As a business owner, you already know the value of what it is that you provide. But do your customers know?
Using your business’s brand to tell a story is a great way to let customers know how and why you’re valuable.
For some of you, this might be the first time you’ve thought about that, and that’s okay! We’re here to guide you so that you can take your business to the next level.
Let’s get started.
Why Your Brand Needs to Tell a Story
You've got enough on your plate. You wake up early to clean the shop, count cash and confirm you're staffed for the day. And that’s only the beginning!
It's a lot, and we get it. That's why we're turning to author Donald Miller. His book, Building A Story Brand, tells you exactly what you need to know.
He explains the value of using your brand to tell a story. Why? Stories are universal, easy-to-understand and convey emotions.
Emotion-based decision-making is the brain’s way of processing information without getting overwhelmed.
This is what makes storytelling memorable – 22 times more memorable than pure facts.
Now that we’re on the same page, what does brand storytelling look like? Miller breaks it down into an easy-to-follow outline:
- A hero
- With a problem
- Who meets a guide
- Who provides a plan
- And makes a call to action
- Ending in a result of failure or success
Choosing the Hero
First, every story has a hero. You might be the hero of your own story, but you are not the hero of your customers’ stories – they are.
I know – that seems surprising! So, what difference does that make?
Well, this perspective sets the tone for the rest of your marketing; it’s the difference between just pushing a sale and building a relationship.
When you think about it, relationships ultimately equal currency. If you build a trusting relationship, that customer will become loyal to your business.
Keep in mind that retaining customers costs less than acquiring new ones.
And, genuine relationships need empathy – in other words, you need to understand the person’s problem when building the relationship.
Determining the Problem
The problem is an obstacle in your customer’s life that your product or service solves. For example, a hero can seek out a travel agency to assist with making travel plans.
In this case, the hero’s obstacle is practical (needing to plan a trip), emotional (experiencing stress planning that trip) and philosophical (feeling like organizing a relaxing vacation shouldn't be overwhelming).
Remember how emotions guide decisions? Identifying the problem is an opportunity to tap into that!
Make it clear you understand each of these emotions as you continue to market your business. When your product or service solves all three of those obstacles, it increases the perceived value.
A Guide Appears
This is where you come in; your business is the story’s guide.
The guide has two main characteristics: empathy and authority. As an example, let’s look to Home Depot.
For many years, their slogan was, “You can do it. We can help.”
In six words, Home Depot put the hero first (empathy) and explained that they offer the products and services to assist with their needs (authority).
Don't let a big company intimidate you, though!
You can use this concept in your tagline, social media posts, website, customer interaction or wherever you see fit. Keep in mind that every step of the hero’s journey doesn’t have to be included in your marketing.
Some pieces of your marketing only touch parts of the hero’s journey, so don’t feel obligated to include this concept everywhere.
You can convey empathy and authority in plenty of ways. Center the hero’s needs and you’ll be on the right track.
Creating a Plan
To fulfill your role as a guide, your business must provide a plan. In other words, offer a solution meant to ease your customers’ fear and confusion.
As a business owner, you already know what the solution is: your product or service! This is the easy part.
You have two options:
- You can lay out the steps of how a customer can do business with you
- Create a list of agreements that you have with your customers
When you explain the plan, it helps encourage customers to do business with you.
Use a Call to Action
As you’re nearing the conclusion, include a call to action (CTA).
Though storytelling is valuable and necessary, your end goal is to make a sale. That’s a blunt reality of owning a business, and it’s not a bad thing!
We know you want to help people, but we also know that making sales is necessary to your business’s survival.
However, the most important thing to realize is that your customers should know you want to do business with them!
You have two choices for a call to action:
- Direct (an email ending in “schedule a demo today")
- Transitional (including a CTA in free information, such as blogs, infographics, etc.)
A strong CTA helps show the confidence in your product/service while a passive CTA shows a lack of confidence. Customers are more likely to choose your business when you believe in your own product or service.
Don’t miss the opportunity to refer to your business!
Like all good stories, it must end with one of two results: failure or success.
Don’t be afraid to remind the customer of what is at stake. Make it clear that your business is working to avoid the negative outcome of not buying from you.
On the flip side, express the benefit of buying your product or service. Watch your wording, though!
Empathy is still important and being pushy won’t motivate most people. Again, appeal to the emotions in the original problem.
If you want to learn about how to measure your business's success, be sure to watch our podcast below:
At the end of the day, your business might offer the highest quality product or service out there, but that isn’t always clear to your customers.
If they don't know your value, then you'll struggle with making sales. Donald Miller’s Story Brand provides a simple direction for business owners like you.
Science says stories convey emotions, making them far more memorable than facts alone. After all, emotions are the backbones of buying decisions!
It all starts with a story and its hero (AKA your customer).