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.

A Measure Of Progress

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

In the animal kingdom ‘more’ is often the best measure of success. Herds and hoarders have a better chance of survival. But ‘more’ isn’t always the best measure of human progress.

The longest queue isn’t always a sign of better quality.
The most sales don’t always lead to a more sustainable business.
The greatest number of Facebook likes isn’t always an indication of the deepest impact.
The biggest accolade doesn’t always lead to the greatest fulfilment.

A lot of what we do every day is done in the blind pursuit of attaining more without making a direct connection to the benefit we hope to reap. But the largest number isn’t always a measure of progress. Is accumulating more followers on social media the best way to grow your business? Can you continue to produce more products with the same sense of integrity? Will you be able to give the additional customers the experience they deserve? Why is this growth strategy right for you?

It’s just as important to be intentional about the reasons we desire growth as it is to grow.
Grow because you must, not because you think you should.

Image by Jamie McCaffrey

Ten Benefits Of Backstorytelling

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy

Since the explosive growth of the advertising industry that began on Madison Avenue in the 1920s, marketing has been about creating a story to make people want something. Conventional wisdom dictated that if you wanted to sell more of a thing, you appealed to a customer’s desire to improve his situation in the moment. Then when you needed to sell the next thing you did it again. Marketing became a game of rinse and repeat.

On the way to competing for attention and building brand awareness, companies neglected the opportunity to develop an affinity with their customers. A hundred years on we’re re-discovering the benefits of truthtelling and building deeper relationships with our customers. That journey to prioritising resonance begins by embracing and sharing our backstory.

Embracing And Sharing Our Backstory….

1. Connects us to our purpose and vision for our career or business.

2. Allows us to celebrate our strengths by remembering how we got from there to here.

3. Deepens our understanding of our unique value and what differentiates us in the marketplace.

4. Reinforces our core values.

5. Helps us to act in alignment and make values-based decisions.

6. Encourages us to be responsive to customers instead of being reactive to the marketplace.

7. Attracts customers who want to support businesses that reflect or represent their values.

8. Builds brand loyalty and gives customers a story to tell.

9. Attracts the kind of like-minded employees we want.

10.Helps us to stay motivated and continue to do work we’re proud of.

One of our most effective career and business development resources is hiding in plain sight. History, heritage and hindsight are powerful teachers. But we’re in too much of a hurry to reach higher ground to learn from them. Don’t be so busy trying to get from here to there, that you forget to embrace how you got from there to here. If you want to get better at connecting the dots between your past and your future, start with your backstory. My new book Story Driven shows you how.

Image by Marcel Schewe

Start Setting Your Brand Storytelling Goals

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy

We expect brand storytelling to do a lot of heavy lifting for our business. We want our story to engage prospective customers and communicate the value we create. We rely on storytelling to create a sense of belonging and encourage people to believe in our brand. Ultimately we expect that our story will convince and convert people from browsers to buyers and then later compel them to become raving fans. We embark on the storytelling journey with this huge set of expectations often without having clearly defined goals for our story strategy. Where should we begin?

Start by choosing a single, simple outcome that you can test and measure. Begin with that outcome and work backwards.

What’s the story you need to tell if your goal is to encourage people to sign up to receive more information? What message will resonate with existing customers you want to inform about your new product line? What’s the internal narrative of the new customers you’re trying to attract and how will you ensure your story aligns with what they care about?

A story is only as effective as the insight we have about the audience and our intention about where we hope to take them.

Image by Krystal K

The Difference Between A Weak Brand And A Strong Brand

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy, Marketing

The biggest mistake a brand can make is to try being all things to everyone. Weak brands settle for doing what’s easy or obvious. They appeal to the market of everyone, avoid the edges and thus become interchangeable with their competitors.

Strong brands know they are this and not that. They intentionally aspire to be something to someone and so become irreplaceable to their customers.

Who’s your someone? What do you want to be to them?

Image by Nathan Makan

The Choice

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy

We know how the trip will pan out even before we get on the tram. The driver is agitated. He uses his bell accordingly. He repeatedly ‘dings’ three times, announcing his tram’s presence on the road. His bell is warning system—reflecting his mood. Everything becomes an emergency. How the driver operates the bell changes his attitude and the way he drives the tram. It also changes the posture of the passengers on board. We collectively become jumpier.

Contrast the ‘treble ring’ warning system with the way most Melbourne tram drivers use the bell. They ‘ding’ in a potentially dangerous situation—to alert a cyclist and distracted pedestrians or to let passengers know the tram is about to start moving. Often their bell signals a friendly greeting to other tram drivers as they pass each other on the road. I can empathise with the ‘treble ring’ tram driver. Perhaps he’d just had one of those days? But he has more power than he realises.

We each get the chance to, as author Neil Gaiman says, ‘make the world better for our having been here.’ How we show up to do that is a choice.

Image by Edward Blake

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.

Send this to a friend