A brand story? That’s for the big guys – right? The ones with the dedicated departments, the budget, and the time to create and promote their story… After all, we’re focusing on our product development and sales – surely that’s the most important thing? And it’s not as if our brand story can’t be easily grafted on later when we’re ready? Mind you, have we even got a brand story?!
Size Really Doesn’t Matter
Everyone has a story to tell. Your brand story is equally important, whether you are a small local start-up, an established regional player, or a multinational corporate. You might even argue that for those companies at the beginning of their journey – who are attempting to establish their name in a B2B niche – the immediate need is greater.
So Much More Than Just Filling the Space
Your brand story is not an indulgence. It’s an essential part of who you are. So much so, that if you haven’t formulated a brand story, or even consciously defined a need for one, that reveals its own story. Whatever your priorities, you don’t operate in a vacuum. Despite – or because of – any inaction, something is still being conveyed to your potential customers. Even if it is only serves to illuminate the convincingly crafted stories of your competitors. Why would you leave this crucial space uncontested, when you can define, maintain and control what you present to the world on your own terms?
Your Story Involves Everyone
Okay, I think we have a story – so, I guess we can do something? Begrudging the importance and effort involved also goes against the grain. Your brand story isn’t some additional ‘fluff’ that’s just nice to have. It’s not an inconvenience, or the icing on the cake, wheeled out for the high days and holidays when you feel it is right to do so. Your brand story doesn’t sit above or below your business strategy. Neither is it confined simply to your marketing efforts. Or an element in isolation from all your other business functions. It’s a thread that runs through all you do. Your permanent shopfront, passport, and human face to the world and your prospective customers. Your brand story is how they see and perceive your company, your products, and your goals. It’s the essence of where you came from and where you intend to go in the future.
Hmmm, Can’t We Do That?
Don’t feel the pressure to imitate. It’s also easy to be intimidated by your competitors who are much further along in the process or feel inadequate in the face of the well-known narratives of your brash cousins in B2C. Don’t feel you have to emulate the scale, drama, and budgets involved in their storytelling processes either.
A Never-Ending Story
Your brand story is happening now. It’s not just some celebration of the details of the past formation of your company that is mythologized or frozen in time. It’s an integral part of every aspect of your day-to-day. It’s your company’s head, heart, backbone and vascular system. It’s all the words and images that flow from you, including: your website, emails, product brochures, blogs, articles, podcasts, webinars, the way you present yourself in meetings… everything. Your brand story helps to define and reflect your tone throughout – the way that you speak to your customers, and your industry.
Achieving The Three C’s
Confidence, consistency, and being convincing go hand-in-hand to present a successful brand story. If you are not confident, consistent, and convincing about YOU – how can you expect anyone else to feel the same about your products and services? Avoid becoming too self-conscious. It might seem a contradiction, but your brand story is not all about you. Obsessing internally often ends up indulging overwrought, over-stylized, or highly embroidered content that is very hard to swallow, let alone follow. Insider humour, secrets, or speculation should stay inside. Anything that isn’t fundamentally outward facing is inclined to exclude and keep people out of your loop.
Presenting yourself as something you’re not, isn’t the way to go. You might eventually get to that place, but until then maintaining any pretence is much harder work than in delivering the reality. Creation and fabrication are not the same thing. Fake goods might look like branded initially but the real test of the product and your storytelling comes over time. It’s the truth that resonates. It’s common to everyone. Your customer’s experience extends to the same universal needs, issues and struggles as you, so celebrate all aspects of the day-to-day. Also don’t balk at genuine emotion, however dry the communication traditions in your business sector.
Building Toward a Bigger Narrative
Over time a comfortable and natural narrative mix will evolve. Relevance and respect are both hard won but easily squandered. As your brand story develops and you grow your position in the marketplace, you will discover the creativity to match your ambitions. The skill comes from interweaving the details and the tone with content that conveys how closely your world is in sync with your customers, helping your brand story drive your position as a thought leader. By using and mastering all the building blocks that reinforce the bigger narrative you create an enduring touchstone for your business.
It’s All About Real People
When you first formulate your brand story it may seem disappointingly mundane in comparison. The temptation to try for easy wins should be resisted. It’s not about being boastful. Ultimately, no one trusts a litany of relentless success, or a know-it-all who talks down or at people. Always endeavour to ‘own’ your niche – but only in the right way. Talk to your target audience. Solve their problems. Empathise, relate and encourage. Do unto others…Gradually, your brand story becomes engrained and second nature. It embodies everything you are. No more a burden to your ‘real’ business as it engages, resonates and drives your marketing. What could be more convincing than when you – Be honest, be real, and be YOUR B2B brand story.
Whether you have an established brand story that needs developing or refining, or are still looking for the one that resonates, let Mulberry help you. Contact us here: