How to Discover and Execute Your Brand Story

Your brand story is critical for connecting with customers.

Without it, you’re doing your startup a significant disservice.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Mark Jones on my podcast recently.

Mark is the co-founder of Filtered Media, which provides marketing, PR, and brand storytelling to companies like Adobe, Coke, and Telstra.

Mark outlined the components of a brand’s story:

“The first of course is origin, and the power of an origin story is that every single person’s origin is entirely different even though they might discount it. And it’s also important to know that it’s completely defensible. So somebody else can come along with a better widget than you, but they can’t have your unique story. In Silicon Valley it’s the people who went to a garage and started the business; so we have these evocative narratives…”

Mark kindly pointed to my own personal story as an example, explaining how I started Station Five whilst neglecting my studies in a university theatre — a young man following his passion. His critical point was: “No one else has that story.”

The components to a brand’s story:

Mark says we need to forget the facts and figures, like how many staff we have and how long we’ve been in business, and go for the heart right away:

“What was your story? What was the thing that got you out of this narrow track? People actually want to know that stuff. We’re all people.”

Mark says we’re being subconsciously trained by Hollywood:

“By that, I mean the story arc. If you don’t know the Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell, it’s I think one of the best models to understand story. We go from a known world, a safe world, and we go through this unknown world into trials and challenges, and ultimately we return back home again. So there’s a model of story that is hardwired into our brains through what we see in the movies and TV, and how we read stories. This becomes the filter through which we see and understand the world. So if you really want to connect with people you’ve got to get your head around story.”

Mark says your strategy is important, but hooking people into you and your business is what holds it all together:

My message here is get your tactics right — you’ve got to get your automation right, you’ve got to understand how the whole thing works…that’s the technology that we need, but it’s the story that holds it together. People are not going to go down your funnel and convert unless there’s something really compelling about what you offer and how you’re presenting yourself to the world.”

Mark then discussed the other components of a brand’s story:

“Then you’ve got a vision story. So who do I want to be when I grow up? Then you have the trials: the difficulties and the challenges that you inevitably encounter in business. Then you have the truth, the moment of truth, which is will I go on and get up when it’s we’re down to the wire here, it’s the crunch point: ‘Am I going to get up out of bed and move this thing forward or am I going to give up?’ Those stories — everybody has that story in life and in business — we don’t tell it! Sometimes it’s actually the most powerful story you can tell to the right audience. Then the next stage we have is growth. Growth is where most of marketing exists: ‘Look at me we’re an amazing company come join us!’ And then from the growth we go into realizing the fruits of all of our work, and it’s the destiny story. It’s the look at us giving back to the community, look at how we’ve realised our vision, we’re being really generous and open and it’s an exciting point where you can kind of celebrate all the battles that were kind of hard-fought and won. And then guess what? The whole thing goes around again. You get to have a new birth, which is maybe a new chapter — a new office that you set up, or you know a new product or a new service or a pivot. Once you get your head into these storytelling models, it really helps you to reimagine your marketing in a different way.

Do you need to rethink your marketing with Origin, Vision, Truth and Growth?

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For my full interview with Mark Jones, have a listen via this link.

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