With all the focus on storytelling in business, the concept of brand story gets thrown around a lot. If you are a leader in a business, school or nonprofit, you should be concerned about how your brand story is doing, and if in fact you have one.
To figure out if you have a brand story, then it helps to know what a brand story isn’t. Here are five things that a brand story is not:
- It’s not your origin story or the history of your business.
- It’s not a simplistic storyline that condenses the real impact of your work
- It’s not a story that you tell in a sales meeting
- It’s not just a customer testimonial
- It's not your logo, fonts and colors
All of these things may have elements of your brand story in them, but they aren’t a brand story.
There is only one way to tell if you have a brand story, and what it might be:
Find out what your customers are saying about you.
What they are saying is the best test for whether you have a brand story, or not. You can learn more about your brand story in this Guide to Capturing Your Brand Story, but there are a couple of things you might discover when you begin to check to see what customers are saying about you.
Here is what you might discover:
Maybe, they aren’t saying anything. This is the sound of crickets, and it is a pretty good sign that you may not currently have a brand story. Brand story content that is found only in print brochures and business plans isn't a brand story if no one is telling it.
If no one is talking about your brand, then that silence is a good indicator that you may just not have a brand story right now, or that your brand story is not strong enough to rise above the competition and all the noise in the market.
You might hear some things that you are not too happy about. This may be a negative brand story or a brand story that doesn’t line up with the reason you got into your line of work. I am not talking about a few internet trolls out there saying something negative, but what you hear from multiple sources.
You might hear a bunch of disconnected stories, that don’t line up with what you hoped, and contain not only positives and negatives but also things that you don’t think are very important in the market, and even some surprises that make you think about your impact in a new way.
You may just hear a faint whisper of your brand story. If you’re getting mentioned just a little, in a way that lines up with your mission and values, that’s great news. If that’s happening, you can work to strengthen your brand story with big impacts.
You can revive and strengthen your brand story
No matter the current state of your brand story, you can bring it to life, repair it and put it to work to help you build sustained healthy growth. Here are some insights into the process.