Smarter Marketing Blog

Why Powerful Brand Marketing Is The New Normal

brand-marketing-wurst-logo

“Oh no – not another article on brand marketing”, I hear you say. Well here’s the thing – if your current marketing activity isn’t helping you build a better, stronger brand, you just might be wasting your precious time and money. A quick read through this post will help you review your approach to brand marketing.

Let’s start off with an example. You have just designed a wonderful home page on your website. It’s simple, user-friendly, warm and informative. So much so, the searcher (potential customer) is interested in engaging with you and clicks on your little chat link to ask you a question. So far – so good.

The message the searcher receives back, though, is a sales message and not exactly what they are looking for. The message then directs them to another contact page – to get more information / download a free infographic, oh, and they want credit card details for a trial!

If you’re like me, you’re well gone from that landing page (and probably that organisation). The point I’m making with this example is that there is always a risk of a disconnect between what people expect (because you’ve promised it to them) and what they might get when engaging with your brand.

There is a thread that connects all your customer touch-points and that thread is an emotional one. It is your organisation’s brand. Brand marketing, therefore, must be looked at from a human / emotional viewpoint, if it is to connect positively with customers or prospects.

[ctt template=”3″ link=”045oK” via=”no” ]The emotional thread that connects all your customer touchpoints is your organisation’s brand. It has to be marketed in a smart way.[/ctt]

Brand marketing can be considered powerful when a person’s experience of that brand is constantly positive. This can occur when encountering an organisation’s social media activity, their web page, a press ad, their staff or their service etc. Are you monitoring your engagements?

Of course, there is a danger that online visibility gets all the focus (and measurement), and as a consequence, some business owners (and marketers) can neglect the big picture – their brand marketing. This is not to suggest re-inventing the wheel – it’s just about being smarter about marketing your brand.

Elements of smarter marketing.

Smarter marketing is, for instance, understanding that your brand is NOT your logo, your tagline or your advertising. And that your brand IS the experience that people have while engaging with your organisation is what differentiates you from competitors.

Being smarter is also knowing that in this world of inbound marketing, the content your organisation produces is part of your brand and will remain so forever. Therefore, the voice, tone and message embedded in your content is extremely important.

For example, long after you’ve forgotten about a blog post, a reader might discover same and form an opinion based on the sentiment, structure and relevancy of your words.

Another thing about marketing smarts – your brand promise should also comprise everything that represents your organisation. What type of suppliers you have, your employees, your place of business, how you act and everything you say.

People’s perception of you is your real brand. Brands are a shortcut to help people break through a sea of choice and they mainly use shortcuts that they have had satisfaction with previously.

Finally, how you use your customer data is definitely an element of smarter marketing but it is worth remembering that as everybody has access to data, it still is your brand that remains a key differentiator.

Whatever your organisation’s size – brand marketing is important

The thing to remember about a brand, especially when building a brand from scratch, is that it has to be managed and maintained constantly. Size doesn’t matter.

The business objectives of quality, service and price need to be wrapped in a well thought out branding strategy. Where do you start out? By deciding where your organisation is going to fit in the marketplace you’ll be operating in.

The rest of your brand foundations are set when you determine what it is that makes you different and who your potential customers are. Answers to these questions will be guided by your values and principles – and then you’re good to go.

The main challenge you will then face, with regard to brand marketing, is consistency. This is even more pertinent now when social media activity is included in your marketing. Branding is inclusive of all channels that your organisation uses. Smarter branding is streamlining all your activity with a unified identity, appearance and approach to customer experience.

Use every opportunity you can to market your brand.

There are many good, and bad, examples of organisations using every occasion to promote their brand whenever, wherever they can. Mostly, it will cost something to have your identity promoted, but you should still be looking out for opportunities as/when  they arise.

