a small apartment in San Francisco, when they were struck with a humble - yet transformational idea, which would later blossom into a billion dollar venture. 

An industrial design conference had filled every hotel in town, leaving many attendees stranded without accommodation. Seizing this opportunity, Chesky and Gebbia introduced an innovative solution: they offered an air mattress in their living space, coining their venture AirBed & Breakfast. 

Initially met with scepticism — with some even claiming it was "the stupidest idea" they had ever heard — the co-founders persevered, driven by a strong belief in their concept. They knew it had the potential to be something huge - they just had to convince the right people to see the possibilities they saw. 

Chesky's pivotal moment came when sharing their origin story with investors, recounting the journey from a makeshift bed-and-breakfast to selling novelty cereal boxes to keep the company afloat. 

Their story is a powerful narrative, full of trials and tribulations. It showcased the resilience of the founders, built emotional connections and captivated investors. 

What is an Origin Story?

An origin story is more than just a carefully constructed narrative; it's the heart and soul of your organisation's identity and communication. It inspires a deeper understanding of what your brand is all about.

Just as we can see with Airbnb, an origin story establishes a meaningful connection, revealing the genuine passion and perseverance behind your organisation. Frequently, this is the first story shared with audiences, investors, and employees - meaning it’s the first line of communication between your brand and the public. 

By sharing where and why your journey began, an origin story cultivates lasting relationships and sets the stage for all future interactions, products, and fundraising efforts. It sets the tone and provides a solid, emotive foundation for your organisation's internal and external communications, and is essential for engaging your audience on a personal level. 

How to Craft an Origin Story

Every organisation has a unique beginning - a story that sets it apart and defines its path. 

Crafting an origin story is about more than recounting events; it's about capturing the essence of your organisation's inception, the challenges overcome, and the vision that propelled you forward. The journey might be fraught with obstacles, but these moments of struggle and resilience are what make your story relatable and inspiring.

As origin stories can be a little messy, it can be difficult to craft one with finesse - that’s why workshopping and internal discussions are essential. Take Airbnb as a case study: we see a narrative focused on significant milestones — turning a living room into a makeshift bed-and-breakfast, innovative fundraising, and crucial investor meetings. Yet, it's the stories of perseverance, the behind-the-scenes hardships, that truly shape their narrative. 

Your organisation's story should similarly navigate through the peaks and valleys of your journey, making your audience root for your success and feel a part of your brand. The audience needs to believe in your idea, feel aligned with your work, and want you to succeed, personalising and strengthening their connection with your company. 

Here are some steps on crafting your origin story: 

  1. Start by pinpointing pivotal moments that define your brand. 
  2. Reflect on the initial spark, the setbacks, the moments of uncertainty, and the breakthroughs. How did these experiences shape your brand's purpose and values? 
  3. Narrate your story with honesty and passion, ensuring it resonates with and captivates your audience. 
  4. Aim for a narrative that is engaging, yet succinct enough to hold attention and spark curiosity about your brand's future.

Remember, an authentic origin story is not just about where you've been. It invites your audience, investors, and employees to join you on a voyage of continuous growth. 

At Brighter Future, we categorise origin stories into two distinct types, each reflecting different facets of an organisation's identity and journey. The choice depends on the narrative you wish to convey. For a deeper understanding of how each type can uniquely represent your organisation, delve into our blog post, which outlines the distinct characteristics and impacts of each storytelling approach.

Planet-Driven Origin Stories

In the context of planet-driven organisations, in an age where ecological awareness is paramount, your origin story should highlight the experiences that fueled your company to address certain environmental issues, how they sparked your efforts to take action, and why these issues need to be addressed. 

Your origin story should vividly recount the moments that catalysed your mission — be it a specific event or a long-standing concern for the planet's health. It's about sharing the spark that ignited your journey towards ecological conservation, sustainable practices, or climate advocacy - and igniting that spark in others. 

Conclude your origin story with a message of hope; it should feel like the prologue of a really good movie: Here’s how our heroes got to this moment; here’s what they went through. Now, are you ready for what’s to come? The goal is to have the audience on the edge of their seat, excited to learn more about your organisation, and ready to take this journey with you. 

If you want to know more about crafting your origin story, sign up for a consultation below.

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