A brand story is more than content and a narrative. The story goes beyond the copy on your website, a brochure or your pitch to investors or customers. Brand stories are the personality of your company, the message your brand sends and what customers believe about your brand. Everyday your brand story is being built, and this process mirrors friendships in the making.
When you meet someone for the first time, they might be a stranger or a friend of a friend. To begin, you’ll talk surface such as sports, common connections, the weather etc. After this you’ve made an acquaintance. However, when someone sparks your interest, you find a commonality or connection on some level, and that’s when friendship sparks. As each of you opens up, you’ll talk about family, hobbies, travel destinations, career, - what’s important to you both. Soon you begin to see where they spend time, and what makes them tick.
That’s when friendship is born.
From there, the conversation gets even deeper. You begin to talk more about values, goals, dreams and aspirations. Where you have failed or where could you could improve. When you are vulnerable with each other, there’s a level of trust.
Your brand story is the same. As your audience seeks out your company it starts with first impressions, then grows to a deeper level of loyalty over time.
You get one chance to make a first impression. Conversations with acquaintances begin at surface level, then as you make connections and learn more, friendship takes flight. Thanks to Google, the internet is most likely the vehicle that brings your audience to you. Your website, marketing campaigns and ads all play a role in the first steps of getting to know you. Most often, first impression messages intend to meet a need or spark interest.
When your facts and figures spark interest, some will dive deeper and research you on social media and seek out customer reviews. There is a desire to know more; they are seeking information that includes not only who you are and what you do, but the conversation surrounding your brand, how your products and services differ from others. This research may give them a little more insight into your company’s personality.. You’ll never make an emotional connection until you invite them into your brand story.
The relationship is growing. Just like building friendships, your true colors show when you invite people in. Brand stories are a great way to invite customers in to reveal the people, purpose and personality behind your company. Customers then know you on a deeper level and know what to expect when working with you.
In Edelman’s 2016 Earned Brand Study, 13,000 consumers were asked to rate their relationships with brands across 18 market categories. Of the seven metrics measured, companies scored lowest on listening openly, telling memorable stories and acting with purpose.
Emotional connection ignites when your story becomes real to someone. They begin to relate to you, your products, your services and your team members on a deeper level.
Every choice you make builds the foundation.
Product, service, price, history, quality, marketing, experience, purpose, values, location and what others say about you is your brand story. When customers know and understand the story behind your experience, customers genuinely relate to your brand. When your customers know and relate to your brand story they will continue to come around, just like an old friend.
The forever friends are loyal and stick with you, because they know your story and are emotionally connected to you. Your brand story takes people on the journey from acquaintance to friend, connecting at a deeper level. This is imperative to surviving in a world where you want people to buy into your story, not just buy your product.
Every brand has a story - big, small, new to market, or long history one of authenticity will propel you to a lasting friendship!