Here are six examples:

  1. Giveaways – if providing a customer experience, brand it e.g. coffee mug
  2. Apparel – perhaps staff that work with you could wear branded items
  3. Graphics – everything you publish should be branded, including online channels
  4. Email – it is very easy to include branding in your email signature
  5. Presentations – slide templates / and printed materials should have your branding
  6. Packaging – Bags, boxes, vehicles etc. are opportunities to promote your brand

 

I really like this graphic below. I came across it in an article on digital marketing by Marketing Labs in the UK. It shows examples of offline vs online branding tactics.

online-tactics-graph

Brands are now in the relationship business.

The new norm of brand marketing is being a good listener. “Nothing new in that”, you might say. Now that the much relied upon method of broadcast communication (i.e. one-way discussions) is becoming less impactful, building relationships by listening first and then having a dialogue is the way forward.

Many agencies, such as our own, O’C&K, can offer social media strategies, content management, digital expertise etc. However, these will only be powerful brand marketing activities if based on customer insights, feedback and ongoing dialogue. Another way of listening is through influencers that operate within your line of business.

So, as a small business owner, let’s assume you don’t have the time and/or experience for marketing – what traits do you look for in an individual or outsource agency?  We would suggest that the following traits are important in the business of building relationships:

– Listening Skills

– Creativity

– Customer Focused

– Curiosity

– Empathetic

– Story Teller

“A brand is not something you manage over time. It’s something you deliver in the moment”.

I came across this quote when doing research for this post. It was part of a very interesting article from the Harvard Business Review about building your brand as a relationship.

Tips for building brand recognition

As alluded to above, people are interacting with organisations in a plethora of new ways – usually facilitated by technology. Consistency is vital if people are going to remember your brand and what you can do for them. Here is a check-list for some online and offline touch-points that you could apply your branding to:

Online:

  • Website / landing pages / blog (+ images) /online maps
  • Social media (logo avatar + promos on cover pictures)
  • Email newsletter / magazines / ebooks /downloads
  • Online directories / infographics
  • Advertisements / forums /groups
  • Online agreements / contracts / invoices /receipts

Offline:

  • Print advertising / catalogues / brochures / flyers / posters
  • Business stationary / packaging / labels
  • Storefront /window merchandising / interiors (directional signage)
  • Trade Shows / exhibitions stands / podiums
  • Employee clothing / car stickers
  • Sponsorship signage / promotional items / prizes

Conclusion

A simple recipe for brand marketing is to be unique, authentic and to consistently provide value. Of course, you need to manage your brand identity but concentrate on delivering the brand experience in real time.

Marketing in the modern age hasn’t become harder but business owners and marketers do have to be smarter about it. Brand marketing can be distracted by the many marketing specialists that have appeared in recent years, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

If you need to use an expert, make sure you choose the one that will deliver exactly what you require to grow your business.

“Thank you for reading our blog post today” – Aidan & Jim.

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Is your brand surviving in the modern world?

brand-surviving-lifebuoy-OC&K

It is probably fear that drives you to read articles / blogs about brands or branding such as this one. If you’re like us, that fear may well be rooted in your own brand surviving in this constantly changing world.

As an SME owner, you might recall the old days when you could have an idea, start a business, design a logo and mass communicate your message better than your competitors. In the current, technologically connected world and changing consumer attitudes towards business, mass messaging etc. won’t work on its own – if at all.

If any message is to break through the noise, it helps if your brand means something to people i.e. how relevant is it? Why? – because relevancy can lead to brand loyalty. Loyalty has always been important for successful brand building. However, these days we believe we need to go one step further and distinguish between emotional loyalty and functional loyalty.

The former is about feelings and experiences which don’t drive the bottom-line, in the short term. The latter does drive the bottom line in the short-term but, it could be argued, is more about ease and habit. Businesses that attempt to achieve both types of customer loyalty will do the best.

Our point is that if brand owners are aware of both types of loyalty and addresses them in their business planning, it should be possible to help the brand surviving into the future and drive the bottom-line. For example, activities such as corporate social responsibility (CSR), social media as a customer service channel and a customised after sales service are tactics that can help develop a relationship and subsequently, an element of trust. There will be no loyalty without trust.

