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Spring Clean Your Brand Part 4: 5 Steps to Building a Brand Story That Sells

We're a modern society in desperate need of connection - an inevitable consequence of our increasingly virtual world. Many of the things we buy, the people we talk to and the content we consume are entirely removed from face-to-face interaction. This technology surge is not only taking over our personal lives via social media and texting, it’s also dictating how we make purchasing decisions, how we build brand loyalty and how we interpret market value. Companies on the rise in the digital realm undoubtably have stellar business models, great leadership talent, awesome operational systems and many other internal components that culminate to create success...but what’s driving the forward motion of their sales from the consumer’s perspective? What do they have that other companies offering the same products or services don’t? The answer may surprise you in it’s simplicity:

They’ve learned how to tell a compelling brand story.

In the internet era, where we expect things to be impersonal, story has become a powerful vehicle for connection, a prerequisite for engagement and a foundation for trust.

If you’re unclear on the story your brand is telling, here are some quick tips to help you focus your message and tap into the connectivity-starvation plaguing the digital frontier.


1) Build From Your "Big Why"

Your “big why” is what fuels you to do what you do. It’s the reason you spend long hours chipping away at the mountain of success, it’s the force that propels you forward even when you have a historically bad month, it’s the emotion behind the action. Imagine your company as a big, burly, badass oak tree; if the branches represent your client relationships (WHO you connect with), and the trunk represents the vehicle for those relationships (HOW you connect with those people), then the roots represent the purpose for those relationships (WHY you connect with those people). Each subsequent piece of the system gains its strength and direction from the roots, making your "big why" a heck of a lot more important than the lower-level things you’ve likely been focusing on. To help you define your big why, you can use a simple exercise of self-examination:

First, ask yourself the question: “Why do I do what I do?” {An example answer for myself and my own business might be: “Because I enjoy sharing beautiful words and visuals with people and want to make a living using my true talents".}

Now ask: “Why is that important?” {My answer to this might be: “Because I think words and art have an immense power to connect people and I want financial and creative independence in my life”} which you’ll ask, “And why is that important?” see where this is going.

Try to go at least 5 - 7 levels deep in this line of questioning. When you’ve hit the number mark {or a point where you can’t imagine a deeper answer}, you’ll have an incredibly clear picture of the WHY behind your business.

Pro-tip: Try this exercise with a friend if self-examination isn’t producing the desired results, sometimes the added presence of another person to verbally give your answers to can bring up new ideas or thoughts you may not come up with on your own.

2) Define Your Brand Personality

Your brand personality lives at the intersection of your authentic self and your ideal customer. While shaping your brand voice and image around what will attract your ideal customer is a super swell business practice, it will absolutely fall short if it’s not genuine to who you really are. Luckily, most people enjoy working with like-minded individuals so it’s likely your ideal client will be someone who thinks and acts...sort of like you. ;) {No need to be ashamed, it’s human nature to be drawn to the familiar.} To create a clear picture of your brand personality, try imagining your brand as an actual person and write out a list of adjectives that brand/person embodies. Once you’ve done that, connect those adjectives to greater personality archetypes, like this:

The archetypes with the most adjective associations should be the #1 focus of your messaging.

3) Follow a Simple Plot Line

While long-winded tall tales around the bonfire are FANTASTIC for bonding with friends and family on your annual camping trip, they're a sure fire way to drive people away from your company. When it comes to your brand story, it’s essential to keep it as simple as possible. Your story should follow the very simple plot point of: The Vision (a picture of the identity or lifestyle your consumer wants to have), The Problem (what’s holding them back from this vision), The Solution (how your product or service helps them achieve this vision), The Success (how you’ve helped others achieve this vision). To get a more in-depth look at the psychology behind this framework, check out this video or pick up a copy of Donald Miller’s book, “Building a Story Brand” here.

4) Use Transformational Motivation

Transformational motivation refers to the process of taking someone on a mental journey from “lack” to “abundance”, “failure” to “success”, “struggle” to “ease”, or any other number of negative to positive examples. Your brand story’s momentum depends on how intimately you link your product/service to the personality or lifestyle goal your client wants to achieve. For transformational motivation to work, your brand story must:

1) Provide a clear plan for getting from point A to point B

2) Position you as an authority

3) Give an inspiring vision of an improved life {after they work with you or buy from you}

If your brand story isn’t touching on how you improve people’s lives, you’re likely missing out on a whole heap of business.

5) Back Your Story With Real People

If you’ve followed tips 1 - 4, chances are you’ve got a ridiculously “GO-GET-EM-TIGER” level of inspiration and motivation going on, so it's time to drive the point home by creating even more relatability in your brand story. You can do this by giving your story the compelling warmth of humanity - i.e. start showing REAL people succeeding, participating and engaging as a result of working with you or buying from you. Think about the number of people in your organization or the number of people your company touches every day. Each one of those people has a story to tell in relation to your brand; a unique WHY, a moving personal anecdote, a powerhouse success narrative. Start investing in those people and the millions of strangers who might relate to that specific story by shining a light on their experience. The more you show potential clients the real people behind the business and the real people like them benefiting from interacting with the business, the faster your company will grow.



Part 1: 5 Ways to Freshen Your Website.

Part 2: How to Overhaul Your Marketing Campaigns in 5 Simple Steps.

Part 3: 5 Ways to Create an Unforgettable Client Experience.


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