It’s hard out here for small businesses.
As recently as 2018, 30 million of them were vying for the universal trifecta of profitability, sustainability and visibility. Despite their common pursuits, all of these enterprises possess something unique: their brand story. And if constructed correctly, that story can help the company establish a brand that’s not only memorable but enduring.
Here are a few things for you to consider as you engage in crafting and sharing your effective brand story.
Cultivate Your Signature Storytelling Voice
The first rule of storytelling is to be yourself. When it comes to how you communicate, would you say you’re straightforward? Breezy? Offbeat? Maybe even off color? No matter the style, ensure that it’s consistent and unmasked. You — and only you — are the guardian of your voice.
Tell Your Story With Confidence
For the meek among us, the prospect of focusing on self is just plain wrong. But to elevate and sustain your brand, you must push past the directive (often instilled in childhood) to be humble and, instead, engage in confident storytelling that highlights your expertise and your company’s distinctions. As the actor Channing Pollock once said, “Calm self-confidence is as far from conceit as the desire to earn a decent living is remote from greed.”
Own Your Story’s Conflict …
The last thing many entrepreneurs want to do is delve into the hardships or conflicts they’ve endured. They conceal those periods of disruption while spinning upbeat narratives that are at best, incomplete, and at worst, false because they’re convinced customers relate best to companies with unblemished histories. However, the truth is that people relate to tales of struggle, even those that companies experience. How could they not? After all, adversity is unavoidable and universal.
… Then Detail Your Story’s Resolution
These days, small businesses are in the midst of what, for many, is their greatest period of adversity. The COVID-19 pandemic has created an economic challenge some have already lost and others are struggling to overcome. What’s emerging among the small brands still operating is an awareness of the importance of sharing how they’re weathering this crisis. By leveraging that aspect of their stories, these companies have an opportunity to generate affinity and brand awareness that could sustain them.
Storytelling Is in Our DNA
Cavemen did it. Tribes and nations have done it for centuries, and continue to do so. All of them built cultures and communities through storytelling. Small-business owners can build up their culture and constituents by crafting compelling stories in a manner that creates a deeper understanding of, and affinity for, their companies — one word at a time.
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