From a psychological perspective, stories are a fundamental way in which the brain organises information - in a practical and memorable manner.
In other words, we are conditioned to process stories in a natural way that promotional marketing does not achieve. We know when we are being sold to and increasingly that puts us off as consumers or buyers of services. Unless, of course, it is a brand that you already love and then you are completely open to the pitch.
Well crafted brand stories have a number of benefits, such as triggering emotions within us that relate to our own experiences, so that we feel a connection with the brand; and where we have genuine empathy for the brand story and directly relate to the message. It is easy to accept IKEA's 'wonderful everyday' brand story as we can all respond to the simplicity and relevance of the message.
When you are telling your brand story then you need to be clear on what you want to achieve from the reader. This could be simply raising the profile of your brand; trying to develop an opportunity; or seeking to build a relationship. Think of them as a person that you are talking to rather than some abstract group of prospects. Having an objective of this sort helps to focus the content and you can tailor the story to suit your audience and the perceptions you wish to create or possibly change.
As with most other parts of your branding a key aspect is consistency. Avoid the temptation to develop a wide range of stories around your brand or to try different approaches to test responses. You need to ensure that your brand story consistently delivers your strategy, attitude, personality and tone of voice. The best brands emanate out from a clearly defined strategy.