MorphoMFG Blog

How To Tell Your Brand Story for Maximum Growth and Impact – Part III

By June 18, 2019 No Comments

INTRODUCTION

While traveling in Argentina in 2006, TOMS Founder Blake Mycoskie witnessed the hardships faced by children growing up without shoes. Wanting to help, he created TOMS Shoes, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased, with a new pair of shoes donated to a child in need. One for one.

In a fiercely competitive market, not only they made a space for themselves, they created a movement with over 60 million pairs of shoes given to children in need… all given through humanitarian organizations.

 

GoPro, was founded in 2002 by Nick Woodman—a surfer, skier and motorsports enthusiast in search of a better way to film himself and his friends surfing.

What started with a 35mm camera and a wrist strap made from old wetsuits and plastic scraps, grew into an international company that has sold over 26 million GoPro cameras in more than 100 countries.

Warby Parker was founded with a simple goal – Offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for social change.

It so goes that one of their founders lost his glasses on a backpacking trip. The cost of replacing them was so high that he spent the first semester of grad school without them, squinting and complaining. Other founders had similar experiences.

It turns out there was a simple explanation. The eyewear industry was dominated by a single company that had been able to keep prices artificially high while reaping huge profits from consumers who had no other options.

Warby Parker was born as an alternative.

Story-Telling IS Marketing

So far, we discussed the incredible importance of story-telling in the previous parts, why story affects us humans so profoundly, how story-telling done right has brought in such massive business, and why your brand-building efforts are futile without a good… no pardon… a great brand story!

There’s no point in me going into that here again. If you haven’t already, please go and read the first parts of this article.

Please do it, I will wait for ya’….

No seriously… just do it!

 

Done? Yes?

Assuming you never lie… Great job!

 

Now let’s get the last part out of the way…

So, how to actually craft a great, great… ggrrrreat brand story?!

Let’s get down to business right away…

 

Crafting a Great Brand Story

So, far we went over the 4 key elements to any good story –

i) Authenticity

ii) Adding life to your brand story

iii) Making your brand story relatable for your audiences

iv) Selling your struggles

 

These 4 elements are a foundation your brand story stands upon.

Then we went through the structure of crafting a great story –

i) The Setting

ii) The Challenge

iii) Rapid Intensification

iv) Build-Up to Climax

v) Climax

vi) The Final Struggle

vii) The Wrap Up

That’s the structure to creating a great story for just about any medium – Adverts, Movies, Brand Stories, heck even Children’s books.

 

Now, let’s talk about the actual content that would go into making your brand story a massive success –

The Content of Your Brand Story

1. Start With A Common Problem Or A Shared Vision

Every great brand story starts with a shared vision, a social injustice, or a common problem shared with their target market.

What it does is instantly build a connect and curiosity for the brand.

After all, even though it’s your story, it has to be about THEM.

When it comes to a new brand, do you think anybody really cares about the entrepreneur’s personal goals, that he had a cruel boss, it was his dream to leave behind his 9-5 and be his own boss, or whatever?

Everyone wants to know what is in it for them.

In any social situation, a stranger is always met with questioning eyes.

In the business world, people want to know the newcomer’s agenda, what they stand for, how they conduct their business, and so on.

We can say the odds are stacked against a new entrant.

That’s exactly why, a common problem, a persistent social injustice, a shared vision all can serve as a fast-lane to brand popularity!

Make your brand about the world around you, and not about you.

2. Play on your strengths or use your weaknesses

In the business world, trust, reputation, track record always have been attached great importance.

But, the truth is, change is inevitable no matter what industry you are tackling.

Those who adopt and adapt to change, survive and thrive, those who don’t, well, their presence is limited to history books.

If you have strengths established players don’t have, use them, if you don’t, embrace your weaknesses and make a story out of them.

An established player may have strengths to his advantage such as trust, reputation, experience, great line of past customers, an established way of doing things, and so on.

A newcomer on the other hand may not have any of those, but he brings a lot of flexibility, fresh energy, a willingness to learn and adapt to the ground situation, and so on. He can experiment and try new things much more effortlessly unlike the established player who is always playing against large stakes.

