By: Michelle L. Cramer
One of the most popular television comedies in recent years is How I Met Your Mother, which concluded in 2014 but, much like Friends or Seinfeld, will likely run syndicated for years to come. The whole premise of the plot was that the main character, Ted, was telling his teenage children a very in-depth, nine season story of how he met their mother (who wasn’t introduced at all until the end of season eight). What it turned out being was more of an extended story about his best friends and their interactions during their 20s and 30s.
During that process, viewers got to know the characters and have expectations for their approach to the world around them. Because that’s what stories do – they connect us, drawing us in to someone else’s world and making us a part of it.
And that’s why it’s critical for your brand to have a story. When customers know where you come from and what you’re motivations are, it draws them to your company, connecting them to your products and services in a deeper way than if they simply grab them off the shelf.
Where it all Began
“Founded in 1987” just won’t cut it anymore. Your customers need details about the formation of your company. Maybe not eight seasons worth of back story, but enough to give them the feeling of how important this company is to you.
Make sure there is an About Us page on your website. Be sure to fill in the About section on social media profiles too, such as your Facebook Page, Twitter and Instagram accounts. While the latter don’t give you a lot of room to work with, pull one sentence from your full company bio that embodies where your motivation comes from. And as far as Facebook is concerned, the About details offers as much room as you can use, so you might as well put the same information there as is on your website.
When you’re forming your company’s story, answer the following:
- What were you doing before you started the company?
- When did you start the company?
- Why did you start the company? Don’t be vague with something like “I saw a need.” Elaborate on why it was important to you to meet that need.
- What milestones has your company reached since its formation? When did you know that you had something successful and were on the right path?
- Have you won any awards? List them!
- What is your company focusing on achieving right now?
- What are your goals for the future (say, 5 to 10 years from now)?
Bring on the Character References
Having testimonials and reviews from your loyal customers adds to the story you’re conveying about your company. You don’t want to just toot your own horn and have nothing to back that up. When a customer sends you a thank you email, post their words on your website. Add them to the end of your about page or create a page just for testimonials.
And there is nothing wrong with reaching out to satisfied customers and asking for a little feedback on your company and your products/services. Send out an email or post a status update on your Facebook page requesting reviews. A little incentive (a freebie or discount) will go a long way in getting the feedback you’re looking for too.
Keep Your Story Current
Your brand’s story doesn’t stop at your creation tale and old reviews. Update your About Us details to tell customers about new developments and milestones in your company. Bump old testimonials (unless they’re really good ones) and replace them with more recent ones. If the most recent testimonial of your company is from 2006, potential customers are going to think you’ve lost that competitive edge.
Also, remain active on social media. Update the status on your Facebook page daily and let customers know what you’re developing, new products in the works, projects you’re currently doing for customers, etc. Post pictures on your company Instagram account showing your team in action, fun things happening around the office each day, on-the-job happenings, products out for delivery, and generally every non-secretive aspect of your business.
Allow your story to be continual and customers will begin to feel like they know you. Knowledge equates to trust in your company and your brand. And trust goes a really long way toward success.
And make sure your story doesn’t have a plot twist that splits the masses like the ending of How I Met Your Mother.