Focus on your story, not your offer

Your brand’s story is what defines your brand. It is your purpose and values wrapped neatly into a concise statement. It is the centerpiece of your strategy and informs decisions concerning every touchpoint and communication.  
When you focus on your story, you set yourself up for long-term success by gaining and retaining customers based on shared values. Shared values equal same tribe. Customers who identify as part of your tribe will rationalize their purchases and loyalty regardless of a cheaper price or better product elsewhere. Focusing on story allows you to capitalize on brand equity down the line when you expand your offering and avoids competing on price and features, which competitors may match or surpass.

Case example: Apple

the Take away

  • Communicating your story
  • Creates loyalty and
    client retention
  • Creates community
  • Shows authenticity
  • Builds trust
  • Creates an easier path to expand your offer
  • Allows you to capitalize on brand equity with new products

BAKE YOUR BRAND INTO THE PRODUCT

The premise of baking your brand into the product is to take your story and build it right into the product design so that the product does the marketing for you. If your product is distinctive, and what you stand for is unique, make it look different so that it stands apart from the competition. Let it be recognizable.  

Case example: Tom’s shoes

the Take away

  • Bake your brand into the product and save money as the product does the marketing for you.
  • Resource 
    Bakedin
    by Alex Bogusky and John Winsor
    @bakedin

CREATE BRANDED INTERACTIONS

Every time someone interacts with your brand they should have a unique experience that reflects the company’s values. Weave your brand story into all of your interactions.  

Micro interactions

 Your micro-interactions are everyday interactions with the product itself. They include gesture, sound, messaging, loading screens, buttons, etc. These may seem insignificant, but when we interact with them—and we interact with them constantly—we are building a connection, just like we do with people. Keeping the interactions simple and delightful will help create an engaging product. If they are frustrating and cumbersome, these will be the sore spots that cause users to disengage. ­­ 

Principle interactions

 These are interactions you might immediately associate with a brand. These can include packaging, in-store experience and advertising. Most brands focus here.

Special interactions

As the name suggests, special interactions are limited engagements. These might include a tradeshow, an event or a product launch. Use these interactions to generate buzz especially with social media.   These are all opportunities to engage with the customer and build a relationship. When creating these moments remember to check in with the story and strategy. Every interaction is an occasion to reflect the personality of the brand, to push your story forward and to differentiate.

the Take away

  • Branded interactions create
  • Intimate relationships with
    the user
  • Community
  • Buzz
  • Free advertising
  • Positive experiences
  • Client retention

CAPITALIZE ON WAYS TO SCALE

When you expand your business, you want those expansions to be consistent with the story you’ve been telling. For example, the Harley Davidson cake baking kit doesn’t reflect the primary values we associate with the brand. This creates dissonance in the brand and with the customer. If you use your story and strategy as the blueprint to move forward, you give yourself permission to grow your target audience, enlarge your product reach, to build influences and to increase revenue.  

Opportunities for expansion include partnerships, affiliations, events, conferences, products and thought leadership creation.  
Successful case example:
Starbuck’s coffee maker

the Take away

  • When you scale, refer to your story for alignment. It will increase your chances of success in expanding your target market and creating new streams of revenue.

keep your materials branded across
all touchpoints

A lot of companies have great brand tool kits and don’t use them. This is a mistake. You paid to have a great brand created, now get the most out of it. Consider your brand presence across all of your touchpoints, even the micro-interactions mentioned above.

You should be telling your story over email, push notifications, social media, in your workspace, in digital advertising and all throughout your in-app user-experience. Make your brand speak for itself in all communications to increase brand recognition, build authenticity and trust and to maximize your brand assets.

the Take away

  • Brands that are consistently reinforced are recognized and
    brands that are recognized are
    more valuable.