A newcomer has nothing to lose, and that’s his biggest advantage.

 

Here’s an example of a now famous brand that turned it’s vulnerable point into a USP or Unique Selling Point using story.

Airbnb went against the giant hotel industry.

What did Airbnb really have working for them? In a way, the odds were heavily stacked against them.

Their business model essentially was about getting people to open their houses to strangers across the world. This also means asking travelers to abandon the comfort of a hotel and go live with a complete stranger just to save some money.

How did they turn it around into a great business model?

They marketed this model as something of an experience for both, the property owners and the travelers!

The travellers get to make friends, experience local culture, and save money.

The property owners again get to make friends, meet interesting new people from around the world, learn their culture, and make money with Airbnb.

To sell this to their target audience, Airbnb used a lot of stories, ones recorded by their customers on their travels, thus practically doing their marketing.

Their success so far? Around 1 million guests were using Airbnb on New Year’s Eve! Airbnb is already a Multi-billion dollar enterprise.

3. Stand For Something

There was a time when the word ‘Corporate’ brought an image of greedy executives destroying the planet and reaping the profits for a select elite few. Not a lot has changed. Every now and then, a big Corporate will make the news for its deceptive practices, for taking advantage of their customers, for being irresponsible towards the environment, and so on.

It’s not for nothing that many Hollywood flicks still paint a big corporation as the bad guy. Hey, even the movie Avatar, the highest earning movies of all time has a greedy corporation for a bad guy!

That’s why, in the recent past, corporations have made a rush to take up a social cause.

Earlier, we talked about TOMS and Warby Parker and how their initiative is making visible change happen.

I think the above companies are doing an amazing job with their efforts to promote a good cause.

And, people have noticed it!

There are, of course, those companies who are taking a social cause for good press. (Well, they have it coming’…)

 

Our recommendation? Start looking for a cause from Day 1.

Find some cause you are truly, incredibly passionate about. It is something that makes you burn inside, something that tears you up, gives you sleepless nights, doesn’t let you sit peacefully in one place and takes away all sense of comfort from within you.

Make a list if you have to.

 

Got it? C’mon, we all have at least one. For me, it’s animals and children. I get really worked up inside if I hear or read some news where animals or children are getting abused. It instantly gets me awake, on alert and I have to stand up and at least pace around to calm down.

I am talking that kind of passion. If you can somehow link your business with a cause you are really passionate about, you will start experiencing an incredible amount of fulfillment, joy, and a wellspring of energy within you from Day 1. TOMS above is a wonderful example of this.

Once you have at least one cause, make sure to push your effort in that direction. It can be similar to the ‘buy one, give one’ push similar to Warby Parker and TOMS, it can be donating a percentage, it can be regular sponsorships, whatever.

Just make sure it isn’t a publicity stunt. Your efforts have to count for something, have to aim to bring about a visible change, have to be credible, and have to be consistent.

You can of course make it a part of your story and it will be THE most powerful element of your story.

4. Adopt Consistency

As we discussed earlier, a new entrant has odds stacked against him. However, you can bring about change if you have a vision, can position yourselves as a better alternative, are socially conscious, and show consistent ethics.

Remember, you are not a new entrant simply there to grab a piece of the pie. You are there to change the status quo to something far better. You are there to deliver something better, fill in a persistent  market desire, or bring about a required change.

Ever seen some new business who brought about a certain refreshing perspective, a unique selling point, or even a better way of doing things… then it was soon revealed that it was just clever marketing, and that they are no different from the other old, established players.

What a big disappointment, isn’t it! I have seen my share of not just businesses who do this, but even politicians.

Once the noise has settled down, the market will likely hate this new entrant with a ferocious intensity. Hey, nobody likes being taken advantage of, let down, or even being fooled.

However, if the new entrant is all about authenticity, consistency, and holds himself to a set of ethics they marketed upfront, then they are going to replace the old players pretty quickly and bring about lasting change in their market. Think Volvo and their ‘safe cars’.

