What’s your story? (Brand, storytelling and its massive importance to your business)

By Eric Greene

Don’t even act like you don’t know what brand that is in the pic below. You don’t need the label to know it’s Corona. Pre-Covid, Corona grew 25X over two decades, despite being an average product amongst an increasingly crowded market full of better tasting craft beers.

So, how do you, like Corona, stand apart from your competition?

Maybe you are that rare unicorn with a revolutionary, game-changing, never-seen-before business model. But newsflash: most of us are not Steve Jobs.  For the rest of us, standing apart begins with brand and storytelling. And when your story kicks ass, so does your business.  

You compete in sea of sameness.  Just ask your prospective customer set. To customers, you and your competitors all look basically the same. YOU GRAB ATTENTION WITH BRAND AND STORYTELLING. You stand apart with your own unique, authentic spin. You get noticed when your brand is spun into an invisible thread and then effectively spread over and over in touch points with your public.

What’s the formula? And how do you do this?

  1. Create a powerful, unique, authentic brand image. Corona = “escape”, “chill out”, the beach.  What’s your brand? It needs to be authentic, unique to you, appealing to your prospects, and stand apart from the competition.

  2. Spin that brand essence into great, simple, storytelling. Corona sells the promise of being laid back and happy and forgetting your problems.  They sell the sizzle (emotions, benefits), not the steak (features).  So should you.

  3. Deploy the brand over and over and over again across all key touch points with your audience. Think about it: when in the last 20 years have you seen any touch point from Corona (TV ad, social media post, bar or liquor store sign, swag, billboard, etc.) that didn’t instantly scream “the beach” or “escape”? You need to do the same.  The beach, the beach, the beach.  Repeat your brand story over and over and over again at every key touch point until people notice and can’t forget it.

This works for Corona because they have a gazillion dollar marketing budget. But will it work for you?

Not just yes, but hell yes. If you don’t have much of a budget (or any budget) it’s all the more important to have a unique story and tell it over and over and over again. It’s not about budget. It’s about powerful story and consistency. How you talk to people. The vibe. Your store, your website, your social media.  Even in small ways, just be consistent. This is how you begin to get noticed and stand apart.

Real World Example: Kelty Backpacks

The last business I ran was outdoor gear brand Kelty (backpacks, camping gear, etc.). For years the brand wallowed with flat or negative performance.  After all, there are tons of similar products on the market and most perform the same function.  

That’s why we stopped focusing on promoting our product specs and performance (the same thing our competitors were talking about), and pivoted to the story behind the gear. The reason you buy backpacks. Our mantra became “built for play… because nobody works for the Wednesday.” We didn’t have a big budget, but we screamed “Built for Play” at ever possible touch point with our public. Over and over, we spread the vibe (Fun packaging, Kelty National Ditch Day, social media that was never serious, fun/down to earth customer service and so on). The reward: sales grew substantially for 5 straight years, at an annual pace 10%+ ahead of competition. The scoreboard doesn’t lie.

The punchline?

You need to stand apart. Create an authentic brand that does just that. Tell your story. Over, and over, and over again. Even if you don’t have a budget, you can do this in all kinds of ways. Just be consistent. Don’t waver from your brand. This will grow your business.

Eric Greene is a proven executive turned success/executive coach + team facilitator at the Greenehouse (www.GHouseCoaching.com). Pouring my experience (startup, 3 successful entrepreneurial ventures, former President, CxO, EVP/GM) into helping you work smarter. Lead better. Stress less. Kick ass.  And find more joy in doing it.

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