The Startup Dilemma: How to Tell Your Brand Story When You’re Lacking History : Under30CEO The Startup Dilemma: How to Tell Your Brand Story When You’re Lacking History : Under30CEO
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The Startup Dilemma: How to Tell Your Brand Story When You’re Lacking History

| November 19, 2012 | 2 Comments

Contrary to popular belief, a story doesn’t come with age. In fact, we create history every minute of every day. We actively shape it with what we say and with the connections we make with others. Once you realize that, you’ll start seeing your brand story a little differently.

No longer will it seem like spin or grasping at straws. Once you embrace the fact that history is fluid, you’ll find the confidence to shape how you want to be remembered and to formulate the story you want people to know your company by.

How you present your young company is as important as the product or service you offer. Your story shows the world how your company came to be and why you do what you do. In turn, a strong brand story creates more loyal customers because your company will stand out among your personality-starved competitors.

Here are some pointers to keep in mind when crafting your memorable brand story that will come to define you in the marketplace:

Figure out what you stand for and find your niche. Who are you right now and who do you want to be? The beauty of crafting a brand story when you are a young startup is that you get to begin from scratch. Remember, you’re making your own history, so be sure your foundation, principles, and values are clearly defined.

Assess the traits that best represent your foundation. Once you’ve defined what you stand for and why you exist, it’s time to craft a leading character in your brand story. Tap into the persona that captures who you are and who your company is, and present that version to your audience. This doesn’t mean you’re inventing characteristics—you’re simply highlighting your best traits while removing the ones that are distracting.

Find the common thread. Piece together your brand story by finding the common thread between your core values and your company’s personality. Use the characteristics and company stories that help you best convey what it is you’re trying to tell people.

Highlight the turning point. As with any good story, your brand story needs a turning point that invokes an emotional response. Re-create your company’s journey. Capture the excitement or realization of when you discovered you could meet a need in the market or when you saw your vision come to life, and complete the arc with your decision to create your company.

Build credibility by making customers part of your story. Once you have the foundation of your values, personality, and turning point in place, focus on building credibility. Sharing your company’s story with your customers establishes credibility in itself, and the more you share your story, the more you will attract new clients and retain the clients you already have. But in order to root your message securely in the minds of your customers, you must gain their trust.

Do this by connecting your clients with your brand and making them part of the story. This doesn’t mean using a dry case study or even a testimonial. Rather, show your clients where they belong in the narrative of your company’s inception and mission. Share an anecdote of your experience with a client that shaped how you run your business. This allows your prospects to feel a part of your company’s culture and builds the bond they have with your brand.

Work your story into everything you do, and be consistent. Your brand story is more than just how your company came to be—it’s also your culture, personality, and tone. Be sure that all these components are consistent throughout all of your marketing materials—your website, SM updates, emails, sales pages, videos, and even speaking engagements. Not a single word can contradict the persona you put forth. That’s why it’s so important to craft a brand story around who you really are.

The more you share your story, the more your consumers will know exactly who you are and how they are supposed to remember you. Be sure you give them something to remember you by.

About Michelle Salater: Michelle Salater is the CEO of Sumèr, a full-service copywriting firm and an award-winning writer and content expert featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, MyBusiness Magazine, M.O. Online, and Entreprenista, among others. She also connects with a worldwide audience and shares her expert advice via her radio show, Business Confessional Talk Radio.

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Category: Personal Branding, Startup Advice