I love storytelling.
It’s a consuming passion for me. After all, the main focus of my company, Explainify, is to help brands tell great stories through animated video.
The great thing about business storytelling is that it’s about more than just the numbers. It can also lead to better conversions, more sales, and increased brand equity. But storytelling goes deeper than that. It goes beyond individual marketing campaigns and digital ads to the beating heart of your business.
The problem for most business owners and entrepreneurs is that they haven’t had a chance to step back, look at their whole company, and figure out just what their story is.
But since that’s what gets people to sit up and take notice of your brand, It’s 100% worth the time it takes.
So what makes a great brand story? And how do you start telling yours? There are three aspects of storytelling you need to consider:
1. Know thyself
Socrates didn’t know it at the time, but he’d stumbled on the first step to telling your brand story.You have to know what your company is all about.
I’m not just talking about what makes you money. It’s great that you create software, design logos, or brew beer, but it’s not just enough to talk about what you do, you have to know why you’re doing it. What is your business’ mission in the world? What drove you to the marketplace in the first place?
Take Patagonia, for example. These guys make incredible outdoor goods and clothing. But that’s not what drives them. What drives them is encouraging people to embrace adventure, and finding ways to turn the clothing industry upside down, make their production more sustainable, and ultimately save the planet.
That’s a damn good story. And that is who they are.
So when you start to define your story, you’ve absolutely got to start with defining your mission and motivation. After that, everything else starts to fall into place.
2. Know thy audience
Once you’ve started to figure out who you are, you need to get a better grasp on your audience.
This may sound like a no-brainer, but I’ve found that a lot of business owners have a tendency to think in terms of their ideal audience — who they want their potential clients to be.
There’s only one problem: Sometimes your ideal audience and your actual audience don’t match up. Maybe you’d rather be a big hit with trendy young adults, but you’re actually seeing more success with middle-aged moms. Guess what? You need to tell a story that matters to the people who are listening.
Knowing who you’re talking to allows you to target your message to the right people and from there build meaningful connections. Your customer’s story is your story.
3. Build a bridge
Now that you know what you’re trying to say and who you’re saying it to, you can actually tell your story!
A great brand story sits at the intersection of who you are and what your audience craves. The key is to keep these forces in balance. Telling a story with too much you and not enough of your audience makes you irrelevant, while chasing the whims of your audience without any sense of purpose makes you wishy-washy. You don’t want that, and neither do your customers.
Your story should be the place where your audience sees what they want to be in what you’re doing. When that happens, they will line up to get on board.
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