“Creating enduring value happens one interaction at a time. One person, one referral, one organization, one community, one interaction at a time!” ~Glenn W Hunter. This quote concludes Day One of my branding seminar. Despite the multitude of branding definitions, this one emphasizes the singularly delivering consistently great customer expectation and execution. Delivering such experiences on a daily basis reflects successful brands, and consequently successful businesses. Storytelling then simply features reporting the facts. Large, small, or in the middle businesses that consistently deliver to their audience ultimately win. They earn the privilege to tell a fundamentally true, great story!
Saying While Absent
According to Jeff Bezos, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Regardless, how much money a business throws at its branding efforts, the marketplace ultimately determines its true success. Either the business delivers honestly, or it does not. Fail to live up to its marketing claims, and the brand immediately defaults to being untrustworthy. Marketers still must craft the image. But, the marketplace will reveal the authenticity of the claims. The truth will emerge!
To articulate a palatable message, operations must demonstrate consistency with the brand’s claims. Authenticity becomes the currency of the marketplace. Customers may be fooled once. However, a business model based on ongoing trickery will ultimately be the butt of the joke. Consequently, as a brand brings its message to the marketplace, consider what the customer will say when they are alone with the product. More than ever, customers share their impressions. Then brands crash and burn once their image no longer can stand to the marketplace’s truth.
So, who is really telling the truth? If only effective branding consisted of the great comments that people made. But, brands reflect both positive and negative comments made in the marketplace. Consequently, be intentional about having an audience that willingly makes positive statements. These statements are not the results of payments or arm-twisting. These statements must reflect authenticity. The sentiments must be true! These influencers must demonstrate authenticity for the brand to flourish, or risk their own reputations.
Upon courting influencers, the brand must create a positive experience. And, the best way to guarantee positive experiences for targeted influencers is to deliver a positive experience for all users! Create a positive experience in every single interaction. Accomplish this feat with operational consistency. Grow the accomplishment by sharing positive images and anecdotes that easily circulate. To activate influencers, deliver superior experiences to your audience, then ask them to share their story.
Branding and Storytelling are inextricably linked. They are forever connected. While any vendor can establish a story. It takes listeners that repeat it to create enduring value. Consequently, businesses and professionals needs to develop a story worth telling. Consistent integrity in business interactions is still rare enough to be viewed with distinction. Including other parties in the story is important in building a following that will emotionally invest in a successful brand that keeps its promises. Organizations, their leaders and stakeholders must genuinely and consistently contribute to the message. Fundamentally, “say what you mean and mean what you say” results in a successful enterprise. Effective branding and storytelling simply justify the marketing guys hanging around and helping!
By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director, Hunter And Beyond, LLC