Does your brand have a story? You know—a story that’s captivating and inspiring; has real meaning and comes from the heart of what you’re all about as a brand. It’s a story your employees believe in and they rally behind it through their behaviors and actions. It reveals itself in your systems and processes and your customers are convinced by the story because you live it. This is the first in three-part blog series, where I will discuss the importance of your brand’s story and how to build an authentic brand that lives its story.
Countless times I run across brands that are really good at touting a story; what they believe they’re about and what they think they stand for, only to find that the story is backed by dysfunctional processes, empty promises, and a culture of discontented employees undermining it at every turn. This incongruence is dangerous as it tarnishes the company’s reputation at every customer touch-point. It creates mistrust and I declare never to do business with that brand again.
Authentic brands live and breathe their story. It’s reflected in their core essence—what they stand for and how they show up. You trust their story because you experience it through the living of their values and brand personality. The story is embedded in their standards of performance and the consistency in the delivery of the promise they make and keep to their employees and customers.
It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, or product or service you provide. If your story is true to who you are as a brand, your employees will get behind it, be inspired by it, and live it. If your story is convincing and consistent, your customers will love and trust your brand, and continue to buy from you. If the story is false or rather just a marketing gimmick, because the brand doesn’t really ‘own’ it, your employees won’t live it and customers will always see through the fallacy of it.
So ask yourself, is your brand living up to its story? Are employees instilling the brand’s values in their work and with customers? Are you satisfied with your brand’s personality and how it shows up? If you are having a difficult time critiquing your own brand, start by thinking of some brands you come in contact with on a regular basis, think of some good and bad examples that have convincing and inspirational stories and some that don’t quite make the cut. Then imagine yourself as a customer of your company, would you be experiencing the same story you want your company’s brand to have?
Posted by Carol Chapman, a Founding Principal and Chief Client Officer of Performance Inspired.