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The 3 Brand Story Must-Haves for Sustained Impact in 2020

Have you noticed the growing shift towards organic, sustainable and responsible goods?

Consumers are increasingly more conscious of what they buy. And they want to know the brand they are buying from. Now, more than ever before in history, brand stories are scrutinized.

For a brand story to resonate in this era of conscious consumption, it needs three cornerstones (yes, it’s a triangle). We will get into these three brand story must haves shortly.

The parallels  of effective communication and marketing

It’s 4am and I’m sitting quietly on the rug on my bedroom floor. My zafu has me propped up straight. I have earbuds in, and I’m watching a lecture on my phone.

This window is an opportunity to learn, which I am passionate about, before my little boy awakes. The teacher in this course is my new favourite. His unique style has opened a rich new world into a language I have struggled with for years.

In this lecture, where he artfully dissected a single phrase, he sets the stage by introducing the three components to effective communication. While the subject of the lecture isn’t marketing or branding, this introduction connects profoundly for me and what we do at The Sponge.

The three components he covers are:

  1. Content — what you have to share, with an emphasis on real substance as opposed to idol chatter.
  2. Style — how you deliver the content. Personality, emotion, and tone affect how you make the receiver of the content feel.
  3. Audience — who you are sharing the content with. Different audiences require different depths, or variations of content and different styles of delivery.

The examples he shares expand on these nicely.

Beginning with a US politician rambling for 45 minutes about his childhood to run the clock down during a congressional hearing to avoid answering the simple yes or no question he was called in for. Clearly not delivering the right content.

The teacher moves on to the next example. Imagine your favourite meal is cooked for you by a loved one. And after an exhausting day for them the meal lacks salt. Your style of delivering this need for more salt could start with a compliment on flavor and gratitude for effort, followed by a small request for more salt to make the meal exceptional. Or, a blunt emphasis on what is missing, with no recognition of the effort expended for you, and possibly earning you the night on the couch.

He then references the different types of students in his class. There are those who, with a quick instructional word in their ear, immediately get a concept and are off to work. And there are those that need to hear it again, and again, and again, spelled out and with diagrams, before they get it. Different audiences, requiring very different content and styles.  

Correlation to Effective Brand Storytelling

I am nodding along to the examples in agreement. Because effective marketing is effective communication. And these simple concepts correlate to what we do (and teach) in our Impact Brand Story model. Only ours is the three cornerstones for effective brand storytelling. Here’s how they correlate:

  1. Content — Impact
  2. Style — Brand
  3. Audience — Buyers


Understanding each part intimately enables your brand to effectively communicate.

Impact (content) — A relevant, positive impact model infused into your offering

Brand (style) — A well defined brand culture (purpose, values, core story)

Buyers (audience) — A keen understanding of your buyer personas

Here are some examples from my organisation to bring these to life for you. See if they resonate for you.


The Sponge is an organisation where the whole team share a common purpose and core values. These fundamentals of our brand culture have been clearly articulated, refined and ingrained into the way the organisation operates. A unified language has been developed which enables every team member to communicate in our awesome brand personality, tone and style. It helps each of us create a consistently awesome customer experience, from emails to calls, and face to face. This is getting the communication style right.


There are those who need what we have to offer and hold similar values to our organisation. And there is everyone else (who we must resolve not to waste time and resources on, as they don’t connect with our story). Understanding precisely who those are, who align with us, is so powerful. We know what motivates them, what they value, and what is going on for them — at the moment our offering becomes a priority for them. It enables us to work out exactly what needs to be said, and how. We are able to communicate directly, with empathy, not putting them off with generalities, or terms that don’t connect for them. This is knowing your audience.


We’ve been developing our impact model progressively over the past two years. It began as a simple orphan sponsorship because that was dear to my heart. While it’s a great thing to do, and we continue to do it, it isn’t connected to what we do as a business. That’s why we have invested so much energy to continuously shape it.

Our purpose is to help all brands be good for the world. The outcome we seek for all those we help, is that their brand story and marketing is so damn good, that it helps them achieve massive business success. With their impact model baked in, that translates to massive positive impact.

There are many founders who are struggling with their brand story, doing amazing things, but without the budget to engage us. We can’t sit by and let that be the reason they don’t succeed. So we have developed three ways we can help. Our three streams of positive impact.

Teach — Our Monthly Marketing Munchies. A free online workshop where we deconstruct an essential marketing topic in 20 minutes and back it up with a 20 minute Q&A.

Coach — Our Online Impact Brand Story Crafting Program, free to cash strapped impact businesses of all kinds via our Impact Karma Seed.

Do — Brand or marketing projects are expertly handled by our team. While not free, funds are matched via our Double the Goodness Grant up to $10,000.

three impact cherries

These are a work in progress and in the past have only been shared via our blog. We have now formalised them into a new Impact section on our website. There are pages for each stream, and a running impact measurement, which we are updating regularly. We are also looking at ways to map these impact streams to the UN Global SDGs. This is a topic that fascinates us and is an ongoing conversation.

How these streams are relevant

You may be aware that we choose to work with organisations who have a positive social or environmental impact, or the intent to come on that journey with us. And who generate healthy profits. This combination is important as it means sustained positive impact.  

Can you see how these impact streams are related to what we do? And how they align with who we work with?

