Nowadays, to succeed as a business, there’s one resource that’s more important than the rest of them. That’s connection to your consumers. If you can build that, you can build a loyal base of customers that will stick with you for years. Part of making that connection is being a storyteller. Below, we’re going to look at how you find and tell the story of your business. How you keep it going and what it can do for you.
Know what you want
The first ingredient of a great brand story is finding out what exactly it is that you want. The values of your business. It could be a focus on artisanal quality. It could be striving for more eco-friendly methods. It could just be delivering a service in an easier method to already existing competitors. Find the key attributes of your business and make them the core of your brand strategy. Your look and how you use mediums like your website are a lot better when they’re informed by real motivations. The average consumer is going to ignore the vast majority of marketing messages. Being genuine is what puts you in the lucky minority.
Know your audience
An important of telling your story is knowing who you’re going to tell it to. You need to better identify your audience. This means doing a bit of fact finding. Things like surveys and just talking to your customers will help. But so will research. For example, if they’re following you on social media, follow them right back. Collate data to see if you can identify needs and values you can fit into your story. Knowing your audience means that you’re able to much better find a shared language. For example, a company with a market of teenagers is going to have different storytelling needs from a company that markets to mothers.
Know what you can offer them
When you’re done looking at your audience, take a more introspective look, as well. What is it that your business can offer them in particular? Your motivations and what’s unique about your services don’t always mean the same thing. If your product has a clear and concise use, like clothing, then think more of the lifestyle it fits. Brands like Hollister use an (entirely made up) origin story to create a surf-shop aesthetic that quickly gave them a powerful brand. You want to be a bit more genuine in your story than that, but it’s a good example of expressing what your company can offer people. They won’t care about your story for too long if it doesn’t involve a benefit to them in some way. Whether it’s directly for their benefit or for shared values.
To have a successful story, you have to not look the same and deliver the same thing as your competitors. If you can’t stand out, then your audience will assume that you’re just another faceless organization. This can require a bit more fact-finding. Take a closer look at how other businesses market. How they deliver their services. Their branding visuals. Not just your competitors, but others that share the market as well. It’s good to take the time to learn what they’re doing right and doing wrong. It’s more important, however, to identify how you differ from them and use that as a key point in your brand identity and story.
Develop a persona
Being genuine with your story and developing a persona aren’t contradictory terms. A persona is a carefully crafted manner of speaking and writing that you use to give the brand personality. It can easily be your own personal voice, but it should echo across the whole business’s communication. Do a ‘character study’ of your business. Use the points you’ve identified above. What does your character want? Who are they talking to? What makes them sympathetic, heroic or admirable? The persona based marketing strategy is a cut above data based marketing. It applies everything you’ve learned and adds a human element to it. It makes it feel like there’s actually someone talking to you, not just a marketing suit throwing out catch-all slogans.
Tell it on multiple channels
You have your persona. You have your values and what you can offer. You know your audience. Those are the key aspects of finding your story. So, how do you tell it? In just about every way you can. Your website should tell it in as concise a form as possible. Blogs can give more detailed accounts of how far along your business is in its story and objectives. A marketing video can condense that down to a much less demanding timeframe for your customers. Good storytelling demands repetition. So use as many effective channels as you can. Just make sure they’re the channels that are likely to be seen by your customers. You don’t want to waste your budget where you won’t have an audience.
Keep it going
Perhaps the most important part of a story is identifying what it is not. It is not just a blog post. It’s not a multi-paragraph diatribe. It’s not a slogan. It’s an ongoing process. It’s finding a narrative that gives a frame of work to every development in your business. It’s organic in its origins but also contrived in how you fit it. It’s also not entirely your own story. It demands audience participation. This means using word-of-mouth. This might mean hosting events, online or offline, to get customers taking part. Or hosting testimonials from them to fit them into your story. The story has to keep going and it has to remain consistent. Without consistency, you’ll lose the trust of your audience.
The story of a business is the most effective way to not only communicate with your customers but to get them invested. Once you have them on an emotional level, they can develop the kind of brand loyalty that your competitors will be jealous of. So don’t rush it, tell your story organically and reap the rewards later.