How to write your brand’s story
“Stories constitute the single most powerful weapon in a leader’s arsenal.”
—Dr. Howard Gardner, professor Harvard University
First off – why do you need a story? Well, they are essential, more vital then you might think.
If you have a story this will make you stand out when the others fall away, you stay standing because people don’t buy from people they don’t like and people like people like us, people with stories.
A story not only builds trust but it also makes you authentic, something vital to small start-up companies who want to compete with big faceless companies who can bully there way into the customer’s minds, in fact, this could become your USP.
“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories, you tell.”
– Seth Godin
When I started one of my first building companies, I gave it a name Ardrig because this was the first three letters of mine, my dad’s and my mum’s name and had been the name of our family home growing up but I never explained to any of my customers.
That was a mistake as this kind of thing would have been great for a local small family construction business as that’s often what my target market wanted. The customers we did get came because of word of mouth.
Those who had seen our adverts were often put off by the name as it seemed alien to them – not a local usual sounding name by far. Without any explanation story for the customer to get to know us, they made up their own story, and they would go with someone they felt more familiar.
So how do you write your story?
Most people I speak to don’t feel they have a story or that it’s a boring story that no one wants to hear.
I also didn’t realise I had a story up until recently. The truth is we all do, we are all on a journey, as is every business and founder and to not use it is such a waste of a free marketing tool. Make your customer care.
Every story needs a beginning, middle and end.
So in my example above the story was
A local company, with a name and a culture that has been passed down from the generation before, to us and now to the customer who wants to become part of the story.
We take that name and the family values and all the pride and loyalty and warmth that goes with it and serve you in the local community- Or something like that, but you get my drift.
Watches do this really well, they always have a story that includes a plane or a ship or a car which can take us on a journey but not any journey its a unique journey that you can add to your identity for a limited time only……
Now it’s your turn grab a piece of paper and write down 20 stories about anything you can think about from your first day a school to funny moments to friends to jobs you’ve had, be quick do it in 30 min max and see where you end up.
The point is not to have a full brand story at the end of the exercise but to get the creative ideas flowing.
“We are all storytellers. We all live in a network of stories. There isn’t a stronger connection between people than storytelling.”
–Jimmy Neil Smith, Director of the International Storytelling Center