Put simply, we always say that a brand is the perception that people have of your business based on what you do and say. In other words, your brand is your voice in the marketplace and it is how you tell your story. Effective storytelling addresses emotions and therefore is the key to your success and your brand surviving in the long term.

We meet prospects from time to time who outline their ‘problem’ as people not knowing “who we are & appreciating that we are the best!” Well now, it is quite clear to us that if these prospects can’t, or aren’t telling their story then nobody else will. We advise them that as a business owner it is their job to tell the story including their mission and raison d’etre.

Consistent communication is one element of brand strength.

It is not our intention here to outline a single route for brand survival but there are probably five suggestions we could make, to help along the way.

  1. Find your unique story and tell it repeatedly through different communication mediums
  2. Discover what the perception of your brand is by existing and ideal customers and build on it
  3. Find out where your customers touch your brand, both online and offline, and converse with them there
  4. Analyse your main competitors in every aspect particularly their brand positioning and promise
  5. Ensure all your communications reinforce your brand message and reflect your authenticity

Most of you well attest to the notion that to be conscious of building your brand by retaining customer loyalty is a sound theory. The real challenge, however, is to appreciate that it takes time and effort to do so while at the same time keep the bottom-line ticking over.

Short-term sales won’t ensure your brand success but attention to the managing of what you do and say will contribute to your brand surviving in the long term.

Building a brand that will survive.

As we’ve alluded to already, everything a business does and says, contributes to developing a brand. So, if the power of a brand is one that influences a person’s propensity to purchase and earn loyalty then what we say & do becomes that power.

What we do needs to be different or nobody will care. What and how we say things amplify our actions. The aim is to maintain a simple image of what your brand is – in the minds of the consumer. For example, is there one word that can describe your story?

What is more, if your story is your brand promise, delivering on it is paramount if people are to believe what you say about yourself. People must be convinced that you are more than a profit-making machine. Therefore, how people experience your brand goes a long way to building loyalty.

It’s not just for bricks-and-mortar brands, being available (mobile friendly), handling complaints, advertising messages, and customer service all form part of the experience. Being credible and reliable is all a consumer wants in reality. So, build your brand by building on your credentials.

[ctt template=”4″ link=”61fR_” via=”no” ]Being credible and reliable is all a consumer wants in reality. So, build your brand by building on your credentials. [/ctt]

Tips that will assist with a brand surviving

We’ve all come across brands that have failed. Failed for many reasons such as entering a saturated marketplace, not fully understanding the target market, business inexperience etc.

We cannot offer a panacea for brand survival here, but here are nine practical tips that we have picked up from our experiences to date:

  1. Know your ideal customer and talk to them in their language
  2. Generate value for others before asking for anything in return
  3. Be the best in your niche and align all your messaging for consistency
  4. Use emotive appeal in your communications – most buying decisions are emotional in nature,
  5. Deliver on your brand promise in a consistent way across all touch points – it builds trust
  6. Use word-of-mouth testimonials through influencers in your specific niche
  7. Don’t try to be something you are not. Offline should reflect online activity
  8. Listen to how you explain what you do, to people. This is probably what you really do.
  9. If you love what you do, but others don’t need it – it’s a hobby.

Conclusion

Where do you start when building a brand that will survive in today’s business world of distractions, options, outputs and shiny new toys? For long term brand survival, this blog post provided many tips above. The one sentiment that underlies them all is that a brand owner should focus on communicating a real value that can be added to a customer’s life.

Consistent communication is, therefore, an integral part of brand survival. Don’t feel trapped by the brand’s style guide’ – effective communication is what is required for eliciting emotions and understanding. Authenticity is the key so don’t mistake familiarity for a successful brand.

“Thank you for reading our blog post today” – Aidan & Jim.

