Who would ever consider using the words “brand” and “storytelling” in the same context?
Seriously, some of you know how much I dislike the word “brand,” but it’s only because brand advocates often put too much emphasis on logo’s, images and business collateral.
Over the years, I’ve been embracing the importance of things like images, colours and logos etc for brand recognition – and I’ve still got a little way to go – but I’m getting there!
Well, when it comes to branding, you could have all the right blend of colours, the perfect strapline and logo, but if no one knows who you are, can’t identify or connect with you, your visual brand appeal could end up being an expensive and fruitless exercise.
You see, people can’t have a relationship with a logo, a strapline, or a great blend of colours, but stories?
Stories bring out the character of your brand.
They bring out the you, they bring out the reasons why you do what you do and lets your audience know why they should listen to you.
And that applies whether you’re selling your professional services such as coaching or consulting, soap, baby products or whatever. Make it personal because the more personal you get, the more I’m likely to remember you and your brand.
As an example, a few years ago, a friend of mine asked me to assist her in the making of some Shea based baby products for one of her clients.
Yes it’s true that we worked with those products for a few weeks and so I might naturally not forget the brand, but it was the story behind the brand that encourages me to recommend the products and the reason I’m sharing the story with you now.
As a newborn baby, Violet’s son, Alex, had cradle cap, dry skin and was prone to eczema. She tried prescribed steroid creams from her doctor and other natural products, but nothing worked until the day she discovered Shea Butter. As her son’s condition improved, Violet continued to research and test her products on herself, her family and her children.
And it was out of this mother’s concerns, frustrations, research and testing that her company Shea Mooti was born.
I named the company ‘Shea Mooti’ because every product contains the purest, natural form of ‘Shea’ Butter, ethically sourced AfriKids’ Daughters, a multi-cooperative in northern Ghana. ‘Mooti’ comes from ‘Muti’ meaning ‘tree’ in Shona – the language of my native Zimbabwe. Put it all together and the Shea Mooti ‘Tree of Life’ was born.
I absolutely love the colours of Violet’s site, loved the look of her logo, but as a mother and knowing what it was like to have to deal with cradle cap and dry skin when Elodie was a baby, I instantly connected with her story.
Violet could have eventually sold me on the benefits of Shea Butter if that was the angle she were to take, but the powerfully combined benefits of Shea Butter and her story had me sold … and she hadn’t even tried to sell me anything.
Now whether Violet is trying to sell to big named brands (which I understand she does), or at a baby products roadshow, how much easier do you think it will be for her to sell?
She doesn’t have to!
She just needs to tell her story and the products will sell.
Yes, you’ve seen me ask this question over and over, but what is your brand’s story?
What made you start your own business? What discovery from your pain and frustration did you make that could help someone else and soothe their discomfort?
This is your BIG WHY and it’s the thing that not only keeps you passionate and keeps you going even when the odds are against you, it’s the passion and fire others will feel when they hear your story.
It’s the soul that makes your brand logo, colours and business collateral come alive, and yet it’s the simple ingredient missing from most brands that forces them to sell rather than attract people wanting to buy.
So here’s a challenge for you …
Think back to why you started your business. What was the discovery that you made that you needed other people to hear? That’s your message by the way. And what is the purpose – or reason – you do what you do now?
This may not be a 5 -minute exercise, but it’s an important one and will make you feel as though you have a million dollar company, no matter how small your beginnings were or are.
And then I want you to share your story with us in the comments below. Keep it as succinct as possible so that others can read as many of your stories as possible.
I personally look forward to reading them.
Trish Jones is a Speaker, Storytelling Coach and Author, who empowers and equips women to create a business and life that's in harmony with who they are - from the inside out - by bringing more of their personality, their voice and their message via their story to the marketplace. Download her story success blueprint to find out more ... The Influential Woman PinkPrint.