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.

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

The Best Of Us

filed in Brand Story, Success

Our youngest son got his first paying job at a fast food restaurant this summer. He’d walked up and down the street handing out resumes for days and got a single call back. He was interviewed over the phone and invited in for trial one evening. He got the gig. Twenty dollars an hour and as many shifts as he could handle taking orders and wiping tables late into the night. The shifts ran from the evening until the early hours of the morning. Sometimes he was barely in bed before dawn. But he stuck with it for the entire summer without complaining. Then one day he mentioned he hadn’t been paid for a couple of weeks. His boss owed him over a thousand dollars in back pay.

My husband and I reacted as many parents would. We were suddenly on guard, wary that our child (who is his own man now) wasn’t exploited. We offered unhelpful suggestions about what he should do next, telling him he probably shouldn’t work more shifts until he was paid. Our boy didn’t blink. Not showing up wasn’t an option. He’d committed, they were short staffed. He wouldn’t let his other team members down.

I remember when he was seven years old and winning prizes for being top in everything at school. The quiet, watchful blonde kid with deep brown eyes, who seemed to make no effort and yet always come out on top. After an assembly where he was awarded a medal for the best piece of creative writing in the state, one of the class Mums approached me. She had two questions. ‘What does he read? What do you feed him?’ I laughed until I realised she wasn’t joking.

People who don’t know our son judge him by his academic performance. He’s evaluated by his grades and ability to ‘achieve’ in the conventional sense of the word. What they don’t often see is the real measure of him. His kindness. His sense of fairness. His tenacity. His wicked sense of humour. His character. The things that can’t be measured. The things that make him, him.

He will probably be picked one day because of how he looks on paper—for his scores or the number of research papers he’s published. Whoever works with him won’t know until later why they are lucky to have him on their team.

Our stories are not defined only by what is seen and known. The imagination can’t always capture the best and the beauty of us.

Image by Robin Jaffray

How To Craft A Powerful Message

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy

The acceptance speeches are the highlight of every Oscars ceremony. I’m a sucker for them. It’s fascinating to see how the best communicators in the world share their personal message in a just minute or two. This year, actress Frances McDormand stole the show. This wasn’t an accident. Frances knew how she should craft her message to create the change she was seeking. And while our delivery may not be as fabulous as Frances’, we can get better at crafting more powerful messages by following these three steps.

Three Steps To Crafting A Powerful Message

1. Determine the who
Who is your audience?
Why are they here?
What do they care about?

2. Work out your what
What do you want the audience to know, think, feel, say and do as a result of hearing your message?

3. Work on your how
How can you craft and deliver the message in a way that helps you to achieve your goal?

All great storytellers begin with the end in mind.

Image by Kevo Thomson

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