Imagine you are on your first date. We get it; it can be nerve-wracking. But stay with us. Consider what you do on your first date. There might be some nervous laughter, playful banter, and telling jokes. It’s also you sharing information about yourself. You are the one who is looking at your date, leaning over the tables, trying to find details about your life, before asking, “So, what’s my story?”
Although it sounds straight from a rom-com, the question is broad enough to allow you (the answerer) to explore many different avenues. How do you want to present yourself? What is the first thing that you will share? What will you share about your strengths, your love of books, and how close you are to your family? Or will you start slowly with the basics?
Your story is the sum of all details and how they are presented. It’s a deeply personal act that allows us to share parts of our lives. This helps us grow closer together. Your audience will feel closer to you if you share your business story.
Stories help us connect
Stories are one of the oldest forms of art. They have existed for hundreds of years. These stories have been shared to share our histories, laugh together, and try to understand one another. We are naturally curious and more likely to listen. Stories can touch our hearts and make us feel sad. They can make us happy. They can make us feel comfortable and inspire us to take action or change. For any of these things to occur, however, we must have a “why.”
Simon Sinek, motivational speaker and consultant is an organizational consultant. Sinek’s Ted Talk ” How great leadership inspires action” discusses what he calls “the golden circle.” It examines the what, how, and why of storytelling.
The “what” is easy. You already know what services or products you offer. And you know how to do them. Sinek uses the example of “differentiated value proposition” as an example. The why is more challenging for most businesses. Sinek states that the “why” is not to make a profit. But isn’t this the purpose of all business endeavors? Your “why” is instead your purpose.
Patagonia sells clothing, including everyday wear and outdoor attire. They also sell accessories and outdoor gear like sleeping bags and water bottles. You won’t find Patagonia’s mission statement, which is their “why” or reason to be in business.
It doesn’t even touch the “why” but instead tells us “what” with some additional language. Patagonia’s mission statement is an excellent start to getting to the core of the “why.”
If you love the outdoors and want to help the environment, it is great to hear that a company (especially one selling sporting gear) is active in conservation. Sinek reminds us in the middle of his talk that people don’t buy what your company does, but they do buy why you do it. Talk about what you believe, and you will attract people who feel the same.” Patagonia did it right, sharing their love of the earth and their desire to protect it.
Many companies will sell wedding dresses, kitchen utensils, or school supplies. However, no matter how many electricians, plumbers, or carpet cleaners are available, they all have a different “why.” Every company is unique, just like people. You must tell your story to the world and make it known so that other like-minded people can see it.
How To Craft Your Brand Story
Your story is what you must tell. You know that you have an idea. How do you get it out of your head, shape it and make it accessible to your audience? Sometimes your story will be apparent right away. Other times, it may take some time to develop. These steps help you craft a story that is effective for your brand.
1. Consider the beginning of your company.
How did it all start? Did your idea for the company come from a coffee shop idea? Was it an accident or a result of a meeting? It was a meeting of minds. Tell your story. It’s your story. It’s honest, raw, and, most importantly, trustworthy. Customers will be in the same position or have experienced the same emotions. This is what will connect you.
Do you need an inspiring story? Don’t worry. Finding a “why still” is possible, but it will take some brainstorming. If you are a new company, think about the problems your product or service can solve. Consider the impact your product or service can have on people’s lives, both individually and on a larger scale.
If your company has been around for a while and you are thinking about how your brand story will change due to a strategic move or rebrand, think about the things you have done and the feedback from customers. What has changed about your company from when it started, one year ago, five years ago, and today? You should be able to find your “why” by looking through all of this information.