I often hear the idea that a brand is defined by what people say about you. While I agree that perception, consistency and people define a brand, have your ever considered how these 3 element can impact your brand based on your customer’s source of knowledge.
As business storyteller Shawn Callahan, author of the newly released Putting Stories to Work, puts it, “There’s no such thing as a brand story – because if you think about it, it’s not one thing. Instead, if you’re a big brand, there are many millions of stories that come together to form the impression of a brand. Stories are the pixels of a brand image.”
Have you ever considered how your pixels make your brand look in your consumer’s eyes? According to the Black Project, a brand can have up to eight storylines:
- The Story the Brand Tells – this is the summary of every piece of information you put out to the market. Whether it’s your defined vision wonderfully executed or what your lack of marketing effort tells your customers, it all creates the brand you tell.
- The Stories the Consumers Tell Themselves – these are the alignment stories. They help consumers to compare and contrast the stories they are telling themselves with the stories your brand is telling.
- The Stories the Consumers Share With Others – increasingly these revolve around experiences and reviews. We judge the authenticity of the stories brands share about themselves by what others have experienced and the stories they tell of those experiences.
- The Stories the Media Shares – these are the stories of public record. They are the stories of validation or disapproval around a business’s behaviours that help consumers decide whether a brand remains on-brand for them. Brands like BP and Volkswagen have found their brands deeply impacted by the stories that have emerged of their conduct.
- The Story the Culture Shares – this is the internal business story. It’s the story that the company tries to create behind closed doors. The success or failure of this story can have one of the biggest impacts on your business as its shared through your “Employees Stories”.
- The Stories the Employees Share – these are the stories employees share with each other and those around them about your brand. In an era where company reviews are so important, employee reviews can make or break a culture and brand.
- The Story the Company Tells Investors – for many companies the stories told to the consumer and the investor are not aligned, creating a disconnect and potential fracture of the brand ideals.
- The Stories the Competitors Tell – these stories provide an alternate story to what your telling and prevent you from telling a one-sided story. However, be conscious that “those who throw mud often end up with it on their face” and negatively impacting their brands story.
What do you think your stories are saying about your company and your brand? If you need help with your stories give BRANDiT a call and let’s see what your pixels look like.
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