What’s the first thing you do when meeting someone new? You ask them questions to unveil their story: Where are you from? What kind of work do you do? Do you have children? Do you come here often? Questioning a stranger is more than a polite way to pass time — it’s the core of trying to connect.
Stories make life interesting and give people a way to connect. People crave them, which creates a big opportunity for brand storytelling.
Unfortunately, a lot of companies don’t think of themselves as a brand, let alone consider whether they have a story to tell. But the problem is not that they don’t have a story — they just don’t understand how to find it, or how they should be sharing it.
A brand story is made up of all that you are and all that you do. From the company’s history, mission, inspiration, goals, audience, and raison d’être, it’s why you exist. Your story is the people, places, and ideas that your company thrives on. It’s the foundation that keeps a brand going and growing. It’s a blend of those vital little core pieces of information about your business — how you came to be, why your products or services are special, what you’re passionate about, your company culture, how you make people’s lives better, and why you would do business with your company.
Brand stories can be told in many different forms, with an evolving story line and cast of characters, but content creators must be vigilant about continuity and consistency, avoiding any holes. Your brand’s story has to resonate with people at a level that goes way beyond what’s tangible — the functionality, features, and benefits of your products or services — to create a deep, emotional connection with your audience. You have to create something that they want to be a part of and show that you really “get” who they are and what they need.
Here are a few basic questions to answer to help you pull your story out of its box:
1. What’s your reason for being?
To tell your story, you have to know your reason for being in business and be able to articulate it clearly. What is your purpose? What is important to you? What makes your product different from the competition?
Business leaders must understand the essence of their own company’s mission — and get real with themselves as to how durable and realistic that mission is. Businesses also must have clear corporate positioning that identifies who they are at their core, and is based on a deep understanding of why they are in business and who they are in business for. The strategy, mission, and vision are part of the true essence of a brand story, and are essential to aligning that story with truth and reality. If you are building upon a weak foundation, there will always be cracks in your story.
Understanding your brand helps you speak more confidently and clearly in an interview.