The “throw spaghetti against the wall and see what sticks” technique may work in the kitchen, but it’s not a very effective brand strategy.
Many companies try writing their own copy, attempt blogging, post sporadically on social media or play around with videos because they think they should. But without an overall story and content strategy, the money spent has little impact and, therefore, no results. If there’s no story, there’s no intention.
The secret formula for building your brand’s reputation is this: A compelling story, plus great design, plus consistent language equals reputation. Because your story is the soul and DNA of your company, it gives people an inside peek at what it’s like to work with you and what you stand for — and best of all, it builds the trust that opens their wallets.
Trust is built — or not — with every piece of content you produce, from the signature on your email to the copy on your website. Even the way you speak about your company shifts perception.
Many of our business-to-business clients think they have nothing to write about. What? With a carefully designed content plan and a good writer, you will never run out of things to say. Here are the seven parts of your story from which you can produce original, ongoing content no one else can own.
1. History And Roots
The stories that come from just one of these questions are amazing. Check out Me and the Bees lemonade company. An amazing 12-year girl who was stung by bees at age 4 decided not to be traumatized. Instead, she became obsessed with bees and, through understanding them, came to respect them. She founded her company on lemonade made with honey. The branding here is perfection.
2. Motivation And Purpose
Steve Jobs was driven to be a yardstick of quality. Everything he created came from this context and earned him his reputation. He took a lot of heat, for sure, but never wavered.
Social consciousness is an important part of a company’s reputation today. For example, Tom’s Shoes built an empire on donating a pair of their shoes for every pair purchased. Customers feel they are doing good while buying a great product, which motivates them to choose Tom’s.
4. Expertise And Experience
A list of services just doesn’t open wallets. But stories do. People remember stories, particularly ones that show your thinking and problem-solving processes and that you are on top of industry news. This shows you are not a dinosaur — the kiss of death for any business.
5. Company Culture
Company culture has become very important to reputation and attracting new talent. Companies like Google, Facebook and Apple pay interns top dollar in their search for top talent and new ideas. free food, unlimited healthcare, music room and many more offerings are an innovation in company culture, and kids are breaking down the doors to work there.
Once upon a time, we lost a contract because we didn’t outline our work process clearly. Now we include a detailed outline of the steps we take in every presentation. We have closed more business because clients are confident our process will bring their project to the finish line.
7. Wins And Losses
Let people into your thinking and experience. It closes the gap in getting to know you and creating your reputation. Write about how what you’ve learned has moved your product forward. A story about how you solved a problem in an impossible situation shows you go overboard for your clients.
How To Begin
To kick off creating your story, enroll your team, talk about each of these seven things and write down ideas. You may be surprised at what comes up of importance to you.
This takes honesty, thoughtfulness and time to do. Sometimes this can be accomplished in a day’s session or over several weeks. Working with an experienced brand designer and writer who knows how to ask the right questions can facilitate and clarify this process.
When your message and story are clear, it will change everything about your content and design direction.
Think about how you can apply the seven components of your story to create original content for your:
• Website design, headlines and copy
• Blog articles
• Sales presentations
• LinkedIn and social sites
• Email campaigns
• White papers
• Speaking engagements
• Networking groups
• Public relations
There are many ways to create the trust that build a reputation, online and off. With this formula, you can do it!