Think about the last commercial, ad, or billboard you saw that really “hit.” What was different about it? What prompted you to buy the product or service? It might have been a snappy tagline or a compelling creative, but I bet it was a compelling story.
You see, marketing is about storytelling. Awesome creative or a great call to action might prompt you to buy the product or service, but it’s the story of a business that creates some real loyalty.
So today, we'll dive into how to effectively share the thing that sets you apart from other businesses - your story.
The who, what, and why of it all.
This step entails really getting down to the origin story of your business.
I've found the most effective way of doing that is by asking these three essential questions: who, what, and why.
Who are you, really? Think of this in terms of your business. When I define myself in terms of Iron City Social, I think strong, independent, irreverent, and knowledgeable.
Next is the what. Think about it - when's the last time you put what you do down on paper? And if you haven't done that, how are you supposed to communicate to your audience?
And last is the why. Why do you do what you do? Keep in mind that this question ties directly into your origin story. For example, I started Iron City Social because I saw a need for effective yet affordable marketing services for small businesses. I love Birmingham, and I know the magic of this city wouldn't exist without the small businesses that make it shine.
What's your personality? (We're talking branding here.)
Now let's talk about your business's personality or branding.
I want you to think beyond a logo or a striking color palette and, instead, go back to the "soul" of your business.
A great exercise to determine the personality of your business is a “word dump.” During this process, you sit down and write out all the words describing your business.
And if you already have an established business, don’t be afraid to get your team or audience involved!
And I don't want you to think that you don't need a logo because you do. What I want you to realize is that you need to think beyond that.
Your branding should include not only your logo variations, logo do’s and don’ts, and color palette but also other essential information such as your mission statement, a list of products and services, price points, a description of the “feel” of your storefront, brand voice, etc.
What's your brand voice?
Now that you have your branding down, it's time to establish your voice.
You can establish your brand by asking the following:
What is your purpose?
What’s your secret sauce, the thing that makes you unique?
What do you value?
Who’s the competition, and how do they present themselves?
What are three words to describe your business?
To establish a consistent brand identity and voice, it’s important to know who you are and what you’re not. Using the ‘We’re this, not that’ exercise is a great way to find out your brand's unique characteristics.
And last but not least - know who you're talking to. Would your audience appreciate someone who's irreverent and confident or thoughtful and compassionate?
But above all, keep in mind that you need to sound like you! If you're not sincere, your audience can tell.
Here are some tips to get you started on your storytelling journey:
Write everything down, whether it's in a note on your phone or a post-it on your desk.
Practice makes perfect! Try saying your brand story out loud or sharing it with a friend for feedback.
Don't worry about the competition. Stay true to you!