Do your prospects, customers or clients really want (or need) to read another item of sales material?
Of course not. Every good company, brand or person of mention has a story. A fable of the trials and tribulations it took to get where they are.
Stories are powerful because for thousands of years we have wanted to be entertained. We used to tell these stories around the campfire. Now the TV and the internet is the campfire for most of us. Each night 100’s of stories are told, some real and some imagined.
How to create a great brand story.
Why Do We Choose to Buy?
Before we start creating this story let’s explore why people choose to buy what you have or utilize your service. No one really knows although many experts agree that emotion plays a large part in these decisions. We think purchases are logical but time and time again it’s proven we buy on emotion. This is one of the powers of the story, stories allow emotion to be expressed. Stories also kick start the emotions leading towards a purchase.
Stories feel real, not packaged sales material. When you tell a story you can make points in a subtle ways. Emotionally connecting with your prospect, client, or customer that would not be possible with your typical sales jargon.
When I first started writing this post I asked how should I start? One thing I know is I hate going to a website that gives advice but fails to follow their own advice. Below is a story on how You Brand, Inc. came to be.
I take apart the story below and give you some tips on creating your own branded storyline. Click here to to right to that part.
Why Was Dan Held Hostage to Internet Gurus?
Dan looked worried. It’s was December and it was cold out. I was having coffee with Dan a very prominent real estate broker in my local area. We had just finished the small talk about the family and how business was going and that’s when Dan confessed.
He was being held hostage and the ransom was high. I could see it in Dan’s face. I asked him what was wrong. Dan went on to explain how he finally had made the jump into bringing himself and his agents online and in social media. It wasn’t all roses, after thousands of dollars, headaches, website outages he had enough.
He was at his breaking point because the firm he hired blamed him for everything. It was his fault, he didn’t understand, worse yet it was going to cost even more money to fix all this.
That was the last straw.
That’s when we went through his Rolodex and called me. Dan had met me through a mutual contact a few years ago. He remembered I was a search engine expert or something like that. He didn’t quite know what I did but he knew me enough to ask for help.
Dan wasn’t the first person I heard this story from. In fact it was starting to be a trend. It was that day when You Brand, Inc. really came about.
Sitting in that coffee shop with a yellow legal pad helping Dan create his step by step plan on how to market online. How he and his team could engage social media and how it all would all make sense. How what he did in real estate is much more complicated than crafting a strategic and tactical online marketing plan.
This changed my life and my business. Not only was I able to help a friend out but I gained insight from someone very smart whom I respected. I was able to learn the secret of what makes You Brand, Inc. successful today. Taking the technical side of marketing yourself, your business, or what you do and making it all make sense. Every day I drive by that coffee shop I think of Dan.
This is the story of You Brand, Inc.
General Tips on Crafting Your Story
First, stories have to be true. This is a rule that can’t be broken.
But how do you find them? This story is one of many I could tell about how You Brand, Inc. has become the company it is today. I know it is the same in your business. You just have to think back to the time you solved that issue for your client, prospect, or customer. Then tell it in an entertaining way while keeping in mind the points I mention below.
The key to a story is the emotional connection, the pictures you see in your mind, the message you get form hearing or reading it.
But what if instead of a story we used standard promotional copy?
- You can trust us
- Frustrated with your web marketing company?
- Simple solutions to web marketing.
- Web marketing made easy.
- We make your our number one customer.
Blah, blah, blah. While that above is great service and goals to obtain, it’s doesn’t capture the emotion. It’s sales copy, you see this a 1,000 times a day. So much that you just tune it out. Stories break through all that.
Here Are Some Elements I Put into Our Story
People that I work with tend to be frustrated with web marketing. Many of them have paid someone tons of money already with no success. Needless to say they are at their wits end and simply don’t trust anyone in this realm anymore. I know this so I reinforce this feeling.
My story essentially says you are not alone. This also helps for people who are trying to learn themselves but simply are missing how it all fits together. They feel frustrated as well.
Who did the character (Dan) of the story call? Me, the only local web expert he knew that he could trust. On a subtle level the intent here is… if this guy Dan can trust him so can I.
We ended with a solution. I sat down with Dan, not with some fancy software or tool, no a yellow legal pad. This reinforces my point that online marketing is not difficult, once you know the strategy and tactics. What you do is more technical in your business than marketing online.
How to Craft a Good Brand Story
A good story has a good structure with beginning, middle, and an end.
In the beginning you introduce characters and obstacles they face. In the middle you share how characters deal with obstacles. The end you describe the resolution.
In our brand story example we introduce Dan and how he is frustrated by a bad experience trying to market and take his business online (the beginning). Dan deals with this by calling me (the middle). The resolution is Dan and I sit down and map out step by step how this get’s accomplished (the end).
It Must Have a Plot
Your story has to have a plot. Otherwise it’s not a story. It has been said there are 7 standard story lines (I like to think there are more) that you should recognize:
- Rags to riches
- The quest
- Voyage and return
- The hero as a monster
- Fish out of water
- Boy meets girl
Draw influence from these plot lines. My story contains elements of Rebirth.
Other Keys to a Good Brand Story
Why should the reader or audience care? Ask yourself why your customer or client should care? Why is this story relevant to them or their life. What does it tell them about your company, what you do, or offer? Does the story fit into what they value?
Have a single message or moral. Simple is better. What is my simple message above? Web marketing is not hard. But I go a little farther actually by including in the story that web marketing is not hard when working with me. Look, I’m not just telling a story because we are around that mythical campfire, no my story has a purpose.
Just as your story should have a purpose. Most likely the purpose is to get more clients, prospects, or customers. You have to find a way to work you or what you do in the moral or message of your story.
One more point, your story changes as you or your company evolves. Your story should resonate with your target market, so if that market changes so should your story.
Have anything to add or did you like this post? Comment below, I respond quickly and answer any questions you may have.