If you’re a top-100 business then your brand name alone is effectively your story. But for the rest of the businesses on the planet who aren’t in this esteemed category, your story is your brand. The story that customers share with other people about you.

Marketing guru Philip Kotler said “The art of marketing is the art of brand building. If you aren’t a brand, you are a commodity. Then price is everything and the low-cost producer is the only winner.”

The problem is that potentially your story doesn’t stand out from that of your competition. Or worst of all – you don’t have your own story.

There are so many businesses who have no passion, no soul, no story. Which means it’s hard for potential customers to relate to them except on a price basis. It’s human nature to tend towards liking a person or business that we feel is authentic. Someone who has a story that we find interesting and want to be a part – and that’s why we shop there.

Someone who has a story we can re-tell as our own, for we are part of it.

As a business, you need to find your own story that becomes your differentiator in the marketplace – and in the minds of your customers. Here are some example stories:

An Amsterdam brewery has created a new beer called Hemelswater which is made from purified rainwater. They use captured rainwater run-off in Amsterdam to help prevent flooding localised flooding during heavy rain. Their story is that you can prevent flooding by drinking their beer.

Ziferblat coffee shop on Old Street in London doesn’t charge for the coffee and food there as it’s all free. You pay a fee of 5p per minute for the time you stay. They give you a clock when you arrive and you give it back as you leave – and that’s how they charge you. And that’s their big story.

There’s even an organisation called GigRove where people work for free on digital start-up businesses in exchange for accommodation. This allows freelancers to travel the world and for start-ups to access great talent in an interesting way. This forms another great story for all parties concerned that is rapidly shared on social media.

And in a previous post we highlighted a New York store called STORY that changes the complete range of items they sell every few weeks. Part of their story is that they are always telling new stories to their customers.

Your next steps…

Think about your own story…:

  • Do you actually have one?
  • How could you create one without changing too much of what you do?
  • What would make people want to re-tell your story – and so be advocates of your business?

Just do it…

Set yourself a deadline of two weeks and commit to identifying a simple, yet interesting story for your business by the end of this time.