While the art of brand storytelling is nothing new – in fact, it’s been around since caveman times – it’s one heck of a marketing buzzword these days.
For good reason, too. Stories are how we share experiences and connect with others. They’re how we perceive ourselves and the world around us. So it’s no surprise that stories help engage our consumers, inspire them with a vision, and give them a community to be a part of.
In fact, a good brand story can elevate your coaching business, even if your offer itself isn’t all that unique. Because people want more than anything to be mentored, coached, and supported by someone who’s been where they are, and who’s achieved what they want to achieve, in the way that aligns with them.
That’s why today I’ll be talking about storytelling (who could’ve guessed?). Specifically, brand storytelling, and how you can leverage it to not only compel your audience, but to give them an experience they won’t soon forget.
So why should you bother creating a brand story?
Easy. Because your story is your coaching or consulting business’s greatest unique selling point.
Let me explain.
When you’re in a grossly saturated market like, say, coaching or consulting, you need to stand out from the competition.
And you’re not going to do that by just throwing out glowing testimonials, hard statistics, and benefit-driven messages. No, no. Those are just the bare minimum. They get your foot in the door, with the rest of the big shots in the room.
But to really become memorable and irresistible in your ideal client’s eyes, you need to have a brand story.
Think about it. Do you want to be remembered as just a business consultant? Or do you want to be remembered as the business consultant who values massive imperfect action, who strives to be loud and bold, and to champion for the underdogs of the world?
I guarantee you the latter is what’s going to get your audience dying to know more.
And that means more clients. Lots and lots of loyal, eagerly paying clients.
So with that being said, let’s get into how you can start putting together your brand story!
A good brand story starts with your “why.”
How did your business come about? Why did you start this business? What’s your mission? Your purpose?
Sure, you could just say it’s for the money. But I want you to dig deeper. There must be some underlying purpose you have for creating your business.
It could be as simple as having the freedom to take care of your family. It could be giving back to the community.
And example of a brand story that I adore is I LIVE ECO:
“The idea for I LIVE ECO started with a bamboo straw on a trip home to the Philippines. Wanting to bring this great product back to Toronto for her eco-community back home, Gen also had a deep desire to give to the children from her first home. The two came together perfectly to create I LIVE ECO. In each product she creates, she doesn’t just see the item, she sees a child’s life that can be changed. Each customer and subscriber is a partner to Gen, working towards loving, honoring, and healing our planet together.”From their About page.
It’s an inspiring story, and it makes you want to root for Gen, and her business because they’re doing something good for the planet and the community.
Whatever you decide, though, make sure you’re being genuine. That is to say, don’t lie and just pick a “why” for the sake of it. If you don’t have a particularly special story behind your business, that’s fine too.
I started my business simply because I enjoyed bringing other people’s stories to life. And well, because gaining work experience to then apply for a 9-5 job seemed silly to me when I could just leverage that work experience to build my own brand.
Even something as simple as that can be relatable. Because the key to a “why” that resonates, is a “why” that people can see and go, “I actually really get that.”
It’s true that great brand stories are grounded in their appeal to your target audience, but more than anything, a great brand story is the foundation for why your business exists, and it’s just as important that you know yourself and what you stand for.
A great brand story has conflict.
It’s not enough that you have an inspiring origin story. To really engage your audience, you need to spin a tale that’s riddled with conflict.
Most brand stories follow a clear narrative structure, with a main character (usually your target audience) and a conflict to resolve.
So what problems do you solve? What are the obstacles that stand in your, and your clients’ paths?
How do you put a stop to those struggles? What the does the end result, the ending of your story, look like?
When you position your services, not just as services, but as real solutions that have a significant role to play in your clients’ lives, their stories, that’s when they truly value and remember your brand.
Then they’ll start sharing about it. And we all know how we love those referrals!
But always remember to keep it all relevant to your clients, which brings me to the next point:
A great brand story is catered to your audience.
We’ve talked about incorporating you and your business into your brand story. We’ve gone over how we can bridge that to your audience’s needs. Now it’s time to really hone in on your audience and who they are.
At the end of the day, your audience is what you’re creating your brand story for. They must be able to empathize with your story, see themselves in you, or as playing a role in your overall narrative.
That’s why you should be using their language, and illustrating scenarios that they’re familiar with. You should ensure that your audience plays a key role in the narratives you weave.
Because a great brand story involves its audience.
You might do it through riveting testimonials and client stories, like this sales page for the Live Off Your Passion digital program (it’s chocked full of them!).
Or you might want to take a more hands-on approach, by creating community and group campaigns like GoPro, which has evolved from just being a simple B2C brand to becoming a full-on platform where people connect over shared passions and adventures.
You could even start off simple by creating a specific client experience, whether it’s by engaging your audience on your social platforms in a certain way, or integrating your brand values into your work processes. I like to be seen as my clients’ best friend and #1 supporter when it comes to the stories I craft for them, which is why my process is collaborative, transparent, and easy on the client. We sit down, we have a great conversation about their business, and once we’ve worked out the strategy together, I work my magic.
Even something as simple as that can be incorporated into your overarching brand narrative.
I firmly believe that brand storytelling isn’t solely about your audience, nor is it solely about you. It’s about the sweet, sweet spot in the middle, where you’re bringing out the best of both worlds to create something totally unique to your business.
A brand story is always evolving.
Congratulations for getting this far! Hopefully now you’re ready to take what you’ve learned here to create a brand story that kicks ass and connects with the people who need you.
Now comes the hard part. It’s time to walk the walk. A brand story in today’s era is no longer just a well-told origin story, nor is it a set of strong core values.
A true brand story is the complete experience that your business gives to your prospects, audience and overall community.
Your messaging and copy, your design and aesthetics, your client experiences and processes, your content. All of it contributes to how your audience perceives and talks about you, and therefore, your brand story.
That’s why a brand story is so valuable. It informs everything about your brand and marketing going forward, and takes you to a whole new level.
That being said, a brand story is always evolving. You might find that your values change, or that your vision isn’t what it was propped up to be. So it’s totally okay if you want to add or subtract from your existing brand story!
But as with most things, don’t overdo it.