Imagine you’re in the market for a new vacuum cleaner.
Vacuum cleaners are boring, but you need to have one. You read specifications and look at store deals until your eyes cross.
And then, you come across the story of a woman who fosters pit bulls in her home for people whose cities have passed breed-specific laws. You look at the sweet faces of the dogs, and she talks about the struggle of keeping her house clean.
Giving up the dogs isn’t an option, but she now uses vacuum Brand X, and it’s made such a difference in the lives of her dogs and family. You shed a tear for how beautiful humanity can be… and then you buy the vacuum she uses.
Welcome to Story Driven Marketing.
What’s a Signature Story?
There’s a reason you bought the vacuum that you did. Humans are wired for storytelling, so building a client base is all about creating a relationship. In the anonymous world of the internet, that relationship is difficult because your customers don’t face to face with you.
Instead, they identify with a person who uses your product or service, and that identification becomes the basis for their relationship. Specifications won’t sell your stuff; an emotional connection will.
These stories create an authentic brand through strategic messaging. A story shares a company’s brand mission and values far better than a recitation of facts… and a customer is more likely to read or listen all the way to the end.
How do I create a Signature Story?
You’ll need to take a look at your products and figure out how to make people the focus. Your customers don’t care about product features alone. They care about how these features solve pain points and make their lives better. Keep the following things in mind:
- It needs to be a real person sharing a real story. This part is essential because relationship building is the core purpose of Story Driven Marketing.
- Customers must feel a genuine connection to the story you are telling.
- Take the focus off selling the product and put it onto the human element.
- If your brand story is a hastily created smokescreen for your sales page, your audience will know. It’s not enough to have a presence on the internet; most people have interacted with internet branding long enough to smell something phoney.
Make It Easily Shareable
The second part is making it simple for your customers to share your story.
- Short term views might be exciting, but if your audience isn’t reliably sharing your content, it won’t go very far.
- The scope of the story needs to take into consideration your customers’ sharing habits.
- Content marketing budgets might not be able to offer paid brand ambassador positions.
- Organic visibility creates better relationships than sponsored content because when your customers choose to share your story with their personal networks, they are more deeply involved.
- Your story needs to have enduring relevance. As people share, your company’s reach grows.
- The story needs to embody a core value or message of your brand so that it is evergreen content.
- The story provides direction over time, and as it’s retold, that message gains traction.
- You must be mindful of the story you choose and how you tell it to take advantage of this long-term view.
- Look at your brand vision and where you are going with your business. This refines your message and allows you to be clear about each story’s purpose in furthering your relationships and company goals.
- People gravitate towards a brand that they perceive has the same values as they do, so this story is an essential part of product’s appeal. Again, people aren’t just buying features. They are buying how this product will change their lives.
- Online marketing is full of visual clutter and competing messages. The Signature Story breaks through that clutter and offers a genuine message to a customer base that’s easy to connect with and infinitely shareable.
- Above all, the story must be thought-provoking. Your audience needs to find the story entertaining, newsworthy, or interesting to have a reason to share it. Again, temporary views aren’t enough. You’re going for long-term vision.
- The targets are current customers and brand loyalists as these will be most likely to share. From here, redefine your target audience to help you know how to direct your story.
- What kind of person is most likely to connect with and believe in your brand mission?
- For your brand to stand out in a sea of specs and features, competing messages and marketing jostling, having a story that condenses the brand mission through a genuine human connection is critical to staying competitive.
Your brand story is more than the products. It’s the long-term vision of your company and its place in the world. Having this simple strategy in place lets your customers relate to you in a personal way the way we used to in the days of exclusively face to face, small business.