connection to your why

Your brand story is not for everyone

Within every brand story are its core benefits, beliefs and values. The story begins with these, they’re its foundation, at the heart of the matter and they represent the core of why a brand exists. The reason developing that story is critical in developing a brand that people want to engage with and which they will come to love is all about the things that make us human. Truly loved brands are those that go beyond doing and making stuff to doing stuff that matters to people and making them feel good about having that brand in their lives.

 

When you first start thinking about your brand’s values, beliefs and ideals, it can be daunting and confusing. It’s not something that’s going to bring any benefit if done superficially, you have to go deep. Going deep and getting real about why it is you do your thing and why it’s important people know about your thing and the message you’re bringing to the world is sometimes confronting for people. It feels hard to think about something that deeply, but stick with it. Take the time and the effort and keep at it until you start some momentum because once you get some flow, once you start hitting on the things that really matter to you, it gets much easier and you know you’re getting there.

 

The reason it starts to feel much easier is because you’re starting to touch on core values and ideals that resonate and reflect your own values and ideals. Your business doesn’t have to have the same core values as you do personally, but they will and should resonate with and reflect your own. When you start to feel that, you’re onto something you genuinely care about and the reason this is important to distill is because these are the things that other people will resonate with and care about. It’s that human connection and reflection of values that’s at the heart of every really outstanding and truly loved brand.

 

The reason you have to take the time and energy into drawing out your brand ideals is of course because it’s the thing that people connect and identify with, but that won’t be possible unless you’re able to communicate those values and ideals in a way that people understand and resonate with. It’s no good to create a heart-drenched mission with your values and ideals meticulously set out if no one knows about it. That’s why you have to turn that mission into a story and that story becomes your map, your guide, your beacon and your message in every single thing you do. Your brand story is what wraps up your brand values and ideals and gives them to your customers and clients in a way that connects with and reflects their values and ideals.

 

Your brand story, therefore, is not for everyone. Not everyone will understand, connect with and resonate with that story and that’s ok because it’s not about pleasing the masses. What it is about is being crystal clear, stoically true and utterly committed to the ideals that underpin the very existence of your brand, your business. That’s the human thing about business and the only thing that makes business real; human relationships. Being authentic and solid in who you are doesn’t attract or please everyone; not everyone will like it and in fact, many won’t like it at all. But what it can do is initiate the potential for deep connection, engagement, loyalty and trust based on shared values. 

Photo credit: Image by tsg1 via pixabay

Consistency matters

Happy employees make a difference to the customer experience. We hear it all the time and I’m constantly writing about the importance of starting inside with what’s important, crafting that into a meaningful brand story and telling it in every way possible, including through your staff and how much they buy into and feel they represent that story. It’s important because people connect with emotion, and it has to be real. People care less about stuff and more about how they feel. Much, much more.

 

I know that it’s for this reason that it’s next to impossible to stand out and make a difference with tactics designed to interrupt people and strategy designed to get attention when it’s not based on something that comes from the heart. Getting noticed is pretty useless anyway unless people actually believe what you’re saying. Creating messages that actually mean something to people is important because our number one goal is to connect and engage. Because well, that’s what people do. That’s how we are and have always been. 

 

But your ‘messages’ aren't just the things you write; your copy, your slogans, your catch-phrases, your advertising. Your message is in everything. EVERYTHING. Every contact your customer has with you or your business and your brand, sends a message. If you want to be believed, then that message needs to be consistent. That is, you need to tell the same story in everything you do.

 

My inspiration for thinking about consistency of story and brand message came from a recent experience with a plumbing supplier. I’ve been renovating my bathrooms and walking that line between creating a thing of beauty and not blowing the budget … too much :) I’d finally found a mixer that I actually liked and which was in my budget because it had been heavily discounted as a discontinued item. The matching bath spout however was in Palmerston, NT and was one of only two left in the country. This was no problem though because the staff were very diligent in organising it to be sent to Perth, and even when it took a wrong turn and ended up in Adelaide, they kept me posted and assured me they’d get it to me. And they did.