 Would you like us to notify you, by email, when we publish new content? If so, just let us know by clicking here. Of course, we can always meet face-to-face, just leave your details here and we might grab a coffee, cheers. Jim – O’C&K

How to Build Your Business Brand and Achieve Sustainable Growth

traditional-business-brand-iron

The first step of building a business brand is deciding why you’ll do it not what you’ll do. You’ll decide how your brand will be identified by other people – because your brand identity is a vision you have of your business. The questions, why you are in business, who you are in business for and how unique you want to be will form the basis for the growth of your brand.

Once you are in no doubt about these elements, then you can define the visual elements of your brand such as a logo, a tagline, tone of voice etc.

“But I have a marketing strategy” you may argue but, let’s face it, such good intentions will be a complete waste of time if your activity is not grounded in the brand basics, mentioned above. The point is if a business is to achieve sustainable business growth, it must be understood that your brand defines your business.

If you have neglected to develop your brand over time by catering to your customers changing needs, they may well change suppliers because they want a better experience.

Of course, everything is hunky-dory when business is good. Customers are flocking to your door, online sales are good, whatever communications channels you are using must be working etc. But what happens when the marketplace starts to change, internally and externally, and you don’t? = business unsustainability in the long-term.

I say internally because perhaps your own workforce might have changed. You may have u25-year-olds in your workforce, who have grown up in a technology-friendly environment. They might have a different attitude to customer service, as will their peers – your new potential customers. So not only may the attitudes of your co-workers be different but also your customers’ service expectations will also be changing.

So how are you going to grow your business in this new environment?  By building your brand carefully and with purpose. That means pro-actively managing business change, your reputation and making your brand visible to the right people.

About being visible, you are probably aware, that somewhere between 70 / 80% of customers have already completed some form of research before actually purchasing. Usually, this is through referral (word-of-mouth) or online search.

Therefore, it’s important that wherever they do that research they a) find your brand and b) have a positive experience across all touchpoints. But, you can’t be there if you don’t know who they are!

Do you actually know who your customers are?

When did you last check-out who are, where are and how are your target audience? No matter how well you think you know your customers, all business brands should be constantly undertaking some form of research to improve brand strategy. Why?

Well, for one, better understanding your customer’s priorities / challenges will help you adjust your offering to find a solution for them. Secondly, you will find out how to differentiate yourself from competitors, thirdly, you will discover the attitudes of your staff and fourthly you can find out who your top 20% of customers really are. There is perhaps one more advantage of undertaking research – it will provide you with a base from which to measure going forward.

As well as formal research, simple information gathering e.g. net performance score (NPS), and having an investigative attitude here are four ways to make sure your brand stays relevant to your customers on an ongoing basis:

  • Tell a cohesive story across all brand touch-points that customers’ can relate to
  • Every business decision should be grounded in how it will add value to your customers
  • Be authentic in all your communications and build trust
  • Be consistent in your branding (images, colour, content etc.) and make it user-friendly

Developing a business brand – the theory and the practice

Don’t get me wrong – developing a brand is not easy. Aidan and I have worked on both sides of the marketing fence (as an agency and a client). We understand how developing a business brand is difficult, but possible. The thing is we are also very conscious of the fact that theory can differ from practice in many ways.

With clients, we strive to lessen the gap between both by being realistic. For instance:

Having a high-level vision – of course, it is great to have an inspiring vision but bringing that ethos off the plan is quite difficult, especially for SMEs. It is difficult due to the immediacy of running the business and making a profit. If a business did nothing more than show its customers that it listens to them, evidenced by telling customer stories, then they would show that they are acting purposefully i.e. with the customer in mind.

Brand value – many accountants, and marketers will offer to explain how to calculate a brand value for your business. However, the dilemma for marketers trying to build a brand strategy on such a value is that they can’t agree on how best to arrive at a fair and obvious figure. Figures are calculated in a myriad of different ways by various specialist consultants. A brand strategy is a must – but brand value as a growth measurement is not a perfect place to start from.

