Using the Power of Story To Build Your Brand

“Tell me a fact and I’ll learn. Tell me a truth and I’ll believe.
But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.” — Indian proverb

by Jen Barth. Jen will be presenting “Using the power of story to build your brand” on Wednesday, March 21st at 6pm.

Since launching my firm, Big Small Brands, in 2010, I’ve led bimonthly small business marketing workshops on a wide array of topics, ranging from Branding & Marketing Planning to Social Media Essentials to Market Research and Brand Identity.

Hands-down, the workshop topic that has been the most popular — and the one that creates the most (and the most interesting) follow-up inquiries and dialogues, is Brand Storytelling. So, I’m thrilled to be leading this week’s workshop, “Using the Power of Story To Build Your Brand.” We’ll even have a special guest speaker, Matt Breslow, Founder of the famousGrilled Cheese Grill, who will share some insider tips and insights from his experience, too.

Here’s a snapshot of a few (of the many!) things we’ll cover:

What is “story,” and why is it so critical for today’s brand builders?

”Stories are efficient. In today’s ADD society it isn’t possible to detail all of the data to scientifically prove your point. Story helps people take the leap of faith necessary to be inspired to take action.”  — Jon Winsor, “Developing a Story

As we all may recall from English class, and our own experiences as readers, all good stories contain 4 key elements:
1. Character
2. Conflict
3. Plot
4. Message

Stories help give emotional context and humanity, define relationships, and connect emotionally by sharing personal experiences through familiar frameworks. Stories are also critical to getting your business message across. In another workshop I led with Online Newsroom’s Terri Nopp, research is proving what we all, inherently, know already: stories are more interesting to hear, so we listen to them more carefully. We learned that, according to a study conducted by the London School of Business:

• 5-10% of people retain information when you share a statistic or fact
• 25-30% will retain it if you include a story with your statistic
• 65-70% will retain it if you tell a story.

So why aren’t we telling more stories?

A Few Brand Storytelling Tips

“Words are how we think. Stories are how we link.” —Christina Baldwin

In our session, we’ll also cover 8 Tips to Telling Powerful Stories when you are building your personal or professional brand. A few on the list are…

Sweat the Small Stuff
First impressions matter. People form an impression of the professionalism of your brand in 1/20th of a second. You may have the perfect story to tell, but if your business name or identity isn’t clear, or your website isn’t functional, your story won’t matter because it won’t get heard. Get clear before you create!

Search for Your “Samoa”
Research shows that 85% of people will take a chance on your business if they know something about you personally.  I have one involving a business I launched when I was 9 years old that does a better job of explaining who I am as a business professional, and an individual, than any Linked In profile ever could. I share a few more in my bio and in occasional blog posts I write like “The Little Tomato Revealed: 8 Things You May Not Know About Me.” (Of everything I’ve ever written on this blog, and a few others I run, that post had the highest click-through rate, ever). We all have stories like these to tell. What are yours?

Content Is Your Currency!
Most of us are familiar with Pay-Per-Click advertising models, right? What if we had to pay for each word we chose to put on our websites and across social media channels? We’d be a lot more careful, wouldn’t we? In today’s landscape, content is our currency: Use it, spend it, and share it wisely. Make it relevant, timely, truthful, and credible. And make every word count!

Use the Power of Picture
Stories need help, too. Consider how you can accompany them visually through the use of Colors & Bolding and imagery to make it easier for readers to digest information and get a sense of who you are — and aren’t. We’ll go over some examples of the growing infographic, trend and get a behind-the-scenes-look at the creation of the Grilled Cheese Grilllogo.

There’s lots more we’ll cover on Wednesday night, so we hope to see you there!

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