It’s time to hold yourself to your vision and keep doing the right thing again and again.

5. Don’t be afraid to make some noise

“An empty vessel makes more noise,” goes the saying.

It doesn’t really apply in this case though.

If you have the above elements in place, your marketing transforms from ‘self-aggrandizement’ to ‘promoting a just cause’.

Because hey, even if you are doing some great work, it’s not like people are going to come looking for you.

You have to reach out to them, show them proof, and get them on board for whatever you are selling them.

This is when you show off what differentiates you, your passion and ethics as a founder (a human face is always better than a company without a face), what your company stands for, your visible commitment to a just cause,  and your willingness and efforts to bring about a desired change.

This is how you gain supporters and fans to support your brand and support your cause.

Remember, it’s just not about you.

Your brand, your company, your vision is larger than life and it stands for something significant, not just in terms of philanthropy, but also the services and products you offer.

What does that look like?

Enter the ‘THE GREATEST CUSTOMER SERVICE STORY EVER TOLD.’

It was written by Peter Shankman, who was heading to Newark from Tampa one late evening on a flight. He knew he would reach his apartment late and wouldn’t have time to grab dinner on the way.

Being a steak lover and a regular customer of Morton’s Steakhouse, he started craving steak.

Unwilling to eat fast food at the airport, he tweeted this to Morton’s:

“Hey @Mortons – can you meet me at Newark Airport with a porterhouse when I land in two hours? K, thanks. :)”

 

He wrote it jokingly of course, and writes that other than a few giggles, didn’t expect anything in return.

He shut off his phone on the flight. Two and a half hours later, he landed at Newark.

Walking off the plane, he headed towards the area where the drivers wait, as his assistant had reserved him a car home.

Looking for his driver, he saw his name, waved to him, and started walking to the door of Newark, like he’d done hundreds of times before.

“Um, Mr. Shankman,” said a man standing next to the driver.

He turned around.

“There’s a surprise for you here,” said the man.

The man was in a tuxedo.

And he was carrying a Morton’s bag.

He introduced himself as Alex from Morton’s Hackensack and proceeded to tell Mr. Shankman that he’d heard he was hungry, and inside was a 24 oz. Porterhouse steak, an order of  Colossal Shrimp, a side of potatoes, one of Morton’s famous round things of bread, two napkins, and silverware.

He hands him the bag. Mr. Shankman is stunned, for life. He later goes on to share his story through blogging, tv interviews, and of course, with his friends and family.

 

Peter Shankman further shares that Morton’s Hackensack was 23.5 miles away from Newark airport according to Google Maps. That meant that in just under three hours, someone at Morton’s Corporate had to see his tweet, get authorization to do this stunt, get in touch with Morton’s Hackensack, and place the order.

Then Morton’s Hackensack had to cook the order, get it boxed up, and get a server to get in his car, and drive to Newark Airport then(never an easy task, no matter where you’re coming from) then, while all this was happening, track down his flight, where he was landing, and be there when he walked out of security!

 

 

 

That’s really making a difference with not just your philanthropic efforts, but also through just the way you think about your products or services and the way you deliver them to your customers.

There’s a lesson in it for all of us!

And, how’s that for someone writing a great brand story for you and promoting the heck out of it, all for free!

Here’s the link to the full story if you want to read it – https://www.shankman.com/the-greatest-customer-service-story-ever-told-starring-mortons-steakhouse/

 

Now that we have all the elements to make a great brand story in place, let’s see how to bring them all together and create a story that moves, gets shared, and builds rabid fans.

 

A Story To Remember

As a marketer myself, I regularly run into clients looking to grow their business.

Some time ago, I ran into this self-defence instructor who was looking to promote himself online.

He had all the elements in place, but was entirely clueless about marketing himself. He was under-selling his personal brand to say the least.

That’s why, we started by re-inventing his story. Let’s call him Joe for non-disclosure purposes. (It’s an entirely fake name and any resemblance to a living or dead person is entirely out of co-incidence. That was just a quick disclaimer… which I had to get out of the way.)

