Your Brand has a Story – Tell It!
Spring has finally arrived – welcome to our April issue! Thus far we’ve talked a lot about planning and strategy, but as I continue to cover what I consider to be the essential guiding principles for those who want to market their businesses/organizations effectively, now it’s time to delve into something that’s just as critical to how your brand is perceived: Your Story.
Your business started with an idea, one that will grow and evolve over time, and therefore you should continuously be mindful about defining and developing your brand identity. While the foundation of who you are and what you do is generally straightforward, and should remain that way, what’s more complex is the spectrum of human emotion that’s involved in the choices that we make as consumers and the driving force behind them. Appealing to certain emotions is the goal, but how?
As far back as humans go, storytelling has been a way to bring people together, connect with one another, and make sense of the world around us. Not only does storytelling make your brand more relatable, but it creates a connection between the two of you, and each time you reinforce a bond it grows stronger. Much like the complexity of one’s personality, the things that make each of us unique, telling your story will elevate your brand by defining different facets that appeal to your target audience and draw them in.
By definition, stories or narratives have been shared in every culture as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation and instilling moral values, which aligns with exactly what you should be striving for with the entirety of your campaign. People are at the very center of everything that has to do with your business, no matter what type of business it is, and in order to be successful you as a business owner are in charge of influencing them to act in a way that is mutually beneficial. While you could choose to do this in any number of ways, the least invasive yet most effective route is to familiarize those in your community and beyond with what you’re all about through storytelling, which as history proves, just so happens to be one of the most powerful ways to capture and move an audience.
Storytelling is something that we do naturally – sometimes without even realizing that we’re doing it – so it’s important that your brand’s story is subtle, simple, and not overly contrived while still weaving in details with profound significance. Balance is key. It’s also critical that as you tell your story, you do so with honesty, transparency and integrity. This is the one time I will tell you NOT to think like someone who is trying to drive sales and generate profit. Instead, focus simply on developing human interest. Remember, authenticity is crucial. And so is not being boring. If your brand’s story is lacking substance or isn’t exciting, engaging and compelling—things that are all central to a great story—there’s nothing meaningful for your audience to absorb, retain, and call on when needed.
Furthermore, competition is a reality for the vast majority of businesses, and the ones that succeed are the ones that are less concerned with what others are doing and more focused on building their own brand and setting themselves apart based on their unique characteristics—which is exactly how storytelling serves as one of the critical ways to elevate your brand. Keep in mind that we’re all overloaded with information, constantly bombarded with messages coming from all directions, so your story must be something that someone has the desire to read or learn more about (and building on that, in many cases it can even provide value to the reader!). Likewise, the best part about storytelling for all businesses, but particularly small businesses, is that the sky is the limit. Storytelling is what gives the smaller guys a bigger voice in a noisy world.
Marketing techniques such as crafting your brand identity and telling your story function based upon human perception; we are trying to send a message that gets people to react how we want them to. You can analyze statistics, move with the metrics, and do everything right from a numbers standpoint, but without appealing to the human element and engagement on a personal level, you’ll never get into that sweet spot as a brand that drives action from its ideal customer. In the famous words of David Ogilvy, “The more you tell, the more you sell!”
To learn more about how Strictly Business can help you, contact me directly at (402) 466-3330 or visit www.strictly-business.com/connect.