Just like people, brands have stories. Behind every company or organization is a driving narrative. If you are the owner of a company, it’s highly likely that your brand’s story intertwines very closely with you personal one. When engaging online, it’s very important that you are able to articulate this story to your audience in a clear and compelling way. It’s not just something you should do because it’s trendy or may get you more sales- it’s imperative to making sure your brand is coherent, authentic and makes sense to your potential customers.
But it can be hard to see the forest for the trees, right? You are busy running the day-to-day, making sure your customers and clients are happy, your team is taken care of, and your revenue is heading up and to the right. So how do you dive into your own brand story, understand it, and present it to your audience in a way that connects them to your brand on an emotional level?
The following tips will help you on this journey.
1) Take some time to do a little soul-searching.
Sit down with a pen and paper, and jot down some thoughts. What was going through your mind when you began the company? What was going on in your life at the time? What were you passionate about, what were you angry about, and what did you want to change? What did you see in the world that was missing, or what did you see as a need? Where and when did your organization enter the landscape? What did it mean to you?
2) Define your “why”.
This is the most important exercise you can undertake as a founder or business owner. There may be several factors that led you to start the company, but you must identify the primary “why” behind the organization. Why is this the one thing you chose to do? What is driving you to continue growing this organization? How do you see the company impacting your customers and the world? Getting clear on this one important question might be difficult, but it is worth it.
3) Define your “who”.
Take time to understand your customer, and how your brand narrative will sound to them. Not just the old demographic study- think deeper. What does your customer need? What is driving them crazy right now? Why do they want to engage with you online, or consider purchasing your product or service? Where will your story find them in their life? What needs will your organization meet? Think about the more subconscious inclinations of your customer, and become very aware of who they are, what they want, and how you can help them.
4) Phone a friend.
For me personally, it is often easier to have someone from the outside look in on my company and make observations, than it is to see them myself. When you are so close to something, and so invested in it, overlooking important aspects can be common. Hire a coach, consultant, find a mentor, ask a trsuted friend or advisor. Be sure they have your best insterest in mind. Ask them specific questions- what is their impression of your company? What is the story they are getting from you about it? Where do they see gaps in your message, or potential improvements?
5) Tell it slant.
“Tell all the truth but tell it slant”. According to Emily Dickinson, this is the way to tell a good story. This doesn’t mean to turn it sideways, as much as it does to tell it in a way that is interesting, engaging, and unique. You might not be the only one in your industry, or have a very dramatic founding event, but you have your story, and when you recognize the beauty in that, you can begin to tell it slant to your audience. Focus on what makes your company stand out, how you are different, and what sets you apart. Own your narrative, tap into the emotions of your audience, and you will reap the benefits.