What is a brand story and how does it help your business?
Today, the most effective marketing strategies don’t look like ‘marketing strategies’ at all.
Even in a crowded marketplace there will always be a demand for something distinctive and original.
So what makes someone choose one brand or business over another? If I want to buy a pair of jeans, why would I spend $300 when I could buy a pair at Target for a fraction of the price?
What - and why - are people really buying? Why does someone chose one product or service over another?
What is a brand, and why is it is so vital to your business success?
“Brand is the promise, the big idea, the expectations that reside in each customer's mind about a product, service or company. Branding is about making an emotional connection”
Alina Wheeler, Designing Brand Identity
Your brand is a story. It’s your identity, your voice. It’s what differentiates you and what makes you memorable.
It’s the reason that a client would choose you over a competitor.
Your products and services are simply attached to the need or story that your brand fulfills.
What you’re really selling is a story that your customers want to be a part of, and that’s what they’re buying.
This story consists of every single touchpoint you have with your customers or prospects. It’s what you stand for, it’s the value you create, and it's the personality you convey. It’s what makes you different.
Your brand story is told every single day through:
- Each interaction you have with your customers and prospects
- The images you create and share online (and how you share them)
- Your style of photography & post processing
- The copy on your website, and how your site works and connects
- Your sales and marketing materials
- The way you engage online, offline and in social media
- How others talk about you
- Design elements such as your logo, studio decor, and website
Every. Single. Thing. You. Do.
“The Best Brands Fulfill Their Customers’ Aspirations”
A customer seeking you out may think she’s comparing features and prices of products, but what she’s subconsciously seeking is really something else entirely.
It could be that she is imagining herself looking and feeling beautiful or amazing. Maybe she’s picturing her friends telling her she’s beautiful, smart or stylish. Or perhaps she is looking to express herself, to have a voice, or be part of some type of cause.
Whatever it is, her product choice will be based on an emotionally driven need, not a functional one.
As business owners we want to think that it starts with our customers seeking us out because we have the best product or service.
But the reality is that your customer wants to know how you will make her life better. She’s looking for an answer to some unrealized aspiration.
How does your brand offer your clients an experience that moves them from ‘who they are’ to ‘who they want to be?’ Do your products or services offer a clear path to their idealized self?
Think about products or services that you use and love. How do they make you feel? How does seeing/buying/using them get you closer to who you want to be?
What your customers want to know is, how do your products or services:
- Help them be or look more creative?
- Make them smarter?
- Make them (look or feel) beautiful? More popular?
- Make them a better athlete?
- Keep them inspired?
- Have to do with a cause they support?
- Using a product that supports causes they like or are involved with, or that make them a better person, helps them grow and makes them feel good about themselves.
- Make them more independent?
- Does buying this product send the message to others that they do their own thing?
- Help them stay organized?
- Which makes them look smart or helps them work faster.
- Fulfill their need for adventure?
- Does it make them feel alive? Is it unexpected and exciting?
- Make them feel unique?
- Will buying this allow them to express themselves and reflect their authentic identity?
Oftentimes we want to jump on the latest social media channel or marketing strategy when we see others having success with it.
However, in order for any marketing strategy to be effective - whether it’s social media or your website - you need to be clear on what makes your brand matter to the customers you’re trying to reach.
What makes you different? Why should they care about you?
So before you jump into tactics and tools for telling your story, you first need to create one. Without this, there is no reason for them to pay attention or notice you.
In the next lesson we’ll cover how to create your Brand Story.