Businesses, like people, are entities that have character traits, personalities, and histories. If you own a business that lacks either brand direction or brand story, you more than likely already feel the effects of it. In the same way you intrinsically do not connect with a book or movie if the characters are underdeveloped, you recognize when your brand lacks a proper voice. As an experienced digital marketer and copywriter across a wide range of industries for KWSM — a leading digital marketing agency – I am approached by many businesses that don’t know how to diagnose their problem and where to begin fixing the issue.
For many business owners, the trouble comes because they believe the nature of their business means they do not require a brand story. They may think “my products or services are too mundane,” or “I service customers that just want a product or service that gets the job done. They don’t care about the brand story.” However, all brands benefit from crafting their story effectively.
Brand Story Vs. Brand Direction
The fundamental difference between the terms “brand story” and “brand direction” is that brand direction is an umbrella term that describes all the components of your brand strategy. Your brand story is one facet of your brand strategy. Other components of your brand strategy may include your visual guidelines, your brand promise, your key differentiators, your customer journey, and your internal culture (to name a few).
Your brand story is your “who, what, where, when, and why?” It’s the narrative surrounding your business that positions the customer as the main character. If your customer understands how your brand story interacts with the narrative they have about their own journey, they will feel a stronger connection to your company.
Related Article: Brand Journalism: Sharing Your Company’s Story
How to Diagnose Whether Your Business Lacks Brand Direction or Brand Story
Some signs that your business may have a weak brand direction are:
- Your brand is visually inconsistent
- Your team cannot define your brand direction
- You fail to address your customer’s pain points
- Your target audience is vague
- You have no compelling differentiators
- You have a weak company culture
- You struggle to get your customers through the purchasing funnel
Some signs that your business may have a weak brand story are:
- Your brand voice is inconsistent
- You have not positioned your customers as the focus of your brand
- You cannot identify your customers based on their key characteristics
- Your brand identity is tied too closely to one or a few individuals
It is also important to note that your brand story is not your business’s history. Your brand’s history certainly may play a part in your brand story, especially if you started your business because of a desire to address a specific customer need. However, your brand story should position your customer as the hero. As a business, your role is to guide your customer to a conclusion that satisfies their needs and desires.
The Importance of Brand Storytelling
Beyond helping you position your brand in the market place, a compelling brand story could also assist in generating leads and sales. Although we like to think of our customers as making logical decisions regarding using our products and services, studies show that there is often an emotional component in these decisions. According to marketing psychologist Gerald Zaltman, even the customers you assume make unadulterated, logical decisions will ultimately use their instincts. Recent studies argue that the dichotomy between emotion and logic is a false one, and that thoughts and emotions are intrinsically linked.
Many business owners assume that if they can appeal to the pragmatic sensibilities of their customers, they do not need to consider their brand story. Yet, science shows us that brands with the best emotional connections to customers, regardless of the industry, have the best payoffs. Having an emotional connection with the brand may be the most important factor for a customer making a purchasing decision.
Since emotions factor into how people make purchasing decisions, your business requires both brand direction and brand story to appeal to human sentiment. Stories are how we connect with the world around us.
Related Article: What is a Brand Journalism Approach to Content Marketing?
If your brand lacks a story, diagnosing and rectifying the situation is simple; a marketing professional can help your business identify and articulate your brand story.
Our team can walk you through the brand strategy process and help you craft a brand story that is authentic to your business and resonates with your audience. When KWSM creates your messaging strategy, we draw out your brand’s personality and help you nail your brand narrative.
88% of consumers say that authenticity is important to them when deciding what brands they like and support.
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