Unlock the magic in your story now.

Get the free 20 Questions to ask before launching your Idea Workbook when you sign up for updates.

The Art Of Making Progress

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy

If only your business had more media exposure.
If only you could get the materials cheaper.
If only all the reviews were positive.
If only the website had more traffic.
If only your colleagues responded.
If only every employee listened.
If only more browsers bought.

We spend a lot of time thinking about how to change things that are often out of our control, instead of taking action on the things we can influence and impact. We only begin to make progress when we stop trying to control the outcome.

The people who change the world start walking the path—they don’t waste time waiting for others to catch up.

Image by Joelene Knapp

Four Stories Every Business Needs

filed in Brand Story, Marketing

Every marketer knows he needs to tell his customers a story about what he’s creating—one he hopes will help them buy into his idea or buy his product.

The second story is that of his existing customer and her relationship with his product or service. The best business leaders reflect on how using their product impacts customers’ lives and look for opportunities to engage, improve and build loyalty.

The third story it’s important to understand is that of the next customer he hopes to serve—her challenges, hopes, dreams and worldviews.

The fourth, and most overlooked is the story of the customer he shouldn’t serve. The potential customer who falls into his target demographic, but who doesn’t share his company’s values or is unlikely to be the kind of client who will enable him to do his best work.

Many businesses devote a disproportionate amount of time trying to woo and please people who will never become their ideal customers. It stands to reason that it’s better to devote the bulk of your resources to those you really want to matter to. And yet, we often fall into the trap of structuring our businesses to placate the naysayers instead of doubling down on delighting the believers. It pays to know which is which.

Image by Lisa Dusseault

The Power Of A Shared Brand Narrative

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy

The doors of the department store are barely open and Chris is setting up for a busy day ahead at Mecca. Most of the sales assistants at the other beauty counters don’t glance up as a customer walks through. They’re expecting tyre kickers this early in the day. Chris is different. He’s aware and attentive, without being pushy. I discover he’s been with the company for ten years—moving from Saturday boy to manager and fragrance specialist. He clearly loves what he does. When I ask Chris the secret to the brand’s success, he doesn’t miss a beat before responding. It’s the founder’s consistent vision which hasn’t changed from day one. She always aspired to become Australasia’s number one beauty destination, delivering a bespoke, high touch customer experience.

How many of us, (or those who work with us) could so clearly articulate what it is that differentiates our brand with such conviction and without hesitation? This is the power of having a shared narrative—of knowing the reason your brand exists and what change you aspire to make in the world, then living that in everything your brand does. It’s not easy to plot the impact of having a clear purpose and vision on a spreadsheet—which is why deliberately designing a business around them is often overlooked. And yet, when we dig deeper, we find that beloved brands that are successful by every measure do exactly that.

Chris is empowered to deliver the best service because he, like everyone else who works for the company knows where they’re headed and how they will get there. Your brand’s story has the power to be a map, mirror and magnet—keeping you on track and attracting like-minded people who want to create the future with you.

Where are you headed and how exactly are you planning to get there?

Image by Heather Katsoulis.

Mean It Like You Say It

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy, Marketing

The Sunday ice-cream scooper at the gelato place on Spring Street makes new customers sample every flavour before they buy anything. She knows her gelato inside and out. Her enthusiasm is infectious. She reels off the most popular flavours and tells stories about how pistachio lovers always return to pistachio having tried everything else because it’s that good. Sunday scooper believes in her product. She may only work one day a week in the lowliest position in the company but training her to love the gelato is the best investment the boss has ever made.

Far too often we fail to think deeply about and celebrate what differentiates us from others, and so we flounder when it comes to articulating our value. If we’re telling a story we believe in, it shows. There is no better marketing strategy.
When you say it, do you mean it?

Imange by Alpha.

The Incremental Advantage

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy, Marketing, News

Despite what we know about how distracted our customers can be and how endless their choices are, when it comes to our messaging and marketing, we often overestimate our ability to cut through. You only have to spend five minutes watching someone scrolling through a feed on their smartphone (try it), or see how the guy reading a newspaper at your local cafe bypasses most of the content to get to the parts that interest him, for the reality we’re facing to sink in.

Instead of framing this as a challenge see it as an opportunity. Great innovators, committed business owners and unselfish marketers can thrive by planning to engage more deeply with their audience over time. The promise of the digital marketing era was that it would be faster and cheaper to reach more people. That promise didn’t guarantee deeper engagement, loyalty and more sales.

Now more than ever, even in a fast-paced digital world there is no time for marketing emergencies. We still make progress in increments.

Image by Jeroen Looyé.

Unlock the magic in your story now.

Get the free 20 Questions to ask before launching your Idea Workbook when you sign up for updates.