What’s the story people are telling their friends about your brand? It may not be what you think it is. What can you do to make sure the best brand story is being told and retold?
I was having coffee with a friend recently. We were discussing the entrepreneurial resurgence currently going on here in Cincinnati. New businesses are sprouting up every day, and people are talking about them.
She mentioned this fantastic new bakery in her neighborhood. She talked about the atmosphere of the place. When you walk in, you’re greeted with warmth and coziness and the smell of fresh-baked cinnamon rolls. She raved about the customer service, like how eager they are to answer questions and how they treat you like a human being. She told me I have to try the scones; they are to-die-for! And the cinnamon rolls, probably the most amazing thing she’s ever tasted!
She was gushing. She couldn’t wait for me to try this place. In fact, she urged me to go right then (it was just a few blocks away) and get a scone. “You won’t regret it,” she said with enthusiasm.
Her eyes lit up as she talked about the place. She loves sharing the story about this place, which she does, over and over again, with everyone she knows.
I asked her about other hip places she knows of, and she told me about this new pizza place down the street. They do great things for the community. They’re a second chance employer – they hire people with criminal records and train them to be good employees. They teach responsibility and good work ethics. They are making a difference in people’s lives.
“So, how’s the pizza,” I asked? She said, “It kind of tastes like cardboard.”
She didn’t light up when she talked about the pizza place. She won’t be sending her friends over there to get a slice.
As a business, they might be making a difference, but what kind of impact could they be making if their pizza was delicious. What if a better story was spreading?
The problem isn’t that a story isn’t spreading. The problem is that it’s the wrong story.
People are talking about the inferior pizza, not about all the good they’re doing for the community. That’s a problem. If their goal is to have a bigger social impact, to promote real change for the neighborhood, they need to shift the narrative.
Wrap Your Product or Service in a Good Story
The bakery gets it. Their products are the best in town. Their cinnamon rolls might be the best in the world. They’ve also created an atmosphere that’s welcoming, warm, and friendly. They’ve wrapped their product in the story of a remarkable customer experience.
It’s great if you provide excellent customer service. It’s even better if your business directly benefits the people in your community. But none of this matters much if you’re selling a lackluster product.
To ensure the right message is being spread, you need to wrap a great story around your product or service.To ensure the right message is being spread, you need to wrap a great story around your product or service. Click To Tweet
For the bakery, it’s the experience of going into the shop, the smell of fresh-baked cinnamon rolls, the people who treat you like you matter. It’s more than just baked goods. But their product happens to be amazing. That’s a story worth sharing.
The pizza place? They have a strong sense of purpose – they’re giving people a second chance, they’re helping people get their lives back. They have a great story to tell; but they have to get the pizza right. Once they do, they’re poised to have a more meaningful impact in the community. Right now, not so much. No one wants to share bad pizza.
How to Ensure People Share the Best Brand Story about You
So what can you do? How can you be sure your story is good enough to share? I’ll offer two questions for you to consider:
1. Is your product or service amazing? Because it has to be. We all know mediocre, we see it all the time. Are you wowing your customers with your product or service? If not, what can you do to make it better? If you’re not sure where to start, ask your customers, they’ll be happy to tell you. Read your reviews and take action. Strive to make a product or service that’s so good people can’t wait to share it with their friends. There are no shortcuts to accomplishing this. It takes time. Show up every day, do the work, and get it right.
2. What’s the story you’re wrapping around your product or service? Do you provide extraordinary customer service like Zappos? Is your brand focused on having a positive social impact like Patagonia? Are you doing something that no one else in your industry is doing like Purple Carrot? Are you approaching your work with a unique perspective like Brass Taxes? What story can you wrap your product or service in? What would make someone feel compelled to tell their friends about you?
Both of these questions are important to consider because when you get them right, you’ll have a story worth telling and retelling.
What’s the story you want people to share about your brand? Does it match the story that’s spreading today? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.