Does your company have an origin story? First things first, let’s define origin story.

Comic book fans will know an origin story is the background information we need to understand how a hero or villain came to be. It is used in other forms of media to explain the back-story to a particular character or situation.

In business, an origin story refers to how a company came to be. Who was the dreamer? What was the process? The idea? The accident? How did that company become that company?

As consumers, we know the origin story for more companies than we might think. We might know that Google started as a research project by two Stanford PhD students. We might know that Fedex began as a Yale student’s economics paper for an overnight delivery service. We might know that Under Armour began when a former University of Maryland football player created his own sweat-resistant synthetic fabric. We might know that Apple started in Steve Jobs’ garage.

A good origin story becomes a part of the larger brand. It gives fans and customers a sense of who the company is, and why it exists.

Does your company use an origin story as part of your marketing?

While not every company will have a cool or noteworthy origin story, the idea of an origin story is still one that should be considered. It can focus on the…

  • WHO. Who is your founder? Why is she/he important? How will consumers connect with their story?
  • WHY. What was the problem you aimed to solve? How was it that this need impacted the lives of the founders?
  • HOW. Under what conditions was the company forged? What obstacles were overcome to bring this product or service to market?

Origin stories will take on a life of their own. Chances are there are myths out there about companies that are not entirely true. But the point here is that the truth does not always matter when it comes to building a brand.

People associate with a brand that tells a story – and one that they can connect with. So what is your story? How did it start?