Your brand is more than a collection of products and services. Your brand has a story, and you need to tell it! Think about the digital brand story that Facebook conveyed in its early days to differentiate itself from sites like Friendster and Myspace. Sure, the product was better, but the story of a social network being created in a Harvard dorm room was quite enticing.
Mark Zuckerberg has a story of how Facebook came to be. Unfortunately, Tom from MySpace did not adequately establish a digital brand story. Mark’s story was widely known while Tom’s story was a mystery to most people. Perhaps this is why Facebook remains the premier social network and MySpace is not. Facebook focuses on connecting you with friends and family rather than connecting with Tom.
Facebook and MySpace are good examples to compare and contrast digital band story development.
Like Zuckerberg and Facebook, to come up with your own product-story, think about your brand’s roots, what you do for people, and how your brand experience is different (and better).
It’s even more important today because the Internet is full of advertising. It’s noisy and people are being bombarded with marketing messages every day.
So how do you expect to connect with your audience–especially when your audience is busy and doesn’t have time to read?
Your digital brand story may feel difficult to write and stories can sometimes become lost in translation, leaving you feeling stuck and unable to describe what you do and why you should matter to your audience.
Keep reading to learn how to tell a digital brand story that can cut through the noise and prioritize what you want your audience to care about.
Creating a brand story will not only help you stand out and get noticed, it’ll help build customer affinity and advocacy.
Creating human-to-human connections are more important now than ever before. Because, at the end of the day, you’re dealing with people — your business is solving their problems or alleviating pain points.
What does your digital brand story look like?
Well, your digital brand story doesn’t have to start with “once upon a time”. Take your consumers through a journey and present a happy ending.
Your story includes the images used in your digital campaigns, the articles you share on social media, and the tools you use to create content contribute to your digital brand story.
Digital brand storytelling is more than what you write on your website to your customers. It’s more than your blog posts and about pages. It’s how you communicate your messaging.
It’s your values.
Overall, your brand’s story is infused in every piece of copy, and customer service response.
What does this all mean?! How do I get started…
Writing a digital brand story is not difficult. In fact, it’s your story and should be easy to tell. The difficult part is communicating it in a way that properly connects with your target audience. When brainstorming key points of your story, ask yourself:
- How did you get to where you are today?
- What are your greatest achievements?
- What are your biggest failures (and how did you get past them)?
- What inspires you?
- What are your biggest passions in life?
- What do you hope the future will bring – what are your goals?
- What makes you different?
Start by telling a story that’s bigger than your product or service.
That means the story you tell should connect your brand to the wider world.
For example, your digital brand story can convey the reason why your business or organization came to be…
Example #1: One of our Digital Branding University students created a hair care product because she wanted to help women with certain hair conditions look like their best selves.
You can also explain what types of customers find value in working with your brand and why.
Example #2: I’ve worked with a well-known non-profit organization and helped them spotlight the individuals they serve and help to live better lives. People like to help people some way some how.
Example #3: I’ve also worked with a very large sales company wanting to convey a positive brand image after dealing with a slew of brand creditability issues. Their identity was established, visibility was ok, but their credibility needed work. One of the ways I helped turn this around was by creating a strategy to showcase people behind the company.
It’s not about you, the service you’re offering or about your business… It’s about how your services enhance the lives of your clients and customers.
Choose Storytelling Over Stats
As a successful business, you may be tempted to showcase your sales facts that will benefit the perception of your brand.
I’ve come across some consultant websites that showcase the number of clients they have, case studies developed, and cups of coffee drank. Unfortunately, this may not be the best strategy.
If you find yourself doing that, you should focus on using the power of story over facts.
In this instance, perhaps they should think about how coffee has helped them build their business.
Overall, facts can be interesting, but they’re rarely moving. They might prove a point, but they aren’t going to make a deep emotional connection with consumers.
Stories cause deep emotional triggers and speak to us all the way down to a basic, primal level. Storytelling, on the other hand, has the power to influence your audience by making connections, illuminating their struggles, and touching on their passions.
You (probably) already know people buy with their emotions, and do business with people they know, like, and trust. Which is exactly why you need to develop your digital brand story.
When developing your digital brand story you must find the Intersection of your brand’s identity and your audience’s needs.
Many of these brands incorporate an element of social good into their stories – whether that’s giving back to communities or fostering sustainability or helping consumers find their best selves.
It may seem a bit lofty, but makes for good stories.
Now, let’s connect your product with your story…
Determine Your Product-Story Fit
It is not uncommon to find companies that sell the same products, share similar business models and are similar in size.
These types of companies usually go head-to-head while trying to dominate the market. In these cases, one key factor that you can leverage is your product-story.
A product-story fit creates a connection between your product and your customer. As I mentioned earlier, people like to do business with people they know like and trust. Naturally, the more they know your brand story, the more they will trust your brand. Further, if your brand story is properly conveyed in the digital space, it is easier for your customer to consume your digital brand story.
Therefore, effectively communicating your uniqueness through your product-story can essentially be the path to winning that customer, getting that lead, or closing that deal.
