Once Upon A Brand [By Phyllis Koh]

Every organization has a story to tell. These stories are not your corporate profiles, although they do contribute to a small part of the story. Beyond the incorporation day of your company and what exceptional products or services you offer, people want to know the story about why your brand exist. While it’s completely fine to say “money”, how does making money set you apart from the next brand that comes along? Below are some thoughts you might have on brand stories…

“I don’t need a brand story. I have a good product.”

Studies have shown that people are more motivated by an organization’s greater purpose than functional purpose. Regardless the size of your company, it’s about how you are solving a problem, not how you are selling a product or service. Take your customers on the journey that you’ve probably been through countless times and tell them how your brand exists to improve their lives to gain their recognition.

“I don’t have a story.”

Why be a commodity when you can be something more? Think about why your customers should come back to your brand even when you increase prices or change hands. Dictate the unique space in the market that you are in, the problem that you are addressing, the solution and the value that you bring which differentiates you from others. Carefully set the groundwork for the brand and prepare it for future growth. Once you sort these out, you are on the way to creating a powerful story for customers to buy into.

“I want everyone to like my story.”

Targeting everyone is targeting no one. You can’t shoot a bullet and expect it to kill ten different preys. Likewise, your story is going to attract like-minded customers, not everyone. It’s important to first determine your brand’s personality and the type of customers you are speaking to before setting the stage for the rest to fall in place. Are you targeting bargain hunters, experience seekers or brand chasers? Different types of customers have different traits. Identify them, study them, understand them and bond with them.

“I can get a copywriter to make up a story.”

A brand story is more than the copy on your website or a catchy tagline. It consists of facts, feelings, interactions and interpretations of your brand. Unfortunately, these are things that are difficult to keep up with if they are made up. People today do not passively consume advertisements anymore. They long to be engaged and interact with the information they receive. This constant conversation will reveal the brand’s true personality over time so it’s not advisable to go with a faux persona. Besides, with our over reliance on social media and buzzwords like “customer experience” taking the lead, we need to admit that brand stories are no longer solely written by brand owners. Your brand sits in between you and everyone that experiences it in any shape or form. Nonetheless, it is your duty to get the foundation right by infusing your story with your brand’s personality and genuinely connecting your customers with your brand. Once they are connected, they will contribute to your story in the way you set it out to be.

“I’ll leave others to tell the story when necessary.”

It starts from you. The brand is yours and so is the responsibility of building it. Make the story a part of who you are. In everything you do, constantly remind yourself why your brand exists. Make sure everyone that interacts with your brand knows and becomes active ambassadors of your brand that passes the story on. Be present on relevant platforms and curate the content to ensure that every step taken is in line with the story that you want to convey. Live, breathe and build the brand.

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