Building an audience with your story.
Every day, people are inundated with advertisements from a range of different sources. This has led to most of these messages being filtered out as well as making it more difficult for businesses that may not have a massive advertising budget to catch people’s attention.
In today’s market, we are witnessing a massive shift in what consumers expect from brands. It’s no longer enough to simply have a great product or service, consumers today demand to know exactly *who* they are doing business with. They still want great products and services, but now they also want to be assured that they are dealing with companies that align with their personal values. People are increasingly choosing brands that appear to be altruistic, and that they have an emotional, values-based connection with.
But how is this emotional connection cultivated?
Through great brand stories.
What does telling a great story do for your brand?
Stories are a vital tool for building your brand’s image. Telling a powerful story can be an incredibly effective way to connect with the emotions of your audience, to get attention, to be ‘top of mind’, and to stimulate activity both online and offline. But how do you craft your brand story?
First, take your audience right back to the inception of your business, whether that be an experience that sparked your business idea or the moment you decided to ‘take the leap’. Delve deep into that ‘why?’. Perhaps it was to create a solution to a common problem or a way to improve people’s lives. This helps to establish a connection with your customers as they may relate to the problem you exist to solve. It also demonstrates how your background has led to the current values of your business - adding a layer of depth and credibility to your brand.
Regardless of how established your business is, your brand story should be focused on who you are, what factors led you to start your business and the values that you live by.
Ask yourself these questions:
What’s your backstory?
What drives you?
What is your purpose?
What are your values?
How are you different to everyone else?
What problems do you exist to solve?
After compiling your answers, it's important to make sure that your story does two things: connects with your customer’s emotions and demonstrates authenticity.
A strong brand story discusses emotions and experiences many people can relate to. It’s important to remember that people don’t connect with products and services, but rather with how those products and services make them feel. More often than not, this connection is created through the stories we choose to tell our audience and the type of stories we share.
Now, let’s talk about authenticity. It’s a word bandied around a helluvalot these days, and we hate to overuse it, but sometimes it’s just the only word for it. The truth of the matter is, consumers can sense inauthenticity in an instant and are suspicious of brands that are appear to be in business just to ‘sell to them’. Your brand story should engage your audience by speaking about your values, where your business is coming from and where it hopes to go. Take your audience along for the ride with you and keep them in the loop as your brand grows and evolves. Let your audience come on the journey and share in the ups and downs with them.
So now that you’ve created your greatest story yet, what do you do now?
Once you’re clear on your brand story, then you can start to share it with your audience. Where you choose to share your story is totally dependent on your market, your product or service and your audience, but we’d recommend sharing it as often and in as many places as you are comfortable with.
This could be in the ‘Bio’ section of your website, on your social media channels, in your marketing collateral, your advertising messages and your blogs. Really, any communication between your business and the ‘outside world’ is an opportunity to share your story.
In a world where marketing as we know it no longer works, a powerful story is now the main connection point between you and your audience. It delves deep into the roots of your business and should trigger emotions, whether positive or negative, that leads to ‘why’ you do what you do and how you’re different from (and better than) the other players in your industry.
This story should showcase your brand values and personality and should raise the standards of what a business relationship is for your clients. It should serve as a Mission for you and your business and act as a guide for how you make decisions...
Your story should be the first step in providing real value for your clients and generating a relationship between you and them that lasts.