We’ve been told it’s no longer Business To Consumer (B2C) or Business To Business (B2B), it’s now Human To Human (H2H).
We need to learn to connect.
Instead of constantly creating content and pushing it out there as fast as we can, on as many channels as we can, we need to stop and focus on what really matters to our ideal audience.
Not just sharing what they need, when they need it most, we also need to be relatable, relevant and real.
We need to start sharing our brand story...
Telling your brand story is a sure-fire way to connect and engage, not only as a business person or specialist in your field, but as a fellow human.
Because businesses and products don't have emotion, people do.
Businesses and products don't have emotion, people do.
Your brand story should capture and convey how you want to make people feel, in fact it’s one of the first questions I ask those who want personal branding help…
How do you want to make people feel?
Sharing your story enables your prospects to feel they know you, discovering something they like about you and starting to trust that you are able to help them.
Remember your brand story is different from your elevator pitch.
The pitch is short, 99% about them, not you, and is totally focused on creating a question in the mind of your prospect.
If you can deliver a core message in 30 seconds that has them asking “so how do you do that”, your pitch is perfect and it opens the door for you to share your story.
For the proven formula for a core message click here.
It should be engaging enough to capture attention and create intrigue for your audience to want to know more.
Here’s how to create your brand story using the 3R’s of Personal Branding:
Your brand story will create a recognition factor for your business, as long as you focus on what you want others to say about you.
The human brain makes up stories with or without facts, just consider how tantalising gossip is!
So make sure your brand story is clear and precise, using the words you want others to use when they refer you to others.
You also want your prospect to recognise themselves in your story.
Don't be tempted to only include the good bits, make sure you share something they can resonate with, something human that they can nod in agreement to, smile or even laugh at, knowing exactly how it feels to be in the same situation.
You want your prospects to recognise themselves in your brand story.
Once upon a time there was a little girl who sat in a classroom and struggled to understand English.
Her teacher told her she had ‘wordblindness’ and that she would never be able to learn like the other children.
She taught herself to paint pictures of words in her head and read as many books as she could lay her hands on.
Years later she became a leading brand manager, working in World leading advertising agencies and even won awards as a Neurobranding specialist - understanding the way the brain sees brands, the same way she saw words in her mind when she was a child.
That’s part of my brand story.
Its simple, engaging, easy to read and most importantly, easy to remember.
The best stories get remembered and retold, over and over again.
It’s the way the ancients use to teach and pass on their culture, pastimes and even recipes and remedies.
It’s exactly what you want your brand story to become…
…a well told, recognised tale that your raving fan clients find incredibly easy to share and spread for you.
So keep it simple, avoid jargon where you can, and create a fable like theme that’s interesting and easy to retain.
Keep your brand story simple, so it can easily be retold.
A personal brand sets your ‘trust currency’ and your brand story helps increase the level of respect people have for you and your expertise.
We are living in the age of the authentic brand and it’s incredibly easy to fact check you, so make sure you story is genuine.
Plus consumers are incredibly savvy, reading between the lines and using their instinct to believe you or not.
Expertise, certifications and awards leverage your brand to great heights, but can make you aloof and untouchable.
Be real, have a head of gold as the go-to expert, but make sure you also have feet of clay, letting everyone know you have walked in the shoes of building a business with mistakes and catastrophes that made you who you are.
Don't try to impress, try to engage with success and failure in equal measure and make sure your story includes your passion, purpose and reason why you do what you do.
Don't try to impress, try to engage.
For the backbone of your brand story, choose 3 major events in your life that affected you forever. What did you learn from those experiences that you could share with others to help them on their own journey?
Humans make decisions based on emotion and a brand story connects on an emotional level.
You don't have to have a rags-to-riches story, just be human, don’t hide your flaws,
Some of the personal brand stories i love include Oprah Winfrey, who was on stage at the front of her church as a 3 year old, Richard Branson who, like me, has dyslexia and on his last day at school, was told by his headmaster that he would either end up in prison or become a millionaire!
You don't have to have a rags-to-riches brand story, just be human.
I love the brand stories my clients have developed when I ask them to go back to their childhood and consider their natural gifts and talents.
Dianne who hated doing the milk round with her family, but loved counting the money at the end and went on to become an accountant.
Sian who was the peacemaker in her home, always making sure everyone had what they needed and now she has launched Flexible Families for stressed out mothers.
And Marguerita, a born healer, now a light-worker with a global following.
And remember you don't have to only share just one aspect of your story, create the whole thing and then choose which part is best to share for each audience or purpose.
It’s your story, you wrote it, you lived it, so tell it how you want to.
Once you have your brand story completed, make sure you share it.
Spread it widely, at minimum in your social media profile, on your About Us page and in your speaker bio.
Tell it when you introduce yourself as the guest speaker, give it to media who interview you and include in on your author page.
Make it part of your brand culture and weave it into the fabric of your brand identity.
After all, you can’t judge a book by its cover, and you can’t evaluate a brand before knowing its story.