Price – this is probably the hardest theory to maintain when it comes to practice. Businesses, with the best intention of commanding a premium price, when push comes to shove – have not developed the brand to sustain their high price positioning. Customers now expect good value for money which is often interpreted by businesses as ‘cheaper’ product / services. In truth, the value expected may be nothing to do with price.

Differentiation – Almost every business, I’ll wager, see themselves as being different from competitors. Whilst this may be so with regard to internal operations – the customer, often can see no difference and is just happy that somebody is satisfying their need. We believe that the difference should be reflected in a customer’s willingness to pay a higher price. This would be due to a real difference in experience and a distinction made by the brand’s communication.

The intention of any business brand strategy is to grow the business and build a strong brand (in that order).

Tips and Timesavers for building your business brand.

The intention of any business brand strategy is to grow the business and build a strong brand (in that order). Therefore an effective strategy to develop a brand based on good business practices will result in a better ROI for the investment made. In our view what makes a strong brand is a positive reputation and good visibility.

Building on our thoughts above, here are six suggestions that you might consider when building your business brand:

  1. Determine who your audience is and what they think of you, up front
  2. Be authentic, have a unique voice online and offline e.g. website / trade shows / networking
  3. Create your own online platform – blogging, social media etc. and empower your audience to engage with you
  4. Be consistent in your communications and what you do but don’t try to please everyone
  5. Ensure that you produce more value for your customers than your competitors
  6. Build organic brand awareness first e.g. friends and family, influencers and then pay for it

Conclusion

It is only by adhering to your brand basics initially can you develop it according to your customers’ changing needs, thereafter. As a business owner, you must manage your reputation and ensure that your brand can be found. Especially when someone goes looking for something you can supply.

Brand Strength = Reputation + Visibility

Don’t get caught in the “busy work-trap”. Make sure that the customers’ experience of your brand is different to your competitors and that your communications are distinctive enough to stand out from the noise. That’s how you’ll build a brand to grow your business.

“Thank you for reading our blog post today” – Aidan & Jim.

 Would you like us to notify you, by email, when we publish new content? If so, just let us know by clicking here. Of course, we can always meet face-to-face, just leave your details here and we might grab a coffee, cheers. Jim – O’C&K

Ignore a Good Brand Strategy at Your Peril

brand strategy diagram

The more conferences, expos, seminars etc. that we attend, the more we hear that, due to other distractions, small & medium enterprises (SMEs) ignore the development of a brand strategy. In this post, we’ll look at some essentials of developing a brand strategy, focusing particularly on start-up businesses and SMEs.

Most business people appreciate that funds are tight for start-ups and that the focus is on obtaining, and converting, leads into customers. However, a total focus on the operational side and a failure to differentiate your business from competitors is a big mistake.

With all that’s involved with the setting up of a business, it is understandable that marketing might get the least attention. In O’C&K, we have a process that may be of assistance to you, in this instance. We use a six-step brand strategy process when advising customers and we break them into two stages:

Stage 1

Determining business values (so as to attract an audience with similar values)

Determining vision, mission statements and a USP (for consistency and authenticity)

Developing a visual brand identity (for uniformity of communication)

Stage 2

Determining a brand story

Identifying a target audience

Establishing an online content plan

If you are lucky enough to have a business idea that is different from all other businesses out there – great! More than likely, however, your idea is not an absolute original one so you will need to make people aware of just how different you are. This presents another challenge – how do you raise awareness above the plethora of other marketing messages that people receive every day.

In this post, we don’t intend to revisit the importance of storytelling, but when Aidan and myself meet start-up businesses for the first time, we try to ascertain their story. Having completed Stage 1 above, it is the story that becomes the thread for all communications. How you tell the story must resonate with your customers and/or prospects. It is also the basis for the establishment of your content marketing activity.

