Fashion designer Alexander Wang hit the nail on the head when he said, “No one is going to understand your brand better than you.” Here are five ways to tell your brand story.
Why Your Brand Story Matters More than What You Sell
Product features, benefits or pricing might have brought a new customer in the door, but these aren’t the factors that will turn new customers into loyal brand advocates. For that, you need to create emotional connection that makes your customer feel better about themselves because they do business with you. Your products and services alone can’t create this kind of emotional connection; they are commodities since comparable items can be purchased from other sellers.
The Best Brand Stories Fit Customers
“I am not brand conscious; I wear what suits me.” – Suresh Raina
Your brand story, on the other hand, should be full of the elements where customers can see their own background, aspirations, values and personalities reflected, thereby laying the foundation for emotional connection, brand loyalty and advocacy. But are you telling this story?
5 Ways to Tell a Better Brand Story
1. The Inspiration
What inspired you? You probably didn’t start your business just because you wanted to “sell stuff;” and given the countless headaches and no-fun days every business owner faces, you’re in this because something inspired you to start a business because it was needed. Your inspiration could have come from your own need that went unfulfilled in the marketplace or a personal experience that led you to believe you could do something better than the rest.
2. The Goal
What did you first set out to do? Some businesses were born out of entrepreneurial intent, others evolved from hobbies, community involvement, passion projects and other origin points. What was the “ah-ha!” moment that put a vision in place as to how you could make your vision a reality? How did it feel to get from blueprint to business grand opening? What was your first day in business like? How big was your first real sale? Most companies have humble beginnings. When you put your brand story into these types of feelings and small actions, other people can imagine themselves in your shoes.
3. The Conflict
What struggles did you have to overcome to start your business? What challenges have you faced since that time? Everyone has problems! People can be turned off by individuals who act as though they never faced a real challenge, never made mistakes, never faced financial or family catastrophe, etc. The problems you’ve faced, the times you screwed up, the sacrifices you and your loved ones made to make your business a success make your brand story a human story that people can relate to; these are the stories that inspire respect and trust.
4. The Evolution
What have you learned along the way and how has your business changed as a result? Every business evolves over time. Talking about the evolution of your business demonstrates that your company wants to remain relevant and that its concerned about stakeholders, inside and out. These are the stories that show your customers you’re on their side and willing to change to make your business better for everyone (customers, employees, the community, etc.) This part of your brand story also leaves room for talking about how your company has been able to give back; ultimately making a case for why people should prefer your brand to those of competitors.
5. The End Game
How is your business making the world a better place? What you do (your mission) isn’t the end game. The vision you have for how your business makes the world a better place can give customers a reason to feel that – by doing business with you – they are part of something bigger than themselves.
If You’re Not Telling Your Brand Story, Who Is?
If you’re not telling your own brand story in the marketplace, you are taking a big risk. You’re leaving it up to your employees to translate what they know about the mission, vision and history of your company into action, you’re leaving it up to employees to interpret these actions into brand perceptions, you’re leaving it up to the stories competitors may be telling about you and you are taking the chance that online reviews (good and bad) will ultimately define public perception about your company.
You can leverage a multitude of communication channels to tell your brand story – many of which can be used at no-cost or a very low cost. From your company website to email, social media and print materials, leave space for these stories that help customers feel personally connected to your brand.