The best stories come from an unexpected place, from a shared experience, with a gripping plot and moving dénouement. Sometimes it has a long tail, sometimes it happens in an instant, but the key to a great story is that someone can’t wait to tell it.
What is your business doing to communicate your story so customers can’t wait to tell it in 2011?
Here are just few ways you can get started:
1. Remember the germination time of your business. What were you thinking about back then? Where were you living? What inspired the initial vision for your company? This is your beginning. Write it down, take the time to be cursive, with an actual pen, and commit to paper.
2. What did your shingle look like when you first ‘hung it out’? What was your first branding exercise and what were the words you used initially to describe your business? What were the pictures you used? Colours? Are they still relevant? Are they telling the story of your passion? If so, can you extend those words, those colours, those images into new platforms? If not, examine who you are now, who your customers are now, and tell your story with a new lens.
3. Be your true voice. There is no question the tolerance for ‘corporate’ copy is at an all-time low and will continue to plummet as Gen Y and the Millennials come into the marketplace with real buying power. Infuse your story with you, your employees voices, your vendors, your community, your products, and of course allow your customers to participate in your story–they really love to so…let them.
4. Find the personal/professional vibe. In today’s media, there is a new blend of personal and professional and it can be a really tricky area for some to navigate. My instructor for Examining Social Media in Brand Networks with New York University, Michelle Barna, framed it in a way I just love: Striking the balance of personal/professional in business on social platforms is like wearing a blazer with jeans, no tie. It’s not buttoned up or too formal, but it has enough professional decorum to have some credibility and not scream college start-up. Oh wait, that was Zuckerberg wasn’t it? Nevermind, you get my point.
5. Listen to your customer story first. Every single day. Or they might divorce you: