Is Your Brand Story Worth a Listen?
As human beings, we’re primed to tell and listen to stories. From childhood through adulthood, we are drawn to the lessons we learn, the exciting journeys we embark upon, the knowledge we gain and the opportunity to unleash our imaginations. Stories celebrate our culture. They make life interesting and give people a way to connect. People crave them, which creates a big opportunity for brand storytelling.
However, storytelling, as it applies to business, isn’t about spinning a yarn or fairy tale. Rather, it’s about how your products or services exist in the world. Every brand has a story, but many never realize or tell them in an engaging way. A compelling brand narrative is something people relate to, believe in and enjoy. Your mission, vision and values are just one part of your brand story. This bigger story is what connects your brand to your customer and makes it relevant to their lives. A great brand story is authentic and creative. It enables you to connect emotionally and personally with your customer and inspires action – you want to take your audience on a journey with your brand.
“Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after having an experience with you becomes your trademark.”
So how do brands break through and stand out from the crowd? How can you effectively tell your story to enhance your brand? Some quick tips to get you started.
Define your voice. It’s not just what you say… it’s how you say it. Your voice should be distinctive and recognizable, and express your brand’s personality and values. First, you need to know who you’re talking to. This will help to tailor your messaging. Analyze the language people use about your brand online or in communications to you – identify commonly used words or phrases. Aim to make your brand’s voice consistent with that tone.
What’s in it for them? How does your brand add value? The goal here is not to be company-centric. Make the customer or client the focus of your story, because they’re the reason you do what you do. Using inclusive words like “us” and “we” will immediately connect your customer to your brand. Always keep your ear to the ground and listen closely to what your customers are saying about your brand. Identify and connect with your brand ambassadors on social media and use those real-world and real time testimonials to strengthen your story, and connect with your audience.
Be the solution. How do you turn your client’s most critical challenges into successes? What does your customer need that, by using your product or service, will make their lives better? Illustrate this with solution-based content through white papers and case studies; use specific examples of how your product or service has solved real problems. Using video clips, quotes, and comments from your customers and clients will lend credibility to your product or service.
Communicate your USP. What sets your brand apart from the competition? Talk about why your product or service is unmatched in the market and what makes this important to your core audience. What’s you unique selling proposition? Be truthful, be authentic and more importantly, you’ve got to own it!
Build influence as a thought leader. Great thought leaders have mastered the art of sharing and putting their message and brand out there. A good way to offer advice and tips is to actively share them on social-media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube. You can also add value by bringing the thought leadership of others to your own customers: show your audience how you’re using cutting-edge research in your products, or demonstrate how new findings or ideas are relevant to them. The more valuable content you publish, the more you’ll establish your brand as an authority in your field.
Remember! Being able to succinctly articulate a compelling story around your brand, how it came in to being, what its all about, why it matters to your primary customers and where it’s heading into the future is crucial to your success. Stories connect people and your brand story is what gives it meaning and solidity, helps define its values, shapes its destiny and captures your customer’s imaginations, thereby attracting and engaging their ongoing interest.
Posted by Irene Gomez, CIO, CorpMedia.