Once upon a time, when you were a little girl, you likely loved to be read stories and look at all the pretty pictures. Perhaps as a grown girl you still do, even though you read your own books, see stories unfold before your eyes in movies and TV, mobile and more. Stories have been around since the dawn of time and the beginning of business which coincide roughly around the same time. It’s just that in the past few years telling “story” has become the marketing buzz as emotional connection becomes the sales imperative. Emotional connection comes from stories and people want to do business with people who, just like the characters in stories and real life; they like and relate to.
So do you need a story? Is it anything more than a narcissistic “look at me?” A lot more. Your business is showing and telling a story about whether you tell one or not. You are showing a story of who you are with the details and care put into packaging your product or service. Your story shows in everything from how you serve customers to your graphics to whether or not you get interest from the press and are considered by your bank or investors. You are telling stories and people are telling stories about you. So why not be proactive and tell the story you want to tell? Make it memorable, simple and delightful. Sound easy? Well not so much but when you get it right, it can be the bedrock that saves you precious time, money and enthusiasm to keep you going. Bottom line – it shows up this will shows up in your bottom line.
Speaking of bottoms, do you know the under garment company, Spanx? There’s a good and completely memorable story that founder, Sara Blakely, puts on every garment women buy (there are now Spanx for men, too). She lets you know that she didn’t want to look fat. She didn’t like the panty-line look. And that desire wrapped in great products and story have earned Spanx a $150 million dollar company.
So what should go into a brand story? Here’s are six things I would be looking to show and tell:
(l) What your product or service is and what it does. Can you clearly articulate what you offer?
(2) What your purpose is in creating what you offer. What’s in your heart about why this is what you do? Why will that matter to us?
(3) What’s your history? Was your business founded last week? Twenty years ago? Is there an inspiring story of how you got began?
(4) What are any special necessary qualifications for doing the service work you do? Do you have the track record of dollar success or degrees or publications, awards your customers would want to feel they are in good hands?
(5) What’s your personality? Business is about people connecting with personalities. Show and tell us who you are! (the relevant parts)
Your story should be short and sweet. If you are not a writer who understands story and branding, hire a professional to help you. Whether you are just getting started or have had your business for twenty years and are adding a new chapter. Story is your critical, most effective marketing tool available. What story are you telling?