How to Find (and Share) Your Brand Story
First, what is a brand story? You might think your brand story is about your company or business. That's partly true. But people do business with people, so your brand story is really about you. AND there's a big caveat to that...
Talking about yourself may be uncomfortable but there is a way to do this which illustrates your expertise without being perceived as egotistical. The challenge is not too many people do this well.
Your brand story can also be called your origin story, or your "why" story. It's why you do the work you do, not WHAT work you do. The "what" are just facts. And As Annette Simons writes in The Story Factor, "Facts don't make it real. Story makes it real."
To build a lasting connection with people, you want to make it real for them and you can do that with story.
But to be a "story" you must include certain elements, otherwise it's just talk. Blah, blah, blah...
Oftentimes we don't get to the "why" when we meet new people. Think of a networking situation. We lead with the "what" and see people tune out because they can't relate or don't need what we're selling at the time we meet them. But creating and telling a story can help you build more meaningful relationships which can lead to business opportunities.
How to Find your Brand Story
So, why do you do the work you do? That question might sound intimidating or confusing. Stick with me. If you feel stuck, you may need to give it some time to reflect. Read through the following questions and jot down any and all ideas that come up. Consider a deeper reason to the work you do now.
- How did you find yourself in the professional role you hold right now? (Not the chronology of your resume.)
- Why are you here, on this earth, right now? (What's your purpose?)
- What drives and motivates you? (What is fun for you?)
Likely, there is a deeper meaning to why you do what you do. Let's consider the example of a realtor.
As a real estate agent, you may have pursued that line of work because of the opportunity to make money and work independently. But your "why" story, is more than that. Perhaps you grew up in a military family moving from place to place without stability. Now, that's the start of a story with a character that people can relate to! Even if they haven't had that exact experience it makes them feel something.
At first you may find just the seeds of a story but nevertheless, it's the beginning of a story. And that can make you memorable.
The caveat I mentioned earlier is to make your audience the center of the story. When you make them the hero instead of yourself, it's an opportunity to become relatable. So, your story may be about your lived experience but the reason you tell it is to relate to others.
How to Share Your Brand Story
The first part of "how" is to understand the elements of a story in the first place. Stories are part of the human condition and therefore they stick with us. We remember stories. Think of your favorite story as a kid, a warning-story your parents used to keep you safe, or even your favorite film.
From Joseph Campbell's "The Hero's Journey" to the dramatic arc of Freytag, stories have a structure.
They are perhaps the longest-lasting tradition and have only multiplied in the number of ways in which they can be delivered.
As a business owner, you may wondering what opportunities you have for "storytelling." Here are a few examples:
- Website: Home or About page
- Networking situations
- Speaking opportunity
- Sharing a testimonial from a customer
- Social media videos and posts
- Training and onboarding staff
- Building referral relationships
- Anytime you introduce yourself and someone asks you the pervasive question, "So, what do you do?"
Sharing your professional stories in a business setting, is all about making a great impression and being remembered positively.
If you need help developing your brand story, or any other type of business story, don't hesitate to reach out direct. I help small business owners stand out, build influence and become unforgettable with storytelling in a number of ways including training teams, 1-on-1 for business owners and leaders, and with animated explainer videos and voice over work. It's all storytelling!