Does your 6 word story measure up or are you faking it until you break it - Simone Douglas
Simone Douglas - "#SeriouslySocial"
Building a brand is one of the most important things you can do for your business, whether you’re a full-fledged company with multiple departments or a freelancer. Often mistaken for a logo and a set of colour and font guidelines, a brand is the set of perceptions and expectations the public has about your product or service – perceptions that we would hope you have carefully cultivated.
So if this brand and it’s story has been carefully cultivated and tirelessly articulated then summing it up in 6 words should in theory be a breeze. A six word story is just that - six words that sum up and convey the felt sense of what it is to engage with your business. Too fluffy?
The most famous six word story is often attributed to Hemingway and reads like this - “ For sale, baby shoes, never worn.”
Now I am reasonably confident that it doesn’t matter what your life experience is, that story will invoke an emotional reaction and that's what you are looking for. The six words that invoke the emotional reaction for your business. The six words that can become your rudder for absolutely every other piece of content or engagement that you have.
It is easy to get distracted by all the noise in the business world at large but jump day is your chance to settle in and work on your business in ways that allow you to make the most of your opportunities today, tomorrow and forever. Today’s show is looking at your business through a marketing, sales and service experience perspective. Are we delivering on the expectations we are creating? Do we live our values every step of the way or are they just a poster on the wall?
IBGR is a global community of commerce committed to your success and our programming is designed to give you the tools and resources as well as the one percenters you might be missing. So settle in because all the best stories are told with the audiences full attention and today is no exception. If you put the learnings into place you will have started your preparation to belt 2021 out of the stratosphere. After all We didn’t wake up this morning and decide to own an averagely successful business now did we?
Show Objectives - The Why
So back to why we are talking about six word stories today, in the larger sense, what this tale reminds us of is that story is a potent tool no matter what we do.
At once, it is a vehicle that carries a message, mystery, promise, and entertainment. It tells us something of the storyteller too. And in all of this, it affords the opportunity to connect the teller to others in lasting ways.
But the six-word story offers more, as both an exercise and a handy reminder we'd be wise to take into whatever we do.
We tell stories not for our own benefit, but to engage others. So when we craft our story even from a business perspective, it's important to think about our audience or in this case our customers and prospects first and foremost.
People like a mystery more than a lecture. They want to be a part of the story in some way, to relate directly to it.
Understanding your businesses story helps you keep its values top-of-mind. Knowing and sharing your strategic narrative unites your employees, reminds them that you support and appreciate them. And above all, crafting a compelling story can steer your business away from hiding or merely surviving, and toward thriving. Countless businesses are entering uncharted territory, and a strategic narrative can serve as a much-needed compass.
As we talked about on last week's show, when it comes to our customers the most successful businesses have a carefully crafted balance of storytelling and story selling that engages both the heart & the mind then ultimately the wallet of their ideal customers.
Key Issues - Owner Perspective:
What You Need to Know - What we will be covering
So we have settled on a narrative or a story and we have it lined up with our values.
The question is, how can we control the narrative surrounding our business? It’s time to get our heads around some straightforward steps to build a memorable and cohesive brand.
1. Identify your humans
The first thing to do in branding and the step that makes or breaks your success is to pinpoint the population or humans that your business is geared towards.
The whole point of branding as you will hear me say time and again is to create an emotional connection between your audience and your business, in order to do that, you need to know how to engage with them as human beings..
2. Establish your why
If your audience is the “who” of your brand, your mission statement is the why. Why did you start your business? Which values drive you and your teams, and how does your product or service add value to the lives of your tribe? By understanding exactly what your brand stands for, you can convey that message to your audience in ways that truly connect.
3. Be you , split personalities need not apply.
Your brand mission and logo speak to an overall brand personality or the consistent “human element” of your brand. This is the part of your brand that creates those emotional connections with customers, so it’s important to understand who you are as a business as though you were a person - this will resonate with your audience because it creates a cohesive tone of voice..
As your audience will come to rely on your brand to deliver a specific type of behavior, be it quippy one-liners or motivating posts, you’ll want to make sure your personality is consistent so creating an avatar of sorts is the best way to get this right.
4. Develop your brand message
For this step, consider the brand mission you outlined, how did that translate into the message you want your customers to take away from you? Like your brand’s overall personality, this message should repeatedly show up in all your efforts and constantly be emphasized to your audience. Have in mind that anyone who comes in contact with your business should love it – even those who aren’t buying.
5. Don’t be a wallflower on social networks
Social media is a key tool for creating connections with your audience, finding new audience members, and most importantly – story telling for free! Having a strong presence on social media is one of the most cost effective ways you have at your disposal to help you spread awareness about your product and reinforce your brand personality into every communication with your customers. Allocating budget to sink into advertising will mean you can also use your social media channels to run paid campaigns to gain more exposure for your business.
6. Align customer service efforts with your brand
Customer service is an element of branding that is often ignored – but shouldn’t be. Your brand values should also be alive and easily spotted in your communications with your customers – whether through your voice, tone, images, etc. – to help paint a cohesive picture of what your business stands for.
Keep in mind that with customer service, your reputation is at stake; the way you talk to your customers will almost certainly influence the public’s perception surrounding your business, especially if they have a bad experience. (For better or worse, consumers are more likely to be vocal about negative interactions with brands than positive ones).
7. Are you wearing a tailored suit or slipping into a hand me down one.
Though it may seem like you’ve finished building your brand, branding is a constant process that can change with time as you become more in sync with your customers’ desires and needs. That said, you’ll want to be confident that the foundation you’ve laid for your business and personal brand is strong and cohesive; you can always make changes later.
What you need to do today
Previous: Episode C3.02.3 Story telling versus story selling and customer alignment.
Next: Episode Season 3 Episode C3.04.3
The feedback loop for consistent improvement (User Friendly & Results driven) how is our product or service working for our customers now they are part of the family and how do we assess that and maintain our relationships and brand positioning.
Written by Simone Douglas
The Publican & Licensee of the Duke of Brunswick Hotel, Executive Director for BNI Adelaide North one of the biggest networking organisations in the world, the driving force behind South Australia’s leading social media agency, Social Media AOK and best-selling author with her first book “Seriously Social – turning your online game into real-world gain”. Her next book “The Confident Networker” is set for release on November 6th.
Simone also serves as Deputy President of the State Chapter Committee South Australia for the Franchise Council of Australia and sits on the Franchise Advisory Council for BNI Australia
You can connect with Simone on any of her seriously social platforms
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