Have you ever read a book so good you couldn’t put it down? If so, you’re not alone. Many people have come across compelling stories that connect with our emotions, make us think and encourage action.
As a business, you crave that same result. In an ideal world, your brand story would attract the interest of your target audience, help them see the value of your products/services and turn prospects into long-term customers.
Like a book though, that first blank page of your brand story can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right approach in place — let’s call them chapters in telling your brand story — you’ll have the foundation to create your own compelling narrative.
While elements like age, gender and income are helpful to know about your target demographic, this only scratches the surface of how to resonate with potential customers. What are their biggest concerns and priorities in the workplace? Where do they turn for industry news? What brands do they admire? Asking these questions will help foster deeper connections by replacing generalizations and stereotypes with validated information.
To get these answers, have conversations with customers who have already purchased your product or used your service. As you learn about their behaviors as they relate to your business, you can compare these observations to assumptions and establish a common language to use in your communications with prospects. This stretches from the SEO and keyword focus of your content marketing to the voice and tone you use across various platforms.
By pairing this information with analytics about actual user journeys, your company can become more successful in converting visitors into engaged users. This was the case for Just Add Ice, a top floral brand. Examining the pages users most often clicked and those driving the most conversions, among other elements, prompted the Kuno team to add more prominent calls to action on the Just Add Ice website to point to care resources and the company’s Shopify site. In conjunction with other website updates and marketing activities, the brand saw an uptick in website engagement and a 30% increase in new contacts.
However, this wasn’t the first chapter in the story we share with this brand. In fact, it began by helping them choose a name. People thought caring for exotic plants was hard, so the name “Just Add Ice” moves toward a simplified experience that fits the lifestyle of their target audience. Combined with a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy, this has helped the company attract the attention of top retail companies and become a common household name.
When you think about building your legacy as a brand, it’s not just innovative products and services that should be the focus. It’s something broader than that. For Southwest Airlines, it’s to become the world’s most loved, most flown and most profitable airline. For Amazon, it’s to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.
These future-based initiatives are what we call vision statements — an important part of the brand story. All of a company’s foresight is compiled into a single powerful statement that serves to inspire employees and showcase their aspirations to prospects.
When formalizing a vision statement for your business, keep these factors in mind:
CareATC, a population health management company, does a great job of balancing these elements, with a particular nod to staying specific.
While we’re on the topic of your vision statement, there’s also another statement you’ll want to make: your mission statement. What separates these two points is a matter of time. Whereas your vision focuses on where you want to be, your mission focuses on what you’re doing in the present to make this happen.
For comparison, let’s circle back to the two businesses highlighted above. Here are their mission statements:
As these examples showcase, mission statements are where a company’s values can (and should) be made visible. These values are best developed in collaborative sessions that include various stakeholders, with finalized values reflected in your mission statement and circulated elsewhere. Not only will the end result keep employees focused on their objectives, but it will give customers a clear understanding of how you can deliver them value now.
As a full-service finance and HR transformation consultancy, Collaborative Solutions wanted to make sure its commitment to envision goals, enable technologies and empower customers was reflected in its mission statement. This led to a simple but powerful message.
When selling a product or service, every business is on the hunt for that competitive edge. Whatever your unique selling proposition may be, it’s important to make this differentiator known to potential customers so they understand your value over competitors.
Like other chapters in the brand storybook, developing a unique selling proposition (USP), or value proposition, requires time and a strong relationship with your agency. In fact, we’ve been a part of some of our client’s conversations on this topic before.
If you’re looking for some inspiration in developing your USP, here are a few examples from well-known brands to consider:
When it comes to where people see and experience your USP, the answer is the same as other parts of your brand story. Your website, social media and customers all fall under this umbrella.
Like any good book, a great brand story begins with a lot of thought and preparation. By dedicating your time to buyer persona interviews, developing vision and mission statements and identifying your unique selling proposition, you’ll not only find that your brand story is easier to write over time, but that it also has more of an impact on the people you want it to reach.