Most business owners, founders and leaders typically think that their product or service or what they do is their greatest marketing asset. What if I told you that your greatest marketing asset is actually your story?
When crafted well, your brand story is a powerful marketing asset. While your competitors can copy your products or services, no one can copy, steal or claim your story from you. Your story is uniquely yours and what differentiates you from competitors and what can propel your success.
Your story has the potential to emotionally resonate and connect with your customers. It has the power to attract customers to you, unlike a lot of the marketing we see today which intrusive and interruptive and is pushing people away.
However, most businesses haven’t leveraged on this one key marketing asset they actually own! They are losing out on a huge opportunity to build their brand and forge a bond with their customers.
Read on to find out why you need to tell your brand story and you'll also get a simple yet highly effective process to craft your yours.
First, let’s see why stories matter.
As human beings, we resonate with and gravitate to stories. We have grown up listening to stories. We remember our childhood stories told to us at bedtime by our parents and grandparents.
Every time we talk to people, we share stories. Stories form a big chunk of our day-to-day conversations. When we travel or rather when we used to travel pre-Covid days, we came back from our trips with stories to share. Stories are what really makes us human.
Most of the greatest brands we know and buy from, all have a great story behind them. You may not be aware of it, but you are buying into the brand story rather than the product or service they offer. Apple, Nike, Google, Rolex, Go-Pro, Bose, Hai Di Lao, Uniqlo, Moleskine, Dr. Martens, Kiehls, Harley Davidson, SpaceX to name a few, all have great brand stories that communicate what they believe in, what they stand for and how they fulfil a deep aspirational need for their customers.
Their brand stories are what truly differentiates them from competitors and plays an integral part of their phenomenal success.
The most powerful and compelling story you can tell is the founding story of your business. Your customers connect with your brand via the story of your journey, and they see themselves reflected in it. This founder story typically lives on your website ‘Story’ or ‘About Us’ page and is the one you will consistently tell in your marketing or PR initiatives.
A good brand story is compelling and memorable narrative and an authentic account of why the business exists and what it fulfils in customers lives. When you buy from a brand that has a great story, you have something to share and talk about as well. You have not just bought from this brand but also bought ‘into’ the brand and its philosophy. In essence, you have become a part of that brand story.
Someone who buys an Apple product has bought into Steve Job’s philosophy which is “people with passion can change the world.” They have a sense of being part of that brand, part of the Apple community. They are more than just customers, they are now brand ambassadors, proudly showcasing the brand’s logo wherever they go. This is the true power of a having a compelling brand story.
Now lets look at how to craft a captivating founder story. We will draw from traditional storytelling and the storytelling medium we all love; Movies.
Here is the five-step business storytelling process that you can effectively use to craft your brand story:
Step one: The Setup
We need to provide the background and context for the story. This is where the foundation is laid. The market scenario, the time, where this is taking place and the character/s involved (ideally reflecting your target customer.)
Step 2: The Problem
This is where you highlight the problem you are looking to solve. This is the customer pain point and the premise for starting the business. Every business needs to solve a critical problem for their customers, or else why should anyone care about you? The reason they buy from you is to help solve their problem.
Step 3: The Conflict
Here is where you talk about why that problem hasn’t been solved so far. If it was easy to solve, a solution would have been found a while ago. Talk about the challenges in solving this complex problem and previous failed attempts if any. This nicely tees up your solution and adds some drama to your story.
Step 4: The Breakthrough Solution
The aha or eureka moment you had where you realized you can help solve this problem. This is where you talk about your ‘silver bullet’ solution. Highlight key features of your product, what it achieves for your customers and why it’s different from anything else out there.
Step 5: The Life After
It’s time to end your business story on a super high. Here is where you talk about the big picture and what you are looking to achieve with your business solution. Speak about the WHY and purpose of your business. The transformation you are looking to achieve in your customers. The change you seek to bring to their lives and how you are making a difference in the world. This is the emotional high point of your brand story.
Now that you have this process, go on and start writing your brand story. You won’t perhaps get it right the first time, however, keep at it. Keep refining it, add your tone of voice and be ruthless with your editing. Keep massaging the content till it flows, feels and sounds right.
You have crafted your most powerful marketing asset and ready to share this with the world.
To your transformation and success.
About the author
Ashok Miranda is a Business Transformation Architect and founder of Transform and Transcend, based in Singapore. He is the author of the book Culling Cuturitis: How To Rid Your Company Of This Toxic Disease and Build a Winning Company Culture.
Ashok is a much sought-after consultant, professional speaker and trainer and has helped businesses (startups, SME's and MNC's) reach their full potential and rise to greatness.
He has helped transform the mindset of thousands of businesses professionals across the region.
Ashok is driven by his passion and purpose to architect a better business world. He is on a mission to help companies be massively successful in these turbulent times by building winning company cultures that foster happy and engaged employees. Building strong and emotionally resonant customer-centric brands and designing transformative customer experiences that create ultra-loyal customers and true brand fans.