A promising young business launches, ready to revolutionize its space! Rushing to get to market, it experienced an epic fail at firmly establishing its branding. Recognizing the priority of generating awareness, finding customers, establishing new operations, and paying bills, the oversight is understandable. Nevertheless, upon deciding to de-prioritize branding, the result was a weak start with poorly presented verbiage and images representing the brand. The consequences included limited awareness and questionable authenticity. Without building a strong, intentional brand, the business lacked credibility, choking on its own potential, because a consistent story failed to evolve.
The relationship between branding and storytelling is birthed from the understanding that a brand speaks to an audience in the business’ absence. An entrepreneur upon assuming ultimate responsibility needs processes to optimize deliberate messaging into the marketplace. Effective branding delivers that need. However, the brand must be thoughtfully and intentionally prepared to perform excellently. No reasonable entrepreneur would put a sales professional in the marketplace without proper preparation. Likewise, intelligent entrepreneurs do not send a brand into the marketplace without a specific message.
To communicate that message, effective storytelling must be part of the initial integrated marketing communication process. Tell the story across multiple channels so that social media, in-store images, and face-to-face messaging are consistent and memorable. Beyond specific phrasing to identify the business’ brand in a crowd, remarkable anecdotes must be infused into the enterprise’s culture. Modern customers will more likely flock to a retail outlet because the founder photobombed a political event than because they distributed a Groupon. A successful, distinct marketplace presence must result from emotional connections that make prospects yearn to become customers, and then tell their friends why. Fundamentally, effective storytelling tugs at prospects’ heartstrings to inspire opening the purse strings.
While awesome stories gather attention and connect packs of raving fans, the emotional bond demands honesty to sustain itself. To galvanize a community to create business momentum, stories must be true! Thanks to Yelp, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and others, bad news based on lies move faster than pre-orders for the latest iPhone release at 12:01 AM. Unfortunately, good experiences need more time to catch up. To win that race, each opportunity to deliver as promised must be successful in order to withstand the dumpster fire of bad news ignited from a singular negative interaction.
Beyond emphasizing positive and truthful stories, authenticity requires consistency. In-N-Out Burger does not have to be fast. It must be consistent. Their lines remain long because customers will endure lack of speed, since that was not part of the deal. They are willing to wait slightly longer to get flavorful happiness in a bun, as expected. In-N-Out’s authenticity features the pleasant service interaction, cleanliness, menu’s simplicity, and not-so-secret non-menu options. To maximize that experience, customers must be an insider to the story. In-N-Out’s reward results from genuinely meeting expectations during the purchase experience. Their story works because the brand delivers!
Effective storytelling is successful upon incorporating emotional connections between sellers and buyers in their relationship. In business, facilitating enduring connections reveals the difference between fads and legends. Classic stories transcend cultures and generations because they spark human feelings between the speaker and the listener. Furthermore, when success brings scrutiny, the authentic story that consistently delivers good feelings based on the business reputation becomes even more powerful. Let the good-feeling story be factual and opportunities for the business to rebound emerge even quicker. Ultimately, entrepreneurial success happens when incredible products align directly with emotional experiences. Consequently, authentic storytelling becomes the fuel to accelerate unforgettable branding and enduring success.
By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC