Identity is defined as a carefully curated narrative

Narrative is story-telling. Whether that story-telling is used to develop an individual’s sense of self or a brand’s identity the role is the same. It provides a set of attributes: 

  • A past history
  • Defining values
  • Direction
  • Meaning
  • A sense of purpose

A person and a brand unite here. Anchored by the commonalities of their journey they each begin to understand the other. The selling process and the purchase decision coincide in the Venn diagram of their shared attributes.

Storytelling, then—fictional or nonfictional, realistic or embellished with dragons—is a way of making sense of the world around us.

Our concept of self is a carefully curated construct


Good storytelling is difficult, just as a real identity is difficult because of something else. In order to successfully tell a story, even an embellished one, we need to first understand how the world works, in detail and in principle; in its tiny, discreet parts and the dynamic that drives them. Our grasp of that has to be so sure that we can then with ease pull out the elements that are key to our own narrative, link that to the narrative that is important to our audience and build a picture whose complexity satisfies its needs regarding how the world works.

Seems like a loop. In a way it is: Without a sense of self and a clearly defined identity there can be no storyteller who tells a story. Without a well-developed, detailed story there can be no means through which to reach an audience. Without an audience there can be no framework in which a particular narrative can unfold. Without the framework there can be no set of acceptable boundaries through which anything can be assessed and its value obtained. Without some sense of value there can be no motivation to do anything. Without motivation there can be no meaning. Without meaning there can be no purpose. Without purpose identity unravels. Without identity there is no storyteller to do the telling and no story to tell.  

I know you get it.

Here’s the point: Narrative forces us to not only understand who we are but also understand others. 

Here’s a classic example:

So. How’s your brand narrative doing?

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