Once Upon a Time There Was a Business
Branding Your Business Through Storytelling
Each and every business has a unique personality and customer offerings—or in modern business-speak, a brand. How effective a company is at communicating their brand to attract an audience comes down to storytelling.
Think about your favorite laundry detergent. Do you picture a chunky bottle of liquid and a dismal laundromat? How about mountains of crisp smelling shirts as perfectly pressed and fresh as the day you bought them?
If the laundry detergent company is doing its job, you are envisioning the latter, whether it is true to your life or not. You are able to picture the ideal result of using that product because the story you have been told is that if you buy this laundry detergent your life will be aromatic, organized and beautiful.
The power of that imagery is what keeps customers coming back time and again to the same brand. And, as a small business of any kind, you can harness that power for yourself.
The first step is to look at what product or service you provide. Perhaps the answer is dance lessons for seniors. What advantages do dance lessons provide for your target audience?
We could extol the health benefits and the social aspects of group classes for an ageing population. But the real problem we are solving is to make this group feel young and romantic once again.
Your dance class will remind them of what it feels like to be glamorous and carefree if only for one afternoon a week for ten weeks. Who wouldn't want to join your class and waltz their way into the limelight?
Once you identify the storyline of your business you can target all of your efforts at clearly communicating it to your customer. Your marketing materials from print ads to your website must present a consistent story each time.
You don't have to have an expensive logo to make your brand stand out. Choosing a distinctive colour or palette that is different from the majority of your competitors and sticking with a couple of font choices is all you need to develop your own look.
Make sure your visuals are high quality and represent your audience in an attractive light. You want your customer to be able to see themselves reflected in the style of the brand so much that they would recommend it to a friend.
Keep your message simple. Remember the laundry detergent and the beautiful, clean lifestyle it is promoting to you. You want your message to be encapsulated in a straightforward yet powerful image just like that one.
A line of sparkly dames dressed in flapper outfits and laughing as they tap dance is just the picture your dance academy needs to attract your core clientele. A beautiful vintage script and the base colours of black and gold and you can develop eye-catching posters and flyers to put up around town.
Remember to use that vintage font for all print ads or social media posts you use in promoting your brand so that the consumers begin to recognize your style.
Once you attract the customer to your door, continue the branding on receipts, thank you cards, and recital posters. You can even incorporate the brand by having instructors dress in black with gold accessories.
There are myriad ways to tell your brand story and reinforce it through imagery. Knowing who your target audience is and what problem you are solving for them builds your foundation.
Consistent messaging will draw the attention of that audience and delivering the desired conclusion to the story will keep them coming back for more. Do a good job of your branding and you will develop customers who are fans.
Fans not only buy your product but they tell others about it and word of mouth is one of the most precious resources a business can have. Every company has a unique story to tell. What is your story and how can you use it to brand your business today?