Remember when you asked your parents to 'tell me a story'. We all love sharing stories even now. Whether this is reading a book, listening to a podcast or watching a movie, we all consume stories by the bucket load.
You should be viewing your business as a story to be told that people will be able to distinguish from your rivals. Think about how Google and Fedex have become verbs - ‘just Google it’ has become common language. They went beyond their products and became something clear which resonates strongly with their audience.
Now we aren’t saying your company will become a rival to Netflix, or anyone of these huge companies, but you can certainly become a company that does more than sales, you can tell a story too. Here is how:
We assume you have a pretty good idea of who your typical buyer is. You’ll know what type of age they are; what they purchase, and if you have a physical store - you will know what time they will pop in. That’s great, now why not get this information and create your typical customer. This is an exercise referred to as 'persona mapping', and it’s a great way to really know your customer. Create as many aspects of your fictional customer as possible. Give them a name, an age, a gender and even what their priorities in life are. This is used by businesses all over the world so it could certainly work for you.
Now that you know who your audience are, think of how you are going to speak to them. If your audience are over the age of 70, using acronyms such as LOL (laugh out loud) in your shop window or in emails isn’t a good idea. Have a clear idea of how you want to sound and be clear about the words you want to avoid. Once you know what tone you are going for, keep it consistent. So if you decide to create a Facebook or Twitter page don’t speak to your audience differently on each account.
This is really key. You might know how the features of your product or service might benefit your customers, but do they know? If it isn’t clear, you'll need to make it so. How will Emily down the road benefit from the hair extensions that you offer; why does Phil the plumber need your extra attention for bookkeeping over all the other accountancy practises close by. Apply this thinking to your business. Ask how someone will benefit from what you are offering in terms of what it will do to improve their everyday life. We suggest these clear benefits come through on every medium. This includes your website, in store, or whatever type of marketing material you decide to use to promote your business. Just remember to ask yourself, how will your customer’s life be improved by what you are offering? When this becomes clear for them, they will be more likely to purchase from you.
Another very important part of storytelling is getting across what your company stands for. This is something totally separate from what you are offering. It’s about what you’re setting out to do, how you see your business in the world. And more importantly, how do you see yourself in relation to your customers. It’s also about how you treat your staff - if you have any. For example, you might offer employees some great perks like free lunch on a Friday or flexible working options for parents. All of this tells a story about your company in terms of what you value and what you want to achieve - beyond merely selling your product or service.
Take a look at the band Coldplay. If you have been to any of their concerts, you will see a lot of colour in the form of bracelets. This effectively turned a concert into an experience for the audience. Think about this in relation to your business. What colours are you using for your logo, website, flyers and emails. Do these colours reflect what you are about or trying to achieve. We aren’t saying be Coldplay - but ask yourself, what colours would you like associated with your business. Look at McDonalds and how the iconic yellow arches compliments the red backdrop so perfectly. Or how the green of the Starbucks symbol reflects their commitment to sourcing products in an ethical way. This is how you need to question your use of colours.
Staying with the design, we will now focus on the logo. This is the most visual part of your brand, so it’s important you get it right. A great logo is crucial to any brand as it will be used on anything associated with your company, whether that's the website, on the front of your store or even on company stationery. Try and be memorable and different - that is what will make you stand out.
Another way you could tell a story is by telling an actual story in the form of blog posts. This is particularly relevant if you have a website that you want updated with regular new content. This type of original content is great for quite a few reasons. Firstly, it is a great way to showcase the knowledge you possess about your industry and it’s also excellent to showcase across your social media platforms. Blogs are also very handy if you are looking for your website to rank highly on certain words. You could even get someone influential in your industry to write a guest piece for you, which could prove to be very helpful if you’re looking to gain links from other prominent websites.
Looking for a bit of inspiration to get you started with telling your business story? Take a look at our range of interesting and motivational blogs to get you going.