As an entrepreneur, your business means everything to you. Now all you have to do is make it mean something to your prospective clients and customers. That’s where branding comes in, and in particular, your business story.
The power of a well-crafted business story is that it puts all of those dry facts about your business into an emotional context. Through story, your business becomes interesting and relatable to the listener. Story also creates credibility. The end goal of your business story should be to do more than just persuade someone to buy your product or service. It should be about making them want to join and promote your cause by sharing your story with others. What follows is a look at how to tell the story of your company through branding.
Visual Identity Branding
Just as story creates a connection with your audience, your visual identity creates a connection to your story. And the more compelling your story is in conveying the core values of your business, the stronger that connection will be. We’re all familiar with the story of Superman, where he came from, what powers and abilities he has that set him apart from all those other super heroes out there, and how he plans to use those abilities in the pursuit of truth, justice and the American way. It’s a powerful story. Equally as powerful is Superman’s visual identity, his commanding physical presence, the costume, the primary colors — the killer logo.
Like your business logo, the ‘S’ on Superman’s chest isn’t his brand. It’s an image that creates a great first impression and connects us to his brand — to his story. Your visual identity should do the same. From your logo, corporate colors and packaging, to your business cards and stationary, to your promotional materials such as name tags, signage, banners, flyers, lanyards and books — all should be designed to create a strong first impression and make a connection to your story. Without your story your visual identity has no true meaning or value to your clients or customers.
Social Media Branding
Social media is a powerful platform for sharing your company’s story. But the real benefits for your business come to light when others start sharing your story for you, by relating the positive experiences they’ve had in dealing with your company. After all, true credibility is based, not on what you say but what others say about you. The key to effectively leveraging social media is to be open, genuine and transparent. When tapping into existing communities such as Facebook and Twitter, look for ways to contribute that are not perceived as self-serving. You should also look to connect with causes that reflect your company’s core values.
Strive for total transparency — allowing and empowering your employees and the public to freely speak their minds about your company. When faced with negative comments, always strive to resolve them openly and don’t be afraid to acknowledge failures. Remember that in using social media you are looking to establish two-way relationships with the public. And in those relationships it’s better to be known as the company that knows how to listen instead if the company that’s doing all the talking.
Customer Service Branding
As the saying goes, “actions speak louder than words.” How your company interacts with and responds to customers on a daily basis in providing your product and service tells the real story about your company. When clients and customers have a smooth purchasing experience, it lets them know in no uncertain terms that your company is truly committed to the culture and values it claims to embrace. In creating a customer service driven culture within your company, you are directly including both employees and customers in your story — and that’s a powerful formula for lasting success.
About the Author: Robert Cordray is a freelance writer for Income.com and expert in business and finances. With over 20 years of business experience, Robert is now retired and hopes others can benefit from his writing.