Whatever your marketing purpose, be it an awareness campaign, a brand promise you want to bolster or simply a portrayal of brand values – a reiteration of the brand story will help deliver consistency. That being said, the over-riding brand strategy that start-ups need to pursue initially (if not always) is over-delivery of their brand promise. Doing so will build word-of-mouth, authenticate the brand story and eventually deliver loyal customers.

Make Your Brand Stand Out From Others

As a start-up, more than likely, you will not be able to spend loads of money to get your message seen over and over again, based on repetition. Alternatively, you will have to rely on standing out by connecting with an audience emotionally.

Some element of intrigue will be needed. This could be ‘not doing something in a normal way’ e.g. a mobile afternoon tea service (Social Bee) or ‘having unique expertise and authority’ (RazorSocial) or ‘over-delivering on service’ (Ariel House), are good local examples that we are aware of.

The point is if you are intriguing people you won’t have to spend as much on marketplace exposure as your competitors. People like talking to friends about things that intrigue them and this is the best type of unpaid-for, marketing. Can your brand afford to not stand out?

Here are a few other ways that we find help your brand to stand out from others.

  • Have a 3-second description of what you do ready to integrate into conversations (forget the elevator pitch)
  • As an SME owner, you must be the chief storyteller (tell your stories all the time)
  • Make sure that everything you do and say communicates your brand values (live them)
  • Your brand message should be consistent and clear (and customised for different channels)
  • Use influencers you know e.g. Bloggers, Tweeters, Facebook and LinkedIn group members

Tips and Timesavers for building a brand strategy

There are many relevant questions that you might have asked yourself, read about or have been asked when building a brand advantage. It is always useful to review same, especially as a start-up in the first few years. We have mentioned a few above, but here are 7 thoughts for you to mull over:

  1. Have we tightly defined our target audience / customers?
  2. What does our brand stand for in our customers’ minds (unique value proposition)?
  3. What is the awareness of our brand amongst our audiences (do we share values)?
  4. What is it that our customers like about our brand (do we surprise and delight them)?
  5. Does our brand engage with our customers in meaningful ways (varied customer touch points)?
  6. Have we determined our brand story (with customers consistently depicted as the hero)?
  7. Do we present our brand in a consistent manner to the public?

A good brand strategy can build awareness of values, create likeability, raise your business’s credibility and gain trust from a targeted fan base.

Conclusion

Before you start creating your brand – research your target market. Then, as alluded to above define your brand so as to differentiate it from competitors by giving it a voice. Get an identity designed by a professional and build brand awareness online. Above all, be innovative. SMEs have a lot more flexibility to be creative with their marketing and to have a brand that is memorable and unique.

As mentioned in many of our blog posts in the past – people are more likely to buy from a business when they recognise the brand and know the story behind it.

“Thank you for reading our blog post today” – Aidan & Jim.

 Would you like us to notify you, by email, when we publish new content? If so, just let us know by clicking here. Of course, we can always meet face-to-face, just leave your details here and we might grab a coffee, cheers. Jim – O’C&K

 

What Santa Never Told You About Authentic Storytelling

santa-claus-storytelling

In previous blog posts, we have long stressed the point of view that a key marketing trend is that of authentic interactions with people. One acknowledged way of interacting with people, in a real way, is through storytelling. Disney does it and just look at how Santa and his helpers has been doing it for years.

How do they do it in a seemingly effortless way? We’ll use this post to examine ways of crafting an effective story for your brand – in case Santa doesn’t leave instructions under the tree.

Admittedly, marketing agencies have long used the story approach to campaigns but we believe times are changing. Instead of a brand telling a story, why would it not use all of its elements to allow customers connect with a story they want to be part of?

As we approach the Festive Season, we believe that perhaps technology is not such a threat to bricks-and-mortar retailers that everybody is writing about. This is mainly because shop owners can still offer the human touch. The one caveat here is probably the influence of weather conditions on travel.

Of course, these retailers must augment the experience for the shoppers with multi-sensory and multichannel experiences but the real challenge is to enter the world of the customer and to be a part of their story.

