When everything is stripped back, branding is really all about telling your story. Every business and organization has a unique story to tell, and it’s likely one you’re quite proud of. Your story is about your company, obviously, but it’s also about your products and your services and how they impact the people who use them.
Your story is what connects you to clients – it makes you memorable, differentiates you, breathes life into your brand, and incites a response from your target market. It can even be the starting point for a new relationship.
Think about some of the recent interactions you’ve had – what stands out? Maybe you spoke with someone at a dinner party about a shared hobby. Or you saw an advertisement or a recent interview that made you want to learn more. These moments likely stuck with you because there was a connection to the story being told.
It’s important to remember that we all have a story. Maybe you started your company during a recession and survived to tell about it, or your team includes a fourth generation owner, or your services helped change the trajectory of someone’s life, or there’s one thing you do better than anyone else.
The art of branding is discovering the uniqueness of your story and then learning how to tell it in a way that engages your audience and creates a memorable experience.
Discover your Story
Knowing the story of your business and being able to communicate what makes it unique are two completely different things. As you go through the day to day activities of your business, it’s hard to take the time to recount what makes you unique; it may even be difficult to communicate.
So, here are a few questions we ask our clients to help discover (and begin communicating) their story:
- What was the idea or the discovered need that started your company?
- If you could solve one problem through your products or services, what would it be?
- What does your company do better than anyone else?
- How do your services impact and benefit your clients?
- What is it that wakes you up in the morning excited to do what you do?
- What’s the one thing you’d like to hear someone say about your company after an interaction?
The questions above address two areas – why you do what you do and how those efforts affect your clients. In our minds, these are the two most important aspects of your story, and it’s here that you will connect with people. These two areas are also intertwined – loving what you do should be directly connected to how that serves a need for your clients. We should all seek to offer services and products that impact the lives of our clients.
For just a second, imagine your brand as a real-life person. That exercise may seem odd, but it’s what your audience is doing. Whether you realize it or not, they are determining if your company is someone they trust and want to spend time and resources with. They can sense how exciting, engaged, and relevant your brand is. This is what’s known as your brand energy.
Here’s a good question to ask: Would someone want to hang out with your brand?
Don’t Be Shy…Share your Story
After you know your story, it’s time to start telling it. It’s ok, don’t be shy…
When telling your story, you want to find the perfect balance of sharing about your company and about how your services or products can impact the business or consumer.
Everyone resonates with a well-told story and inviting a potential client into your space encourages a relationship, which is the most important component to your interaction. So, now that you’ve identified your story it’s time to share it, and there are several great ways to do that.
- Social Media – this is one of the best spaces to share your story and breathe life into your brand – tell it with pictures, quotes, testimonials, and examples of how your work is impacting the lives of your clients.
- Website – the Home page and the About page are two of the highest viewed pages on most websites, so take the time to really craft your message and present it well. Depending on your industry, the majority of visitors to your website are leads, so you want to make a great first impression, and a story can do that.
- Print – after you tell someone your story, it’s also helpful to leave them with your story, and this is where print is useful. Whether that’s a simple rack card or a multi-page booklet, displaying your story in print is a great way to stay on the mind of the people you interact with.
- eNewsletter – whether monthly or quarterly, an eNewsletter is an opportunity to highlight specific areas of your story in more depth – offer detail about one of your services or products, an upcoming event that you’re passionate about, or a spotlight on a client.
Your One Goal
As you seek to identify and tell your story, above all, be relational. Relationships are the vehicle for all of life’s endeavors, including your business interactions – we believe you should crave and cultivate them.