Why your brand story has no soul

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 drone on about itself? Or would you want to hear a story that centers around you?

If you want your story to feel magical to someone, make it selfless. Make it about those you hope to serve. Help them see themselves in the story. Encourage them. Help them hope. Inspire them.

There is a place in the customer’s journey where they want to hear about your features, but it’s pretty far in. Before that, they want to know how you can help them take advantage of an opportunity or solve a problem in their lives. And even more powerfully, they have this deeper need to feel inspired and connected to something larger than themselves.

Unfortunately, too many brands focus almost solely on the features. Occasionally wandering into the realm of the benefits. But leaving unexplored the richest opportunity of building a bond with prospects by sharing a meaningful purpose. This results in rationally-driven and uninspiring brand stories.

How can you expect your brand story to have soul if you don’t stop to clarify what it is about your brand that inspires others? Seems like a no-brainer, right? The truth is, the organizations that stop to clarify their purpose are the exceptions and not the rule.

Sometimes there is a vague notion of a larger purpose the organization serves. But what I have found is that there is commonly a disconnect between what leadership and the rest of the organization believe. And another disconnect between the organization and the customers and prospects it hopes to serve.

Clarifying the brand purpose creates your North Star that will guide everyone and everything that you do. It allows you to begin to tell your inspiring brand story. A story with genuine soul.

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 — a brand innovation company, helping organizations clarify their unique, undeniable, and unshakable sense of purpose and create innovative experiences that bring it to life.

Originally published at https://www.dansalva.com on April 30, 2021.

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.

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