Friday, April 27, 2012

Why You Must Have a Compelling Brand Story - Part Two

So how do you break through and stand out from the crowd? At the risk of stating the obvious, you must have a compelling brand story. And why is that? Here’s what my colleague and partner Edward Wachtman, co-founder of Storytellings says:


“To be human is to have a story and when you stop and think about it, we think of our lives as a story. Story is the structure that gives meaning and order to our lives. Instead of trying to make sense of the literally millions of independent events that comprise our lives, we intuitively organize them into an orderly sequence of events. We have a past, a sense of where we came from; a middle, who we are now; and a future, what we aspire to become. This is essentially the same structure - beginning, middle, end - that makes up a story.

But simply standing out from the crowd is not enough. You—and by you, I mean your brand—must establish an emotional connection with your customers and you have to be meaningfully differentiated. And you do that with a compelling brand story.

 A quick Internet search of companies reveals that many organizations view their Brand Story as a version of their company histories. Interesting as these histories may be—and often they are very compelling—they fail in their primary purpose, which is to emotionally connect people to the brand.

We’re talking about a story that emotionally connects you with each customer, deeply and personally. At its very best and most powerful, your story transcends time, culture, and location because it speaks to those ageless and unchanging truths about the human experience—birth, mating and marriage, family, growing up, growing old, kinship, struggling against all odds, etc. That’s the story that needs to be told through everything you do.

You use your Brand Story to communicate what you stand for, what you promise, and what your customer’s will experience.

The extraordinary appeal of the world’s most successful brands is based on their mythic qualities – qualities that have moved people to action since the beginning of time, such as self-reliance, freedom, empowerment, belonging, self-discovery.  Brands such as Apple, Nike, Harley Davidson, Tiffany, and Starbucks have become storytellers of these myths through relevant modern narratives which resonate with consumers at a deep emotional level.

But think for a moment…even though there are so many companies now employing some form of storytelling, there just aren’t that many truly memorable brand stories…how many can you come up with that have truly inspired you, and moved you to act? So despite all the marketplace clutter and noise, there is space for your brand story to be heard, read and embraced.

So how and where do you get started? At Cascadia Marketing, we begin the process with a thorough examination of your brand’s DNA, the building block that determines how your customers perceive you and how well your brand meshes with their needs. The result – a brand compass document that helps guide and direct all subsequent branding, marketing and communications efforts.  For more insight on how this process works, please read my post “A Brand Compass—the Key to Finding Your True North.”