A pitch is what you tell the world about you. It’s presented as the polished version of your story. The one you hope people will grasp and believe within a few short minutes as they reach for their wallets.
Your pitch and your story are two very different things.
So how is a brand storytelling different from pitching?
A brand story is not told it is lived. Your brand story evolves over time, but is grounded in a purpose that doesn’t change. It’s not just the lines of carefully crafted copy on your about page. Your brand story is communicated in the values your company stands for, how your staff greet customers, that hurried email you sent, in your website design and product packaging. Anything that the customer touches or that touches the customer is your brand story.
Your story begins with culture—your brand’s intention and unique way of being and operating in the world. Just as you’d recongnise the silhouette of a friend in the distance or a close relative’s voice over the phone, your brand has a presence that is greater than the sum of its parts.
We know a Dr Marten shoe when we see it, the tone of an Apple advert and the shape of the Chobani yogurt cup even without the logo. We can sense the culture of an organisation in the posture of the people who work there and the care taken by a manufacturer when we hold a well-made garment in our hands.
The story is what we show as well as tell. It is what customers sense and say (and sometimes what they don’t). It is also things we don’t do or control directly, but sometimes enable. Conversations and exchanges, tiny moments of truth and expressions of self.
We invest a great deal of time and resources in perfecting and telling our stories and polishing our pitches. It’s worth remembering to commit just as much to understanding how and showing why those stories should matter to the very people we hope will believe us.
Image by Sasha Cresdee.