Everybody loves stories –romance stories, action stories, mystery stories, success stories – you name it and someone loves it. Storytelling is a basic thread of human communications. People connect with stories, remember stories, and share them with others. We’re pre-wired for stories. It’s how we communicate.
People make decisions daily. While they use data or facts to back their decisions up, their decisions are usually based upon what they hear from stories. Think about how you make decisions from the restaurants you frequent, products you buy, events you attend, and books that you read. In one way or another all of these decisions are based upon stories, whether they are face-to-face or online.
Ask yourself what is my brand story. You may think that you don’t have a brand story but you do. Your brand story is told by your website, social media, products, and services.
So who should be the chief storyteller of your brand? As Harry Truman, famously said, “the buck stops here.”, meaning that it should be the owner, CEO, or President of the company who conveys the brand story. Successful leaders are game changers. They transform the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, vendors, Wall Street, and the media to act on their strategy, buy the latest product, or provide the latest assessment of their company. Storytelling is essential to achieve this.
So what type of story resonates?
It isn’t a fact-based or data driven story. Analysis is great for determining direction, but when it comes to customers selecting your products or services; employees rallying behind the company; or industry experts citing your leadership, a fact-based story won’t get you there.
People buy on emotion and justify it with facts. People want to know what makes a company different. As much as they want quality priced products and services, they want a brand that they believe shares their values. They want a brand story that inspires and has a vision. They want to know the ‘why’. Not what you do or how you do it, but rather why you do what you do, your reason for being.
So how do you create that brand story?
To create a story that resonates it must align your company’s values, beliefs, and goals with that of your customer. It can’t be self-focused. It isn’t about you or how great your product or service is. People want to know the unique ‘why’. This ‘why’ must satisfy their challenges, needs, and desires. It must be in line with their worldview. It must be designed for a target audience with the realization that one size does not fit all.
If you define your brand story centered around your ‘why’ (values and beliefs) and communicate that with clarity and conviction you will attract the right customers. Once customers buy into and own that story, they will share it with other liked minded friends and colleagues helping your business to grow.