Are you spending massive amounts of money on marketing your products and getting no results? If you are wondering what is going wrong or whether your product is good, pause and ponder: what if the problem isn’t the product but the way you communicate about it?
A pretty website doesn’t sell things, the fact is words sell things. And if you haven’t clarified your message, your customers won’t listen. Investing a lot of money in a design agency without first clarifying your message is like holding a bullhorn to a monkey. It is only noise that a potential customer will hear.
Getting your products to market isn’t your only goal; you also need to communicate why your customers need those products. Despite having the best product in the market, if your competitor’s offer is communicated more clearly, you might lose to them.
How would you like to make your point? Are you able to say it easily? Is it relevant, simple, and repeatable? Does your entire team have the ability to convey your company’s message in a compelling manner? How many sales are you losing because customers cannot figure out what your offer is within five seconds of visiting your website?
Most businesses fail for not able to build the right brand story for their customers.
If you do not have a brand story, you must start building it now. And if your brand story is not bringing you results, you must find the flaws without waiting for someone to come and tell you (because no one will actually come and tell you).
Getting the right story will help you advance narratives that create meaningful moments for your customers and resonate deeply with them.
Most of us get it wrong, we start telling our company’s story. It is a mere waste of time and opportunity as customers don’t generally care about our story; they care about their own.
Here is how your brand story playbook pages should look highlighting the basics where the chances of failing are high, But if done right will change the way you talk about your business and perhaps the way you do business.
Brand Story Playbook - Page 1
Who is the hero/protagonist in your brand story?
If it is your brand, you are doing it wrong. The customer should always be the hero, not your brand.
Do you know what your customer wants or a desire they want to fulfill?
As a brand, it’s important to define something your customer wants because that is how you put forward a story question in the mind of the customer and that is: Can this brand really help me get what I desire?
So, speak to your customers and identify their desires.
Brand Story Playbook - Page 2
Have you opened a story gap?
The idea is that you place a gap between your customer and what they want.
An understanding of story gaps comes from understanding what motivates the human brain.
When you fail to define something your customer wants, you fail to open a story gap.
When you don’t open a story gap in your customers’ minds, they have no motivation to engage you, because there is no question that demands resolution.
So, open a story gap that makes your customer feel invited to your brand story.
Brand Story Playbook - Page 3
Do you have multiple story gaps in your brand story?
A critical mistake most organizations make is not being able to pare down what their customers desire to a single focus.
Until you’ve defined a specific desire and become known for helping people achieve it, you shouldn’t add too many conflicting story gaps.
So, focus on one single story gap.
Brand Story Playbook - Page 4
Is the desire you want to fulfill relevant to your customer’s survival?
Once a brand defines what its customer wants, they fail to relate it to the customer’s sense of survival.
Trying to catch as many fish as possible, they define a blurred outline of a desire that is so vague, leading to confusing potential customers why they need it in the first place.
Remember, customers, want to know where you can take them. Unless you identify something they desire and define it clearly in your message it’s doubtful they will listen.
Save your brand from suffering the cost of confusion.
Brand Story Playbook - Page 5
Did you identify your customer’s problems?
Identifying your customers’ problems deepens their interest in the story you are telling.
In every story, there is someone trying to solve a problem, so when you identify your customers’ problems, they recognize you as a brand that understands them.
The problem is the “hook” of a story, and if you can’t identify your customers’ problems, your story will fall flat.
Brand Story Playbook - Page 6
Is there a villain in your customers’ story? What is the chief source of conflict that your products and services defeat?
Good storytellers use the villain to give conflict a clear point of focus.
You should position your products and services as weapons, your customers can use to defeat a villain and this will emotionally engage your customers.
The villain doesn’t necessarily be a person, but it should have personified characteristics that obstruct your customer to achieve his desire.
So, identify a villain in your story who is the root cause of all frustration, relatable, singular, and real.
Brand Story Playbook - Page 7
Have you identified and addressed the three levels of conflict your customer has?
The three levels of conflict that customers face are
- External Problems
- Internal Problems
- Philosophical Problems
The hero of every story experiences an internal problem as a result of a villain creating an external problem and quite simply, that is philosophically incorrect.
Likewise, these are also the three levels of problems a customer hopes to solve when they buy a product.
A perfect brand promise is when your products or services offer to resolve an external, internal, and philosophical problem of your customer.
So, identify the three levels of conflict your customer has and make a perfect brand promise to solve all of them.
To know more about the three problems read my article > Why your brand story must have a three-tier conflict structure.
Brand Story Playbook - Page 8
Are you positioning yourself as a guide who will transform your customer’s journey?
Intuitively we know if a customer can solve their own problem, they wouldn’t have gotten into trouble in the first place.
Good storytellers use a character as a guide to encourage the customers and equip them to win the day.
Always position your customer as the hero and your brand as the guide.
The two things a brand must communicate to position itself as the guide are
So, be an authoritative yet empathetic guide to move your and their story along.
These are the characteristics your customer is looking for, and when they sense empathy and authority, they know they have found their guide.
Brand Story Playbook - Page 9
Have you provided a plan for your customers?
It is easier for customers to trust a guide who has a plan in place.
It is possible to make plans in many different ways, but the plan you craft must be in agreement with either of the following:
- it either clarifies how somebody can do business with you or
- it removes the sense of risk your customer might have if they’re considering investing in your products or services.
Their main fear is not missing out on something, but messing around with something.
So, provide a plan that creates trust and confidence.
Brand Story Playbook - Page 10
Does your brand story call your customers to take an action?
If you can change your customer’s story for the better, why shouldn’t you be bold enough to invite them to do business with you?
As a guide in your customer’s story, you must be direct with them about what you want them to do, otherwise, the story gets messy and your customer starts to daydream.
A checklist that you need to adhere to while building your brand story
- Position your customer as the hero and introduce them at the beginning of your brand story.
- Identify what is at stake, and why should they care.
- Identify the 3 levels of conflict your customer has.
- Identify the villain behind all the conflict.
- Position your brand as a weapon to defeat the villain and bring an end to all the problems your customer has.
- Don’t position your brand as the hero, be a guide showing empathy and authority.
- Provide your customer with a plan that removes the sense of risk and increases their confidence in your brand.
- Make clear what the customer will lose if they don’t buy your products or services and call them to take action.
You must read the article, Does your brand story address the question: What’s at stake?
If you cannot do it yourself invite a storybrand expert and run a workshop for you and your team. Brainstorming is essential and a workshop is the best way to do that.
You must read the article, Does your brand story instill a sense of urgency?
Reflect on why you are there in the business, what problems your products or services solve what are your mission and vision, and finally, you will craft the right story for your brand.
You must read the article, How to cut the noise and clutter to clarify your brand message.
We can help you with developing brand story, brand message, brand storytelling, buyer persona development, building personalized marketing strategies, and strategic content creation. To learn more, visit our website.