By: Gordon Conner-Brand Solution #8
2015 is now in the history books and perhaps you can easily say that your business kicked a little butt last year! You implemented some awesome programs, added some key folks to your team and profits are up. 2016 looks good!
As the CEO of your company, you have your thumb on the pulse of your products, mission, offerings and your stakeholders. But do these stakeholders really have a grasp on what you’ve accomplished? Can your superstars and key customers recite back to you what you’ve done so far? Have you engaged with them online and personally?
How well have you told your story internally? Are your team members losing their grasp on what’s really happening inside and outside of your doors?
So many leaders get wrapped up in what’s happening with their brand that they forget that others aren’t mind readers and don’t have the same close-up perspective enjoyed by the CEO. And in this process, they’re losing the opportunities to build that same loyalty with these key folks.
THE OPPORTUNITY-When you engage people and help them understand your programs, successes, initiatives and brand storytelling lessons, you get these people much more involved in your brand.
To achieve your business and marketing goals, tell your stories through blogging, social media, videos and email. And for startups, this brand storytelling is just as important. Remember what the experts say, “Good stories give big voices to small ventures.”
Here are FIVE PRACTICES that will help you in 2016 to build brand engagement through storytelling.
- Add a Brand Journalist. Newspapers are laying-off their journalists so this is an excellent time to hire a talented journalist as a staffer, or consultant, to gather the news and write stories. A roving reporter can create a more open culture where people feel their work is appreciated.
- Study the Myths & Legends Surrounding Your Brand. Before you tell the brand stories, it’s a good idea to learn the history of the company and what version employees are telling.
Internally: Every office has a version of the company story that it tells, which is probably very different from the C-suite version. Also keep in mind that what is not being said can be just as important as what is being said. All of this leads to clues regarding training and educational needs.
Externally: Are there inaccurate stories out there about corporate practices, CEO behavior or culture? Your customer’s impression may be quite different from what you perceive as an insider. A person with good rapport with the customers, members or clients can conduct a “listening tour” and gain important insights through informal conversations and phone calls.
- Use Storytelling Techniques to Make Them Care-When you tell your stories, be sure they are stories that people can stand behind and root for. Do they have personality? What is the story about? Do they have a character that wants something and overcomes conflict?
- Don’t Leave ‘Em Hanging. You have to be consistent about everything you do. Don’t promise and then not follow through with that promise. They’ll just lose interest. Start by making a content calendar. It’ll make life much easier.
- Feature Many Voices, But Have One Consistent Brand Voice-It’s important for the CEO or Founder to bring a company voice and also be known on social media. But it’s also important to amplify the voices of other employees in the company. The smart move is to articulate your brand voice, along with your core message. And, as long as employees are trained on the message, let them drive your content strategy.
If your brand isn’t getting out, these are steps that you can take as CEO to insure the message is distributed, and done so with the right voice and with consistency. Do you have other steps that work for you? Share with us in the comments.
About the Author
Gordon Conner is a Branding Consultant/Coach and Copywriter who helps build WOW brands for small local businesses. He has been providing advertising, marketing, branding and copywriting services for 39 years and lives in Midlothian, Virginia. He can be reached at Gordon@BranWorks.com, or www.BranWorks.com.