You can’t control what is being said, you can lead it

As an owner, founder, CEO, president, or some version of several of these titles, at some point in time you made a decision: to start a business – or take the helm of one that already existed.

Maybe you researched, planned, and joined a successful franchise. Perhaps you started at the counter and eventually took over the shop that your grandfather built. No matter the exact scenario, you became a part of that company’s very fabric when you took your position. Whether the very first few pages or several hundred in the middle, your role started a chapter in your brand story.

“Brand story, huh? Sounds like some pretty fancy marketing jargon.”

I hear you. And the marketer in me hates to admit that most buzzwords really do come off that way. But just because it might be an on-trend phrase doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Whether you acknowledge it or not, your brand has a story. It’s being written all around you. The kicker? You’re not the only one writing it.

Every employee, customer, competitor, distributor, Facebook fan, or Twitter troll is someone who has experienced your brand, even on the smallest of levels. They could be sharing a glowing review about how you got their only car back on the road after the shop down the street was too busy. They could be personally attacking a member of your team for something entirely false and not related to your business at all. My point is this: any conversation gives you an opportunity to communicate, authentically and openly, in your own voice. While you can’t control what is being said, you can lead it.

Putting your brand out there can be a bit intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are three ways you can start sharing your brand story today:
Your history

Who started your business? What was the goal when it first got off the ground? In sharing how you got from your very first dollar to where you are today, you give customers a way to connect to you through your background and maybe even a shared history. Whether in an “about” section on your website or the “Our Story” section of your Facebook company page, tell people what you’d like them to know about you.

New products and services

Did you just launch texting to your main business number so customers can set up an emissions appointment that way? That sounds cool. While you might be tempted to announce that you’re now offering [fill in the blank], resist the easy megaphone-style message. Instead, share why you decided to launch this feature, the top 10 ways a new customer can use it, or even a quick video of an actual conversation between you and a customer.

Employee features

Having trouble finding talent to keep your business moving? You’re not alone. In today’s applicant-driven job market, it’s even more important that you’re sharing what it means to be a part of your team, the story of what it’s like working for you. The best way to share this part of your story? Through your current team. Better still, tie an employee feature on one of your social media platforms to a work anniversary. Share not only what your company means to this person, but what this person mean to you.

Your brand story is your business’ emotional undercurrent. It’s what gives your transactions a feeling, and what gives your customers a reason to choose you. If you don’t take the time to stop and tell your side, outsiders will fill in your narrative for you.