Joe had quite the story.

When he was young, he was into arts and was a gifted painter. He even put up his own school exhibition with works of art he himself created. He was a bright student.

This was until one incident that turned his life around.

Bullies got hold of him.

It started with small incidents, which he consistently submitted to and allowed to get the better of him.

The bullying got more and more vicious, until one day, his bullies made him start flushing and cleaning toilets after they had used it.

He broke down. He had lost all sense of innocence within him and even lost his sense of basic human dignity.

His father noticed his withdrawn behavior, how he was so reluctant to go to school, and how he was deeply disturbed all the time.

Despite repeated requests and attempt to get him to open up about his changed behavior, he kept mum and didn’t talk about his experiences at school.

As a last attempt at mentally preparing him and making him more outgoing, he forced Joe to join a self-defence class.

On day 1 itself, Joe was so moved by his instructors pep talk and the importance of being strong to be and do good, he never looked back. He practically adopted self-defence skills as a religion after that.

Years later, he got his black-belt and being a trainer was only the next logical thing to do. He wanted to help more people like him deal with bullies and abuse, and come out the other end stronger and a better version of themselves.

(So far, do you see how I am selling you his story with details about his life, painting a vivid picture, making him relatable, and selling his struggles?

I have introduced our protagonist, built a setting, introduced his challenges, and rapidly intensified the action getting you more and more involved!

There’s no separate climax here. The challenge is the climax – one of being viciously bullied. I did the build-up to this climax through the setting of the story. I asked him to share the ‘toilet-cleaning’ part during his live workshops as well even though he wasn’t really comfortable with it. The reason for sharing was it being not only deeply moving, but it was also deeply personal, something which made his audiences connect with him instantly.

It’s of course entirely up to you whether or not you would like to share your personal experiences. It is a risk you take and the result may tilt on either side, the good or bad. Just something you should know…)

(Story Continues….)

Joe went on to start his own self-defence training classes.

He got great response from people in his community and made a name for himself.

But, he still wasn’t entirely satisfied and something inside him was hungering to make a larger difference.

So, he started offering free classes to anyone who seemed to require it but couldn’t afford his fees. On every other weekend, he offers free training classes, especially to victims of abuse.

He has received an incredible response and has so far held more than 50 such workshops around the country, for free.

A holder of 3 black belts in three different styles of martial arts, Joe really cares about every client who wishes to learn from him and goes the extra distance to shower personal attention on each and every client.

At his training dojo, you don’t just get your money’s worth. Far better than that, once you hand over yourself to him, Joe WILL make you a better, stronger, more refined person able to calmly handle any challenge life throws at you regardless of where you are starting from.

(Again, see how we made Joe a relatable person, used his struggles as a USP – and not his intimidating black belt degrees, his concerned efforts at making a difference in others’ lives and his consistent sincerity?

Trust me, we will make some noise by sharing his story at every workshop and every platform available to us!)

 

That’s all. Time to wrap up this article.

Conclusion

4 key elements to any good story –

i) Authenticity

ii) Adding life to your brand story

iii) Making your brand story relatable for your audiences

iv) Selling your struggles

These 4 elements are a foundation your brand story stands upon.

 

The structure of crafting a great story –

i) The Setting

ii) The Challenge

iii) Rapid Intensification

iv) Build-Up to Climax

v) Climax

vi) The Final Struggle

vii) The Wrap Up

 

The Content of your Brand Story –

1. Start With A Common Problem Or A Shared Vision
2. Play on your strengths or use your weaknesses
3. Stand For Something
4. Adopt Consistency
5. Don’t be afraid to make some noise

I would say this is a befitting wrap up for this 3-part nightmare of an article, wouldn’t you say so?

Be sure to share it, all 3 parts, with anyone you think will benefit from it. That would also be justice for my efforts, don’t you think?

Part I – https://www.morphomfg.com/how-to-tell-your-brand-story-for-maximum-growth-and-impact/

Part II – https://www.morphomfg.com/how-to-tell-your-brand-story-for-maximum-growth-and-impact-part-ii/

 

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