Here are some guidelines to help you develop your product story:
1) Think back to beginning
Start recalling what made you start your company or practice in the first place. Sharing how you started your business and how you turned your passion into a reality usually catches your customer’s attention. It gives them a glimpse of why the company is structured that way or why it continues to operate in a certain way.
You can include the challenges or failures that you’ve encountered that hopefully strengthened your company and molded it. You can further prove your credibility by including some of your credentials as well.
2) Know your competitors
Research your competitors’ operations, customer service, and product features. Take note of the difference.
What do you do better than they do?
What are your weak points?
By understanding where you stand in the market, you can focus on highlighting your edge over your competitors and you can start working on your weaknesses. Effectively communicating the benefits of purchasing your brand can drive more people to you.
3) Think outside your own bubble
How you perceive your company may not be the same as how your clients and suppliers do, so you need to check and validate your own thoughts. Aside from understanding your company’s roots and looking into your own strengths and weaknesses, you should find out how your clients and suppliers view you.
Here are some steps you can follow.
a) Interview them.
Ask them why they like working with you or buying from you. Find out what your reputation is in the market. With this, you can do either make some improvements or highlight your strengths more.
b) Observe the words they use.
After interviewing a good number of clients and suppliers, find the common words or phrases they use to describe your company.
c) List these words or phrases down on note cards.
Lay them down on a table and decide which words you think are more relevant to your target audience or line of business.
d) Try to form phrases or sentences.
What would best encapsulate what your company does? What differentiates you from the rest of your competitors?
By combining your internal evaluation of your company, market competitor evaluation, and your public’s opinion, you can formulate a great product-story fit. If you combine what the market needs and what you can provide, you can create a clear link and reason as to why customers should support your brand.
Through this product-story fit, you can form a stronger connection between your brand and your loyal customers and hopefully, establish new ties with new customers whose problems and needs can be answered by your brand.
Now, let’s put this into action. Use the aforementioned tips to create or improve your biography…
Creating a Biography That Stands Out
We’ve all likely heard of the importance of an elevator pitch- that lucky scenario where you find yourself in an elevator with a potential investor and you have only one minute to convince them to become your investor.
Today, bios are essential since we represent ourselves across multiple platforms.
Because your elevator pitch will be referenced everywhere online: social media, website, review sites, and more.
A solid elevator pitch will allow you to distill down to the purest form, exactly who you are, and what you offer, and that focus can help to set you apart from all the competition.
You only have a few seconds to make a powerful first impression. The attention span of the average online user is a few seconds before their mind starts wandering. There is too much competition online. You need to grab them quickly or lose them forever.
I would recommend you view your biography or about us page as an elevator pitch. It’s an overview of who you are, what you do, and how you can help your customers and clients. It’s you selling yourself and your services in a brief and concise manner.
The priority for the pitch should be to capture the listener’s attention and make them want to know more.
Let me give you a breakdown of the different kinds of bios and how you can optimize them:
Types of Bios
- Make sure to populate the URL and city
- Include a call to action with a link to a landing page
- Use the background image as a space for more detailed contact info
- Include keywords for SEO
- Should always reflect any professional changes
- Write this specifically for the decision makers you want to influence, know who they are and what you want them to know, do, and feel when reading your profile. These people could be potential employers, investors, or industry peers.
- Add a headline to the hero image at the top of the page to compensate for About Us appearing below posts
- Include keywords for SEO rankings
- Reference other sections on your profile to encourage readers to scroll further down
- Include hobbies such as crafts, yoga, reading or pets as a conversation starter
- Write about the work that you do
- Consider first vs. third person point of view. First person makes it feel more personal and gives your readers a sense of closeness, while third person gives a more professional tone.
- Decide on ratio of personal to professional information and make the personal part match the blogger readers have come to know and love
- Keep it simple, but include options for readers who want to know more
- Avoid paraphrasing your resume in your bio. Include details such as degrees only if they are directly related to the topic
- Consider unconventional questions such as: the biggest risk you have ever taken
- This makes for content that will catch a journalist’s attention and will set your bio apart from others
- Keep it short and sweet
Formula for an Awesome Biography
- Show, don’t tell! Show people who you are by providing concrete examples of what you’ve done.
- Tailor your keywords to your audience. Being specific increases your visibility!
- Keep language fresh and avoid buzzwords.
- Clearly answer the question: “what’s in it for me?” for the readers. People are interested in how you bring value to their lives. Clearly articulate your value proposition with your tone, language, values, and personality.
- Revisit often, once a quarter.
- It’s a work in progress, give yourself room to grow!
- Have photos ready!
General Length guidelines
- Full <500 words
- Short <150 words
- Shorter <75 words (social gatherings, potentially LinkedIn)
- Social <20 (Twitter)
Remember, the most powerful brand stories are the ones that prioritize customers as the stars. Think of your company as a supporting character.
Storytelling is one of the most powerful techniques we have as humans to communicate and motivate. What are your best tips for telling stories?
I’d love your thoughts on this topic in the comments.