Your brand story touches off a story in the mind of your audience that involves them and sets you apart as the only one they’ll trust to solve their problem. But if that’s true, why are so many stories lacking empathy, focus, values and seriousness? Today, we’ll talk about these things as well as 4 areas your brand story will come up big.
Too many people are caught by surprise without any kind of brand story. Ask them what they do, and they give you a weird and confusing story about what they do with almost no indication of why they do it.
We wrote a post that goes over the creation of a brand story. But before you get started, let’s talk about why you’d want it and how you’ll use it.
What’s a Brand Story?
Great brand stories do actual, real work. They give your hearer focus. If you can do that, you can take them down a path. And if your path makes sense, you might even use that valuable attention you got (read: earned) from them to offer your solution.
A brand story, like any story, needs tension. So usually there’s some kind of problem that exists for your customer or client. The story needs characters and those characters have to make sense to the hearer. And it needs a solution that involves you.
Two Ways Your Brand Story Helps You
This is how you create consistency in the communication of your brand throughout your organization.
Deliver with Confidence
People who lack confidence fail to impress. But it’s really a matter of trust than anything else. Because if you fail to impress, people may still like you. They may even feel sorry for you. But since everyone’s dealing with their own issues, when they need someone to help, they’re looking for someone strong, reliable, focused and dependable.
Your brand story, if delivered confidently, shows others they can trust you. It impresses them with the commitment you show toward good values and a real, actual plan to help others, not because you’re out for cash, but because it’s a way you can make money and help people based on your values.
The funny thing is, when you’re the kind of leader, in the kind of brand, whose values reside not in the opinions of others, but in the fact that you live according to your values, it at the same time doesn’t matter as much what they think, and, on the other hand, makes them more inclined to trust you. This opens the door for more opportunities for you to serve others.
Not because you need them, but because you live out a commitment to help.
Spur Interesting Conversations
Your clarity of goal — your ability to know what you do, how you do it, and how it helps others — captures the imaginations of other people, sometimes even reminding them of why they first started their business.
After all, most people don’t go into business thinking “this is gonna suck, but at least I’ll make some money.” Usually, you have some pretty cool visions of what’s possible. But then you get busy. And work starts to become transactional — a little more about getting the work done and getting paid than about feeling satisfied with your work.
But your brand story feels deeper, because it is. Your brand story is bursting with your “why,” even when you don’t directly talk about your values.
And when people think you’re talking about their problem, and you really understand their problem, it shows that you get it. It also shows that it matters to you. And while lots of people can claim they care, when your concern is anchored in your deeply held values, then you become a real, viable solution to their problems. At that point, who else will they trust as much as they trust you?
When to Use Your Brand Story
There are a few things you do in business that provide amazing leverage. They’re things with low investment, but extremely high long-term value. Your brand story is one of them. Here are a few ways your brand story pays off in the long run.
1) Pitching a Product
So you have a product. What makes your funders believe that this is the product and that you’re the one to do it? Because you sorta have to prove both, don’t you?
They’re not going to fund it if it doesn’t work. And they’re not going to fund it if you’re not committed.
There’s value in you doing this. They can’t just buy the idea. They need to know that the one who’s excited about it — the one who thought of it — can also lead the effort.
So whether you’re a manager trying to pitch an initiative or an inventor trying to pitch a product, they want to know there’s a problem the product will solve, and they want to know there’s a person behind it with a desire to fix the problem for people that’s embedded in their values.
2) Speaking at an Event
Few things are more impressive than a speaker who knows where he or she is going at the beginning of a speech. Do you have a brand story that you can open with? One that you’re proud of? One that convinces your audience, right off the bat, that you’re not going to waste their time.
“Hi, I’m Ron. My company, Smile Co, started when we realized the emotional toll middle school takes on our kids, resulting in depression, sometimes leading to suicide. We help kids dream and grow a plan for their future, reducing depression and setting kids on a path toward growth and fulfillment…”
When you’re clear about your mission, you know the problem you’re solving, and you’re clear on your “why,” people know exactly what you’re about. Those who aren’t interested in that kind of thing will tune out. But those who are interested will be all ears.
3) Social Gatherings
Few things are more impressive than a person who knows what he/she is about. So many people aren’t sure what to say to other people at networking events or social gatherings. Even at church on Sunday. How you speak about yourself and your company tells them a lot about you.
What do you care about? How does your mind work? Are you in it for the right reasons?
Unfortunately, when people hear you introduce yourself, they think you mean every word you say. And if you’re unprepared and disorganized, they think you keep a disorganized mind. How much more in a business context.
Your brief and focused brand story will show your well-ordered mind and commitment to values-based service (problems you solve) wherever you go.
4) Website, Collateral, and Other Marketing Material
Because your brand story contains all the parts of your brand promise — the problem, why it’s a problem, your audience (for whom it’s a problem) and the solution — it can and should be used in all of your communication.
And if you run a content strategy, it can inform your first three-to-six months’ worth of content, as you talk about the different aspects of the customer’s problem, the different effects that can have on them, and the different pitfalls they fall into in looking for solutions.
A brand story continues to reward your marketing long after the initial time investment.
Your Brand Story Makes You the Only One
Even in a crowded market, your brand story makes you the clear leader, especially when everyone else is content to remain a commodity, refusing to differentiate themselves and plant a flag in the ground.
Your brand story spearheads all messaging and lets people know, in no uncertain terms, the problem you solve and why. And when they’re constantly hearing you talk about the same thing over and over again, it becomes difficult for them to ignore that you’re probably the foremost expert, the most committed and the most qualified to solve the problem. And for that reason, you become irreplaceable in their minds.
Download the worksheet and get yourself and your team on the same script.