They make far more sense for our team, and are more aligned to our purpose and values than our orphan sponsorship (which we continue to do). The storytelling of this impact is beginning for us now and only time will tell us what our clients feel about co-creating the impact with us. We are confident they will connect with it, because they connect with us.

Where to start with your impact brand story?

Yes, I said impact brand story. It is the sum total of the three elements. And what will set you apart.

Like navigating any path, you need to start by knowing exactly where you are. Getting your bearings. Then you can map out a course.

We have a tool to help your brand with that. It’s our brand story audit. We review an exhaustive list of elements from your brand against the three criteria we’ve been exploring in this post, plus one more: Design. Because your brand collateral has got to look awesome too! We are a branding agency after all 😉

The Sponge brand story audit

The report we produce includes scores for each item you submit, across each criterion, and an overall score and commentary on how best to improve each item. We prioritize each element and provide an action plan to work through to get you where you need to be. The ultimate goal is a rich, authentic brand story that communicates effectively and consistently throughout all your materials.

We also include an hour long consultation to discuss the report to ensure you have clarity and we answer every question.

Curious about what this would look like for your brand?

Check out the free impact brand story audit worksheet and guide we have produced for you to explore and try doing the audit yourself. Then get in touch and we can take care of it for you.

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Humbling Words From Awesome People

Our brand looks better than we could have dreamed and The Sponge team managed to squeeze so much meaning into it that our prospects really get a sense of how we can help them.
Darren Vardy
Insolvency Options
The Sponge have been outstanding to work with. Their expertise, dedication and outstanding quality of work is second to none. I am grateful for their input into the design of our brand and website.
Matt Malouf
The Fortune Institute
The Sponge truly immersed themselves into our business, our team and our culture to develop a brand that not only captured our essence but more importantly; expressed it to the world.
Mende Seljanovski
Enth° Projects
Love their vision, love their work and mostly love the team!
C. S. Chen
Claytan Australia
Luke and the team at the Sponge are truly artisans of their craft. They're AWARE, they DARE and DELIVER.
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Richardson & Wrench Willoughby
Awesome design. Easy to work with. Jobs are completed quickly. Highly recommended.
Alexander Bont
Great creative proactive company. Could not be happier with the works they both provided and suggested. Now our go to company for branding.
Ross Thompson
JHA Engineers
Awesome company with awesome creativity. After working with them over 2 years, The Sponge has successfully turned me from a happy customer into a raving fan!
Jeremy Chen
Claytan Australia
High level strategic thinking and their creativity makes them stand out. Quick turn around time and reasonable price make them the winner every single time.
Syed Mujtuba
Crescent Wealth
A great vibe and energy brought to every project that The Sponge have led for me. Easy to work with, quick on the uptake of direction and prompt service. Will definitely be using The Sponge again and highly recommend.
Lucette King
NSW Department of Education
The Sponge team are great to work with. They translate your ideas and vision into something real and tangible and they truly want to make an impact to your business strategy with their valuable insights. We have been using them for over 10 years and would highly recommend their expertise.
M Levonian
William, Thyme & Prophet / Report Factory
Luke and the crew at the Sponge helped set up our Corporate image as it stands today. They were extremely helpful and patient. They took the time to understand our business and brainstormed with us some of the essential elements and came up with various images until we were happy with the final one. Can't recommend Luke and his team enough. Thanks again Luke.
Kim Lie Jom
Complete Health Chiropractic
I usually don’t believe in one stop shops, because of the inability to be great across many areas, but The Sponge truly are the one stop shop for brand creation, innovation and lead generation.
Mark Capelin
Tribe Social Fitness
I have had The Sponge involved in several IT based projects over my years working as a Software Developer. Each project has seen results that have exceeded expectations and I highly recommend them.
Shane Wisniewski
Wesfarmers Industrial and Safety
One of Luke’s talents is his ability to move people and organizations from the creative to the innovative, commercializing ideas and inventions.
Rodney Marks
Hoax Speaker
I recommend The Sponge’s services to new and established organizations who are looking to differentiate themselves from the “ordinary” and stand out from the crowd.
Annette Wright
InfoGenesis Pty Limited
The Sponge’s perceptive sensibility guarantees a perfect match between your business and its presentation to the world. They makes your values, ethics, goals, and the 'feel' of your business shine through every aspect of your brand.
Geoff Walker
Sydney Massage Time Pty Ltd
Branding is a familiar concept to comms & marketing professionals like myself. But it’s often a mystery to other staff, and for brand to be authentic, unique and indispensable they all need to be on board. This training helped me clarify branding to everyone in our organisation. Now they’re all part of the brand redevelopment crew, identifying and sharing stories that resonate with our values and purpose. Thanks, Luke, for launching our journey to uncover the brand that ‘comes from within’.
Avril Janks
Communications and Marketing Coordinator
We were in the middle of re-branding and wanted to know how better to market our product including how better to tell our story. This webinar provided practical marketing techniques, and rationale to explain the benefit of this strategy. The 'light bulb' moment for me was making the connection between the power of storytelling and marketing our brand.
Susan Perry
CEO CommunityGro
The Sponge is enabling small business to focus on essential elements of marketing/strategy. I used to go in circles and best guess engagement with customers; I didn’t understand my target market. The Sponge gave me a real wake-up call: To realise how much time and money I was throwing away for no return. The learning was interesting and interactive. Now, I feel in control and focused.
Sue Lea
Timely Business Solutions

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