How brilliant would it be if brands could move people from being observers into being part of a story, why? Because us marketers have known for eons that stories activate emotions which in turn motivate people to act i.e. to get involved.

To help you visualise what we’re saying, let’s look at a potential scenario using a standard story structure:

  • The consumer is the protagonist in the story
  • The experience is what happens (the touchpoints – where it happens)
  • The competitors are the obstacles for the customer getting to what they want
  • The product or service is the reward / the outcome

The point we’re making here is that brands should have a look at how they structure their stories. It’s not about telling it – it’s about engaging customers directly in their storylines by taking them on a journey and providing a reward at the end. This reward may be for the customer or even somebody else e.g. a charity cause.

Here’s a thought – could brands help people with their own stories? Could they help people change their lives (or others) through what they buy? The thing is storytelling can make a difference so why aren’t brands using it to make a difference for their customers and ultimately their bottom line.

People might not remember your brand, but they will remember a good story.

We mentioned above that storytelling makes a difference. Let’s see how it might – using a Leinster Rugby story as an example.

Story version A – “Jim decided to come into our shop and buy a Leinster Rugby jersey. He had the option of an array of colours, sizes, and excellent cotton quality. There was also an online option.”

Story version B – “Jim is a long-time supporter of Leinster Rugby and had an old club jersey that had seen better days. The team’s on-field performance was going through a lull and supporters were getting disgruntled. To show his continued support Jim purchased a new jersey from our supporters’ club outlet, looks great and is now delighted to be part of the team’s resurgence.”

This is a made-up example, but anyway – which one will you remember most? The second one I reckon, because we provided elements that you might relate to. In version B, we tried to use the standard story structure outlined above i.e. a character, a reason why, a little conflict and a resolution.

Our example stresses the point that promoting the features of your product / service in the structure of a story doesn’t really work. Set yourself apart by incorporating your brand elements into an authentic story that people can relate to.

Here are the elements of a good story:

  • Characters – give your audience somebody to relate to so that they can empathise
  • Plot – this is the build up to the conflict which leads the audience to want to know what’s next
  • Conflict – something has to go wrong e.g. the Leinster team above were going through a lull
  • Resolution – show your customer how it was solved and the takeaway (your product)

Tips and Timesavers.

Have a look at how you are structuring your current brand story. How is your tone and are your visuals appropriate? Look at testimonials or case studies that you can use. Always have a look at whether you are creating a great story or just telling people what you offer.

Facts (product features) are useful but let’s face it they are not as powerful as stories. Anyway, stories are how we experience life. We read books and blogs, watch TV and listen to the radio. We watch sports and share stories with friends at parties – so why wouldn’t we be open to more storytelling?

The beauty about the current, connected environment is that brands have many more tools at their disposal for extending stories and for people to share them. As alluded to above, there are more opportunities to be authentic with your brand and thereby immerse people into the essence of your brand.

Here are 10 elements to consider when i) creating a story and ii) when outlining your story

           Creating a Story

  1. Enhance the appeal of the story by explaining where your brand comes from
  2. Discover what attributes your brand can credibly claim that are appealing to your audience
  3. Associate meaning to a weakness that might turn it into a strength
  4. Create a sense of exclusivity or scarcity
  5. Demonstrate the value to users
  6. Use influential users of your service/product to add credibility

    Outlining a story

  7. Be authentic and tell your story with emotion
  8. Relate your story to your customers and highlight the benefits of your product/service
  9. Take your customers on a journey through the matching of your values and theirs
  10. Humanise your story and don’t be afraid to use humour

Conclusion

The myth that some brands are clinging onto is that people want to hear about their brand. They don’t! They want to be drawn into an experience that’s relevant to them – not you.

This makes sense really as any story should aim to please the person to whom it’s told. Self-promotional stories told by brands are unlikely to strike a chord with the intended audience and just end up annoying them.

Here is a really comprehensive storytelling guide infographic I found on hubspot.com. We hope you have a wonderful Festive Season.

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