Seasoned storytellers know that great brand stories start with a solid strategic framework. This framework helps ensure that the intent of your story is well thought out. That it is relevant to those you hope to serve. That it offers real value. And that it connects with the audience in a meaningful and moving way.
A simple place to start is with a tool called the positioning statement. The positioning statement helps you document the key components of your strategy. The result is a directional narrative. …
I have written in the past about the power of fear in marketing. Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a potent motivator. As such, it’s often abused by marketers.
There is a time and place to help prospects understand that an offer is ending. Or that a limited supply is depleting. But it can’t be the first and only way you engage with prospects.
As I mentioned, there are a lot of marketers who do that. Does it work? Sometimes initially. But at what price? It can cause a lot of anxiety and distraction for potential customers. That can be…
People want more purposeful work. It shows up in research and articles. I’ve had some employees who intimated that they wanted it. Heck, others practically demanded it.
I can tell you from experience that before you start addressing the request, you find yourself asking, “What is purposeful work?
Is it work that is simply purposeful to you? Fulling some personal definition you have? Or is it universally recognized as a purposeful endeavor?
Most of the people I’ve talked with haven’t stopped to really clarify what purposeful work looks like. Oh, there are some general defining principles. It’s usually described as…
Naming is challenging. It can be very subjective. And emotional. So much so, that it may be difficult to question a suggestion from an executive in your organization who is passionate about a name.
I often wondered if anyone had voiced concern when Mr. Brown decided to name his orchard with the family surname. There is something rather off-putting thinking about what kind of fruit comes from Brown Orchard.
You probably think I just made that up. I didn’t. It was a real place near me. It’s no longer there.
Announcing that you’re going to pursue clarifying a purpose just seems to naturally draw out the skeptics in an organization.
I have heard things like, “Purpose is nice, but our customers choose us because of our ______ (insert service, or price, or convenience, or any of the myriad of other functional attributes).”
For some reason, there is this belief that it is an either/or proposition. As if we were going to abandon everything we have done in the past that has brought us to this point.
I get it. New stuff is scary. It challenges the way we have been…
I’ve been asked to write rules for organizations over the years. Everything from developing brand strategy to building a social media presence to creating verbal and visual executions. You can create a lot of rules and still worry that maybe you left something unaddressed.
It got me thinking that it would all be so much easier if we had some definitive guide. Like the commandments. Brand commandments.
Would there be ten of them? Would that be enough? Wouldn’t it be great if it was even simpler?
It made me think of the story of when Jesus was asked what was…
Today the term ‘purpose’ gets bandied about way too casually by organizations. And as a result, these organizations start to define it too narrowly. For one company I read about, purpose became shorthand for their sustainability initiative.
Sustainability is important. But it is just one expression of the purpose.
Clarifying a purpose sets a foundational element that has an impact that ripples across an organization. From HR and recruiting to operations to customer care to marketing and more. In order to unleash its full impact, we have to ask what we want purpose to do for our brands.
We all want that brand story that feels undeniably irresistible. A story that effortlessly engages people. A story that inspires and creates a deep connection. So what’s keeping us from such a story? Here are a few of the usual suspects.
As marketers, we’re eager to get the word out about our offering. The first instinct is to start talking about ourselves and what we offer. We treat ourselves as the heroes of our brand stories. We are not. Those we hope to serve are the heroes.
Put yourself in their shoes. Would you really want to hear an organization…
Great brands know how to share. I’m not talking about letting us know about their most recent product rollout or sharing the latest news about their organization. I’m talking about the kind of sharing that delivers surprise and delight. Like sharing know-how. Or better yet, sharing something that entertains while it enlightens us. Or maybe even something that inspires. Brands that know how to do this are the ones that elevate themselves above the sea of sameness that most brands flounder in.
The default setting for most brands is not (unfortunately) to share.
Sales manager: “We share.”
Me: “Is that…
In the past, those your hope to serve would get to the end of the brand story and begin to see how the brand could enhance in their lives. They would begin to see the ‘what’s in it for me’ proposition. This is how branding operated for years.
But then, purpose became a thing. And with it came the realization that epic brand stories don’t end with the ‘what’s in it for me’ proposition. Epic brand stories go one step further and illustrate the ‘what’s in it for us’. …
Dan is an expert brand strategist and author of the book Big Audacious Meaning — Unleashing Your Purpose-Driven Story. He is a founder at Will & Grail.