Written by Stacey Shannon
While a business is supposed to be a corporate entity, things are not as simple as they first appear to be. While a brand message may sometimes seem like a statement or a manifesto, it only exists in a B2C/B2B relation. It’s not just about the message. It’s about who gets the message, as well as how they feel/interpret it. In other words, it’s a matter of PR more than anything else.
Still, what makes a good brand story, and what are the key fields that you need to focus on in order to get things going? Here are a couple of mistakes that business owners and marketers make when writing their own brand stories.
Choosing the Wrong Focus
In his work, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie talked about how people always care about what you can do for them, not what they can do for you. This is at least true during your initial contact, and establishing a B2C relationship is not unlike making a friend. So, this is pivotal for the success of your brand story, and you need to pick the right focus of your brand message.
Sure, presenting your business is incredibly important, but at the same time, it’s far more essential to pick the right protagonist of the story. This is the most crucial piece of advice that you’re going to hear, so listen up – the protagonist of the story that you’re trying to tell is THE CLIENT. Your business is merely an agent that leads to the solution of their problem. This is supposed to be your main focus when building a brandscript. It is also why hiring a professional to make the script might be a good idea.
What you’re aiming at is amplifying their ability to get immersed in the story. Pick a scenario that they’ll find relatable and talk about concrete solutions. It’s important that they can imagine exactly how doing business with you will benefit them. To avoid depending on their ability of immersion or their imagination, you have to be as specific as possible.
Making a One-time Statement
In order to make other people embrace the notion as true, you need to repeat it over and over again. In order to be taken seriously, you need to be consistent in your claims and stances. The same thing goes with making a brand story. It is a common misconception that a brand story is merely a statement. In fact, it is a series of statements, actions, and content pieces that all focus on the same issues.
To make the long story short, you need to make a continuous effort to make an impactful brand story. Shifting your narrative is not only ineffective but also may lead to a countereffect. You don’t want to be seen as inconsistent, seeing as how this might also be perceived as backing down on your word. Reputation is everything in the business world, and it’s something you need to take very seriously.
People enjoy continuity for one more reason – the sentiment of nostalgia. Have you ever seen the chart of how different brand logos have evolved over the course of time? While the differences were great, they were also gradual, and the original brand was always easy to discern. Sure, visual branding and storytelling are not the same (although there’s quite a bit of overlapping), but the message is clear. The voice of your brand needs to remain consistent.
Failing to Choose Tone and Voice
Another thing you need to understand is that the tone and voice might have to become less formal in order for them to resonate more strongly with your audience. Sure, when writing the About Us page, you can stick to the norm. However, your brand story will come in many different content formats. There are blog posts, social media posts, videos, etc. So, it might be best to humanize your business by picking the right tone and voice.
There are a couple of things you should focus on when making this choice:
- What kind of vocabulary and technical slang is your audience familiar with? You want to keep it simple but oversimplifying may seem condescending and even undermine your own authority.
- Who is the most common content creator? Asking a content creator to make a persona is a reasonable request, but asking them to do so in a way that’s too alien to them might make the creative process far more complex.
- How well does this translate across different content formats? Simply put, just because something works for one content format doesn’t mean it translates well to another medium. Keeping consistency is incredibly important.
By answering these three questions, it will be quite easy to find a good long-term solution.
Remember that sometimes speaking in technical terms is the best way to display your knowledge to someone who has yet to do business with you. Second, while language skills and creativity are important for a content creator, it’s better to just entrust this to a specialist in some fields. When it comes to medical advice, people want to hear it from the doctor. Ideally, you would make a collaboration between creators and specialists, thus getting the best of both worlds.
Focusing Exclusively on Your Own Platform
The last major mistake that you can make when sending a brand message is focusing exclusively on your own platform. Sure, your own blog, your own YouTube channel, and social media accounts may be a priority, but they’re definitely not all that matters.
There’s so much you can do for your brand’s visibility by guest posting and making guest appearances. There are several reasons why this is such an important aspect of your brand storytelling:
- Access new audiences
- Confirm your authority on subject matter
- Support other’s platforms
Overall, finding partners is important regardless of the industry. However, your relationship needs to be reciprocal. In other words, you need to return the favor whenever you can.
Overall, in order to make your brand story work, you need to make it feel organic. To do this, you need to:
- Properly format it
- Find the right tone and voice
- Repeat the same argument on multiple occasions
- Talk about it on different platforms
Consistency is above all else. While we talked about the consistency of the message, there are other forms of consistency you should not forget either. You need to be consistent in quality, frequency of posting, and methodology. Once they learn what to expect from you, people will find it easier to trust you. In the world of PR, trust is everything.
Stacey is a creative person with a gift for writing and is the best friend of cats and coffee. You can find her on Twitter: @StaceyShann0n.