There’s a lot of talk at the moment around telling your brand story, which is great. It’s something I feel truly passionate about. But, it seems there’s also a lot of confusion as to what this actually means…

Storytelling isn’t about spinning yarns or creating fairy tales. Telling your brand story is about connecting your business to your customers – in a way your brand story isn’t really about you at all. It’s all about the customer, and I think the best way to explain this is to look at an example.

Let’s try Google. One of the biggest brands in the world. A search engine. If I asked you to tell me Google’s brand story, where would you start? Perhaps you’d think about how the company started. Why it’s called Google. How it came to dominate the market… And while these are all very interesting facts (honest), they’re not really doing much to connect with me as a customer.

But, if I were to tell you about a elderly chap who, due to a military uprising, had to move suddenly when he was a child, separating him from his best friend, whom he had loved like a brother and had not seen since. Your ears would probably start to prick up.

Now, if I went on to tell you that this chap told his granddaughter all about his childhood friend, and how they had run around together through the streets of his home town. He told her about how much he missed his friend and wondered what he was doing now. And using this information, she was able to search on Google Maps and find the family business of this old friend of her grandfather’s. She then contacted them and  arranged for her grandfather’s friend to fly meet them. Everything they needed could be found through Google – maps, street view, business info, telephone numbers, flight details, travel information, weather… the list goes on and on. So now you see that Google’s brand story isn’t about data, or who founded them, or anything remotely dull. It’s about people. Connecting people – bringing them together in real human stories.

So, you may think that you don’t really have a story to tell. You just offer a boring service. Or that your Instagram account isn’t worth bothering with because you don’t make anything pretty… But you’ll most definitely be wrong on all accounts.

The key to finding your brand story is to think about your customer. How do you add value to people’s lives? How do you ease their troubles, or meet their needs? What is unique about you? Or the services you offer? Is there anything inspiring about what you do? Can you connect on a personal level with your customers?  A compelling brand story gives your audience a way to connect with you. Not a faceless corporation, but a living, breathing you.

If Google had an instagram account what would it look like? It would be full of people. People connecting with people. Meeting. Falling in love. Getting lost and then found again. Sharing first smiles, first walks, first days at school. Growing old and finding old friends. It would be a very interesting account.

Get your brand story right and it’s no more ‘once upon a time, and a lot more ‘happily ever after’.

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