Written by: Margaret Warner
Are you a start-up, Fortune 500 company, or a business somewhere in between? Are you looking to cut through industry noise with precision and intention? Do you want your brand to stand out from all the rest?
It all comes down to how you craft your brand story.
From Gilgamesh to Ted Talks, storytelling is at the core of humanity. It’s how we – as individuals and as brands – share helpful information, pass along our values, influence the perceptions of others, and hopefully leave the world a bit more beautiful than we found it.
Whether we’re sharing stories with our loved ones or working to transform how target customers view a brand, there are a few best practices that will always ring true. Implement these the next time you’re shaping a brand narrative across traditional and emerging public relations tactics, and rest assured you’ll see improved responses that get you closer to achieving your strategic objectives.
Know your end-game. Before you mull over the perfect idea and ultimately stare at a blank page for hours, write down the one to two items you need to accomplish. Ask yourself, “What do I need my customer to think and do to be successful?” Work backwards from there.
Uniquely frame your story. Find an original angle or counterpoint that sets you apart from competitors. The best way to accomplish this is through research. You must first understand current trends and storylines associated with comparable products, services, or other related offerings before you can form a narrative that enables your brand to stand out.
Prioritize clarity and conciseness. You can have the highest quality offering in the marketplace, but that won’t matter if your story is confusing, long-winded or jam-packed with information. Just because you are better and different from your competitors in a multitude of ways, that doesn’t mean you should throw your kitchen sink of awesomeness at the customer. Also, always remove yourself from the technical and institutional knowledge you have in the space, and then write and communicate your most salient points through straightforward language.
But… Remember storytelling is equal parts art and science. Mixed in the secret sauce of brand awareness is an artfully-crafted story that lingers with your target audience and keeps them connected to it long after they hear from you. The most efficient way to accomplish this is by forming storylines that leave customers thinking about your brand through a generally warm and optimistic lens. So, once you have your strategic goals outlined and the necessary technical components of the story incorporated, sprinkle in personal elements that will authentically connect the customer to the brand.
Keep focused when crafting a brand narrative, but don’t force it. The best stories and ideas will flow out when you have a clear vision and create space for creativity. However, when a persistent grind towards the right words, themes and reference points feels necessary to combat mental blocks, my trick is to go back to the strategic goals.
What’s the end-game? What constitutes success? What do my customers need to think and do to get there?
Answer those questions, and the narrative will reveal itself.
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