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Why do people buy from you rather than your competition? Why should they? Do you give them a good reason to?
Think about why you made your last purchase, whether it was a latte to a laptop. Why did you choose the product you chose at the time that you chose it?
Chances are that it was due in part to the brand. It’s also fairly likely that was not an impulse decision, but that you have known that brand for a while.
You may even know some details about the company, or perhaps you researched the company before you bought from them.
Your customers are no different than you. Although Apple phones and computers are more expensive than many of their PC counterparts, they still have a loyal following and sell millions of products online.
How do they do it? Through their brand story. Their users connect with them on a deeper level than just their products.
Do you want to have that kind of following? Then it is vital that you share your brand story. What is that story, though, and how do you tell it?
Who Are You?
This is a question that is easy to answer for some brands, harder for others. What name comes to mind when you think of Apple? Microsoft? Facebook? Amazon?
Yes, these brands all have a recognizable face behind the company they lead. There are two aspects to those names, though:
Each has a personal brand
When we think of Jeff Bezos, we think not only of Amazon, but of who he is, and his public persona.
The truth is, everyone in an organization, from the entry level employee to the top office, must develop and cultivate their own brand, who they are apart from the company they work for.
Each has a company persona
Steve Jobs was seen as the creative genius behind many of the products that propelled Apple to its initial success. The story of Jeff Bezos is that of a man who rose to run one of the largest online retailers in the world from his beginning of shipping books out of his garage.
Customers want to know where you came from, and they want to know that they can relate to you and your journey.
How did your company get its start? What is its founding story.
In recent ads, Ford has gone back to its roots in this area. “It’s not about a merger, or a partnership with another brand,” they say, a clear dig at Damier-Chrysler. “It’s our family name.”
In these ads, Ford is stressing the importance of the continuity in their story, and how the company was founded.
It is hoped that consumers will relate and choose Ford over other brands as a result. There are four reasons this helps any business:
- Customer Perception
- Competitor Differentiation
- Customer Recognition
- Ongoing Maintenance
As this matters to large brands like Ford and Apple, how much more important should it be to you and your company and brand?
Relating well to your customer is one of the keys to sales and customer satisfaction.
The Importance of Your Why
“People don’t buy from you because of what you do, but because of why you do it,” says Simon Sinek in an often viewed and quoted Ted Talk in which he also discusses Apple and other companies who start with why rather than with what they do.
He emphasizes that this is how great leaders inspire action in their followers and in their customers alike.
This is a brilliant way to structure your company culture and to reach prospects. How do you incorporate this into your story?
It is simple as going back to why you started the company you did, besides just the money. Steve Jobs wanted to fulfill customer wants and needs before they even knew they had them.
Out of that “why” was born the iPhone and the iPod, devices that changed the cell phone industry.
What is your why, and how will it change your customer’s lives?
When you learn to tell this story, it will not only transform their lives, but your industry, your company, and perhaps even the world.
People want to understand your company’s mission and the impacts you have on society. The more you focus on what you do, the more you will struggle with your competitors to stand out.
Your why is different than theirs, and the story of your why is what will set you apart.
The Elements of Your Brand Story
To tell your brand story, you must understand that there are common elements to every story, an understanding that can translate to many other marketing efforts on your part.
Those elements are as follows when applied to the marketing world:
- A Beginning: How did your story start? Where did the idea for starting your business come from?
- A Conflict or Your Opposition: What things, people, or circumstances worked against you achieving your goals? What obstacles did you have to overcome?
- A Low Point: There was probably a low point, one at which you thought all was lost. How did you turn things around at that moment, and what did you learn from that.
- An Ending: While you may not have arrived, there is a happy ending. You have succeeded in bringing to market a product or service that customers want or need.
Think of this in relationship to the sales funnel, and when you understand the parallel of your brand story, it will help you see its importance.
- The Beginning (Awareness): The customer realizes they have a need or want.
- Conflict or Opposition (Pain Points): These are the obstacles that stand in the way of them solving their problem or fulfilling those wants.
- A Low Point: This can be anything from information overload and analysis paralysis to an inability to find the product and service that will solve their problems or satisfy them.
- An Ending (Decision Point): Your product or service stands out as the one that meets their needs, and they decide to buy.
Both of these endings are often defined as “Happily for Now” or HFN in the fiction world. They may need to buy your product again or renew their subscription.
At some point they may want new features and benefits, and you will need to journey with them and grow to meet their needs.
As you grow together, this becomes the ongoing part of your brand story.
You must share that story consistently through your website by taking advantage of the benefits of blogging, in your social media, and in all of your marketing materials.
Define a Happy Ending
What is a happy ending for both you and your customers? That is simple, really. It is when your journey’s unite, and at least a part of your stories merge.
How many Apple users are so tied to their brand loyalty that they act as ambassadors and defend company missteps even when they are obvious (like recent Macbook keyboard issues)?
A simple Google search reveals a lot of them.
Do you want to inspire that kind of loyalty? Do you want customers to follow you for your why and continue to use you over and over, recommending you to their friends, family, and social connections?
How do you inspire that in your customers?
The answer is through sharing your brand story.
It is not only important in a competitive landscape where it is essential that you stand out, but to your brand’s future, and the loyalty that will make your customers fans for life.