Everyone has a story.
Whether you are an entrepreneur, a chef, sales consultant, or dedicated employee, you have a story that sets you apart, defines what you are about, and ultimately makes you a magnet for customers.
EVERY company and EVERY product has a story. Whether or not that story is leveraged in your marketing is the question.
Think about it.... What makes you buy the products you use? Maybe it's the history behind the founder (Richard Branson). The company's social stance (Tom's Shoes). The pursuit of a new kind of mousetrap (James Dyson). Or a unique culture surrounding a popular past time (SoulCycle). A product, company, or service who tells a great story will resonate with consumers and provide a reason for them to want to engage, buy, and become loyal customers.
So how do you define your brand story?
- What are your origins? Is there something in your DNA or your history that defined who you are today? If you are a chef or restaurateur, for example, did you spend your summers in Italy cooking alongside your "nonna" learning how to make pasta and traditional Italian dishes? Where you came from, the history of your family, and how it impacted you as a human being is a great story to tell when it comes to your career, your business, and why you do what you do.
- What are your successes? Your past track record defines who you are today. If you are launching a new company, what you've done in the past probably impacts why you are venturing into your particular business. Perhaps you turned around a perpetually failing hotel and made it a success when no one else could. Now you are launching a business as a hotel sales consultant — your history in that successful turnaround is what is going to set you apart from every other sales consultant out there.
- Are you doing social good? If you were someone who suffered from bullying as a child and now a portion of the proceeds of every sale of your product goes to an anti-bullying organization, that is your story. Don't shy away from it. Own it, be authentic and vulnerable and customers will beat a path to your door.
- Is the product different, unique, better? Are you redefining a category? Did the same-old, same-old product which hasn't seen any type of innovation in 50 years drive you to go out there and craft something better? If you are turning a product category on its head with something completely new, tell people about it — and why they should be excited.
- Can your product transform a customer? We are living in an age when people want to be quickly and easily transformed in some way without doing the work. Spanx promised women they can instantly look 10 lbs. thinner just by wearing their undergarments. All types of products allude to some type of transformation you will undergo if you simply make a purchase. What will your product or service do?
- Are you disrupting an industry? Airbnb created a new way for people to stay when they travel, driving home the message of staying with a local. Uber and Lyft bank on people's desire to save money and share cars that are already on the road. Have you created something that is completely new? Tell that story and why you arrived there. What need did you have that made you break new ground?
- Have you solved a perceived problem? Consumers find challenges with all sorts of products. Take eyewear for example — for many people, eyeglasses are so expensive they can only afford one pair. Then you have companies like Warby Parker who offer eyeglasses online for an amazingly affordable price. They've told a completely different story as it relates to a product most everyone needs.
- Can you make someone's life easier? The subscription box model is on fire these days. Simply sign up with a credit card and you can get everything from a dinner kit, dog treats, makeup, or even underwear delivered on a consistent basis. It's all about the convenience. You solve the worry and need for someone to go out to a store to get a specific product. Tell them why you'll change their lives for the better.
- Is your product aspirational? Can someone live the life of a jet setter -- even if only for a week -- by staying at your five-star hotel? Do you bring the "luxe life" to more people by offering fractional jet ownership versus having to buy your own jet. If you have somehow created an opportunity for people to live the life they aspire to by using your service or product, you've got a great story to tell.
- Is your company or product green, organic, good for the environment, etc.? There's a huge audience out there who love feeling better about themselves because they are buying products that are non GMO, organic, recyclable, environmentally safe, etc. If you fit into this category and you can set yourself apart from the competition because of your green stance, you need to shout this from the rooftops.
There is simply no denying the fact that you need to give consumers a reason to buy your product or service or hire you as an individual. What is YOUR brand story? Tell it and tell it well.
Jane Coloccia is President and Chief Brand Storyteller at JC Communications, LLC. The company has more than 20 years of experience in working with the travel, leisure, and culinary industries in helping them to tell their story. For additional information, visit or check out Jane's storytelling .
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