Your Brand Is Your Story; Your Story Is Your Brand
“Ted Talks” have become the gold standard for a winning presentation. However, Ted Talks are also a model for building a flourishing brand. Why? Because at their heart, both a successful presentation and a successful brand are matters of storytelling.
Carmine Gallo, author of the book Talk Like Ted, says the single most successful presentation in Ted Talk history spent 65 percent of its time telling stories rather than facts and data points. “Our brains are wired for stories,” Gallo explains.
And your brand is a story. Whether it’s the half hour you get to spend with a prospect or the 30 to 60 seconds you have to outline what you do at a cocktail party, your story has to convey the value of your product and service and accurately reflect your brand.
1. The 5 Cs of storytelling
How do you make sure you have a compelling brand story that can attract customers? Craig Valentine, a speaking consultant, says you should use 5 Cs—the same storytelling elements that make a Ted Talk soar:
- Characters. Your brand should be told through the eyes of real people. This could be the founder, customers, or even the suppliers. For example, Starbucks and Taco Bell have put out commercials where they tell their brand story from the viewpoint of the farmers who provide their ingredients.
- Conflict. Conflict is the essential element of drama, and it should be an essential element of your brand story. Any product or service is created to meet an unfulfilled need, and any unfulfilled need presents conflict or problems.
- Cure. There must be a cure to the conflict—something that adds value to a person’s life.
- Change. The “characters” in your story, such as your customers, must change as a result of the conflict. Once their conflict is cured, their lives are never quite the same again—they are improved from that point forward.
- Carryout message.This is the takeaway message from your story. Customers, employees, stakeholders, and everyone else who comes into contact with your brand must understand how it can help them attain the success they desire.
You might believe that’s all fine for a John Grisham novel but wonder if it’s applicable to a small business brand. Think again: Storytelling doesn’t have to be fiction. It’s simply stripping away excess verbiage and focusing on the people and inspiration behind a company or product, resulting in strong brand awareness and brand consistency.
2. The 5 Cs in action
Consider an example that Gallo gives of Ludwick Marishane, a young man from Cape Town, South Africa who was named the 2011 global student entrepreneur of the year because he didn’t want to take a bath. He invented DryBath, the world’s first non-water-based, bath-substitution lotion.
Pause for a moment and think about what the 5Cs in Marishane’s story might be. Here they are, in roughly 30 seconds of reading time:
- Marishane grew up in an area where water and electricity supply were unpredictable, and one day while sunbathing with his friends he thought about solutions to the difficulty of being able to take a bath. (Character).
- He researched and found that 2.5 billion people in the world live in conditions like this, increasing their risk of contracting disease. (Conflict).
- He created the world’s first and only bath-substitution gel, which people can apply to their skin and use to clean themselves without any running water. (Cure).
- As a result, people improve their sanitation and reduce risk of trachoma and other diseases. (Change).
- DryBath is the rich man’s convenience and the poor man’s lifesaver. (Carryout Message).
If you look closely at any strong brand, you can see a similar pattern, because every brand has a story, and every story has the same structure. So examine your company and products, considering how they were shaped by the 5Cs. And at that point, you’ll have a brand story well worth telling.
Help customers tell your story
No publicity can match that which is offered by your customers. You can help them push your cause by adding the mybook℠ button to your website. By doing that, you’ll make it effortless for your customers to save details about your business and share your YP℠ business profile with friends and family via text, email, or social media—helping you get the referrals you need and grow your business. It’s completely free and super easy to integrate.
Visit the mybook℠ page now, and input the Web address for your YP℠ business profile to generate the code for your custom mybook button, all in just one click.
Learn more about the mybook℠ feature