 

When I went into the store to pick it up, not only did the lady who was looking after me do a brilliant job of making me feel looked after on top of everything she’d already done, but about 3 other employees at varying times during my visit, commented jovially about this bath spout, one of the last of its kind, doing a tour of Australia before it ended up here. They were happy I’d got it because they knew how important it was to me and do you know how that made me feel? It made me feel really happy because I felt like they really cared.

 

As I left the store, amidst wishes of “Enjoy!” and “See you next time”, I noticed the company’s brand message on the wall. It said, “Bathroom Happiness”. And I thought to myself, damn right. I am happy. I love the bath spout, but I loved the way I was treated more … and I believe them. I believe them when they say they create bathroom happiness because that’s what I felt. It wasn’t the bath spout, or the brand message, it was the connection those employees created with me that made me believe their story. They were consistent.

 

Consistently telling your brand story in everything you do is what fosters trust and loyalty, over time. Authentically making real connections is what makes people feel what you want them to believe. Otherwise, it’s just words. 

Photo credit: "Life for me ain't been no crystal stair" by downing.amanda via Flickr

Why being connected to your why stops your marketing from being icky

How being connected to your why stops your marketing from being icky.jpg

Because it's real, it's you, it's authentic.

 

Because it's not a performance. It's not some show you put on in exchange for money, clients, likes, customers, shares, metrics and ego strokes.

 

Because it's not some dancing monkey wearing an uncomfortable little tuxedo, jumping through hoops while playing a miniature tambourine. Well, you get my drift.

 

Because if you actually care about what you're doing, what you're creating, what you're pouring yourself into and how you're directing your life, then there's no need to perform, no need to do tricks. You just do you. Really, really well.

 

It’s because when you care about what you’re doing and you know why you’re doing it, then it doesn’t feel sleazy or stagey to tell people about it - you WANT to tell people about it and you’re proud to be sharing your thing.

 

Your “marketing” turns into sharing what you know, what you do, what you create, what you believe in. And if that thing can help people, help them to solve a problem, help them to be healthier, happier, find more hours in the day, make more money, look after their bodies better, think clearer, dream bigger, be a better parent, fix their car, paint their roof, express themselves, find the best deals, write better, create their art better, feel like they belong, know they’re not alone … then don’t you kind of have some kind of social obligation TO share what you know? Isn’t it right that you should find those people you can help and go do that?

 

Because when you’re connected to the reasons that you do the thing you do, you’re more likely to say, “Hey, I’m not an expert, but I really, really believe in this this stuff and this is what I’ve made - I think you’ll really like it and I’d love you to try it out”. Ok, that might sound a bit vulnerable and not like much of a sales pitch, but if it’s your truth, then it’s your truth. Truth can’t be wrong. And just because we’ve all become so conditioned to expect hyped-up sales and marketing, doesn’t mean it’s right … for YOU.

 

Because when you start with that inner why, that inner belief, maybe even that inner vulnerability, you’re creating a foundation of authenticity that’s rock-solid and ready to grow and expand. If you choose to start with a dancing monkey act, what can you do? Learn more tricks.

 

Because when you really understand, care about and value what you do, what you make, what you say and how you show up in life, then you stop trying to please everyone. Pleasing everyone isn’t the point, you know it and you become really ok with that when your why is crystal clear. You no longer need permission, ego strokes, likes, shares, ranks and metrics to tell you it’s worth something - you already know. You already believe. And man, belief is fascinating and contagious - think about that for a sec.

 

And guess what? All that love, all that permission, all that liking and supporting and sharing and ranking and selling comes back to you when you give it out first. That’s because when you put your values and yourself front and centre of your business and inject you and those values into every aspect of that business and in every way you show up, you’re giving people something to connect with and that’s what we all want. People can’t connect with ‘things’, they connect with people. They don’t connect with tricks and slogans and performances - they connect emotionally with other humans and that’s because we all want to belong and matter.

 

… Because we all want to belong and matter. 

Related posts: If this resonates, you might also like my post on Icky marketing.

Image credit: Courtesy of 'Lost on Planet China' at https://lostonplanetchina.wordpress.com/tag/dancing-monkey/