Dr. Sharon Livingston
THE 7 PILLARS OF SUCCESSFUL BRANDING: Pillar #2 Telling Your Story
People, businesses and corporations need compelling stories.
Why? Because in today’s world there are so many people and companies competing for the same audiences. And the fact is, you probably offer almost the same list of features and benefits that others do.
Marketers talk about the need for a USP - unique selling proposition. It’s what separates you from your competition.
According to a study by Millward Brown which studied brands from 2006 to 2015, differentiation is the single most important contributor to a brand’s success. The top 50 brands in the world achieved an average Difference Score of 139, while the next 50 scored an average of 96. That’s a significant and substantial difference.
But how do you differentiate yourself, your business, your company if you offer the same as the rest of your competitors?
One powerful and ownable way to distinguish yourself, is by infusing your communications with a story that’s unique to your experience. What brought you to where you are today? How did it all begin? What made it important to you?
The story becomes your differentiator; the individual fingerprint that only you can own.
Stories are powerful because they build emotional connections with your audiences. Those emotional associations create the glue that makes you memorable and relevant to your target audiences.
Facts alone are often forgotten. Think about trying to memorize dates in history. The best history teachers wove stories that brought the events to life and helped you place them on a timeline. In context of a compelling narrative it became far easier to remember the date and place and key players. And retelling an intriguing story that you feel compelled to share strengthens it further.
Your story resonates with something that people care about and want to buy into, be part of. Your story connects who you are and what you offer with something beyond the feature and functionality of products and services. It fosters the creation of a meaningful bond with others, with your customers.
So what might your story be? . . .
How did you get here? Why did you choose this path? How does it serve your interests, values and beliefs? What do you offer that’s unique to your experience based on your story that will create intrigue, be unusual or mysterious and invite an emotional connection to your audience[s]?
Here’s one about the late Steve Jobs creator of Apple.
When Apple was working on its first iPod, its engineers presented Steve Jobs with a prototype. After careful examination, Steve thought it was too big.
They argued with him, that it wasn’t possible to make it smaller with such powerful and complicated components that needed to fit inside. Unconvinced, Jobs walked over to the fish tank and dropped the iPod prototype in it. As the device began to sink, numerous air bubbles escaped and started rising to the top of the tank. When it reached the bottom, Steve Jobs said:
“Those are air bubbles. That means there’s space in there. Make it smaller.” — Steve Jobs
This particular story above captures us because
- it’s easily memorable,
- shocking, and
- AND, it changes the way we think a CEO normally reacts. It humanizes him; he seems real.
This story highlights the values that were so important to Jobs as well as Apple:
- risk-taking and
Make sense? Can you start to think about a story you might tell that in some meaningful way encapsulates your persona, your company’s personality?
Send me your story and I’ll give feedback to the first 4 who respond.
Here’s to engaging stories and once again, to you getting to know you better.