Why do you do what you do? Or why does your business do what it does? If you don’t know you need to figure it out. The “why” is very often one of the most important things consumers will look for when choosing brands. In many cases this has become a subconscious part of their decision making.
Some businesses exist for the most basic of reasons; those behind the brand have specific skills that they’re willing to offer in exchange for profit. However, you have to look deeper than this.
What’s the reason these skills were developed? It’s unlikely it was a random set of coincidences. Maybe you were trained by someone you loved or respected, a lifelong ambition or talent being recognised from a young age.
Very often when you get under the skin most people want to change the world in some way, shape or form. It doesn’t have to be ground-breaking, just simply helping visitors gain new experiences is enough to change their lives.
Could you be driven by a grand vision? One that you hope one day will change your industry, your area or your community from the ground up, helping those who work in your business and those who support it?
Identifying your purpose is a large part of pinpointing your why.
Why is that important?
A brand’s story is equally as important as the product or service you provide. Purpose is often the driving force behind a brand’s story. When communicated effectively, this purpose can resonate with customers in ways that skyrocket the business to higher levels of success than they ever dreamed.
For a brand or business to truly take advantage of this and put these techniques into practice; first you need to identify your purpose. Then you can utilise storytelling to make this purpose synonymous with your brand. Finding your ‘why’ is about where you’re from, but it’s also about where you’re going.
Identify your brand mission statement
Your brand mission statement is a declaration to the world. It’s more than just a slogan or a description of who you are. It needs to be something that states what you stand for and what you bring to the table – more importantly, it’s what makes you unique even in a crowded marketplace.
In a nutshell, your mission statement should help you to explain in a single sentence or short paragraph what the culture, values and ethics of your business are.
Identify your brand values
Every brand stands for something, but some may not fully understand what. That’s ok, now is the time to consider this.
Your brand values are going to be a set of guiding principles that shape all aspects of your business. Think of them as the very core or the soul of the brand. They will ultimately dictate your brand message, identity and personality.
Without a set of brand values in place, it can be very hard to pin down how your brand story will develop.
Why is storytelling vital for your business
A brand narrative used to be something only a small percentage of businesses made an effort to cultivate. Regardless of whether they know it or not, all businesses have a story to tell.
For some companies the story is immediately obvious whilst for others there’s a bit of digging to be done.
Brands and businesses who have had a clear vision from the beginning find it much easier to roll out storytelling throughout their marketing. In many cases it has already helped to mould their very identity.
By spending time on weaving your story into your brand identity and your marketing or using it to create a brand identity will give you something to focus on that allows you to stand out from your competitors.
This story makes it easier for you to show how you differentiate yourself from the offerings around you. It helps you to stand out and be noticed in a sea of choice allowing the consumer to make emotional decisions based on how they have connected with you and how your brand resonated with them.
How to cultivate your own brand story
After you have figured out your “why” you need to ask yourself “what is my story?” All businesses started somewhere with an idea or a vision – what is yours?
If someone made a movie about your business how would it play out? Can you imagine the movie trailer guy giving the synopsis. It’s a strange exercise but creating a movie trailer script for your business can often force you to think differently about what is worthy of your story and what isn’t.
Think about whether or not you want to highlight the challenges the business has overcome (or you have personally). Do you have a unique connection to the land that sets your business apart from others?
Whatever your story is, make sure you talk to people outside of your inner circle. It’s easy to take your story for granted and make assumptions that people won’t be interested in something that is as normal as breathing for you.
When crafting the story think about how you can appeal to all the senses:
- What will they feel
- What will they see
- What will they hear
- What will they smell
- What will they taste
Think about how you can connect the heart of your customer to the soul of your brand.
Then ask yourself, what element of the business is the story you are crafting about? For example:
- The production
- The people
- The past
- The region
- The product
- Where is your brand going?
- What has it overcome?
- What does it stand for?
- Is there a backstory?
Creating your brand story isn’t just about the end user. Remember you want to be able to communicate your story to other people who you can work with in partnership.
Try to ensure your brand story is memorable, give it legs of its own and let it grow with you and the business.
By Tina Calder, Excalibur Press
Tina Calder is a journalist and publicist of 25 years and the founder of Excalibur Press, a publicity management, content creation and copywriting agency in Belfast specialising in brand storytelling throughout all aspects of marketing and communications.