Before going into what I wanted to share with you today, may I ask a question? As part of the book which I sent you an excerpt from some weeks back, I have developed a simple model which can be used to determine what your story is. Would you be interested in going through these few questions and give me feedback? If yes, kindly let me know and I will send you the questions.
Actually my story for today is related to the questions referred to above. While working on The Leader’s Tale, I learnt about something called ‘Brand Storytelling’. What exactly is brand storytelling? It is using your company story to reach out to your audience, your customers with the goal of not only letting them know what you stand for but creating lasting bonds. The complex sentence simply means a company telling their story and showing their customers who they really are.
The big question then is, how do I build a brand story for myself? It’s all well and good creating such a story for companies, but I am me and not a company. The second question is – do I even need a brand story in the first place. The simple answer to your second question is, YES! Whether you’re trying to get a job or pitch a new product or even just grow in your personal life, it helps to know your brand and your story. So let’s walk through some components of your brand.
Have you noticed that there is so much going on out there in the world. Regardless of what you are doing, chances are that something similar exists somewhere else in the world. As an example, I like to tell stories and help others tell better stories. Guess what – there are maybe so many people out there doing exactly the same thing, some of them doing it even better than I do. How do I distinguish myself amongst all this ‘noise’?
When it comes to developing and sharing your brand story, it needs to be uniquely you. I can assure you that just like my fingerprints are unique and nobody else in this world (even an identical twin – which I don’t have) has the same story as me. Just a few posers for you – yes I am a storyteller, but also an engineer. As if that is not unique enough, my story comes all the way from a small village in South Eastern Nigeria. My point is that my story is purely mine and in the same way, your story is not shared by anybody else.
While building or defining your brand, take it back to what makes you who you are. Your actions and behaviours today are based on where you come from and all you’ve gone through as a person. The joy of this is that even if someone copies what you are doing, they can never copy your brand/story since this is core to who you are.
If you have been reading my emails, one thread which runs through all I try to talk about is making sure you create lasting connections. By reaching out to touch people, you create key relationships which will last.
Storytelling is key to building these connections, because in telling people your story, we build trust. “People listen to people they like” is one of lines from The Storyteller’s Student. If you want to build these connections, get them to be interested in you as a person and your story in general.
One of the things you should never forget is think about what they need from you. Let that guide the story which you are creating. I have shared earlier on ideas on building different stories which can help you in finding the right story to tell. For your audience, if they can see the connection between your story and them, or what it means to them, people will be more inclined to listen to what you have to say. Therefore, tune your story to fit with the audience you’re connecting with.
Another important aspect of your brand is that your humanity. Since the brand is all about you, this is where you dare to show people that you are vulnerable. In defining your brand you want people to know what you care about and how this drives what you are doing (or even what you are selling).
I hear someone saying, but I don’t have anything to sell. However, that is not really true. We always have something to sell, which could also be selling yourself. Why would the person be interested in buying, if they don’t see the humanity in your product.
I use the word vulnerability, because while telling your story, you show people also the weaknesses or failures which helped make you into the brand you have become. This could also be by showing them how you touch people’s lives. Recently, I began mentoring someone and watching him take concrete steps towards self-actualization is very fulfilling. He came back to me during our last meeting, sharing how the little things he is implementing are beginning to yield fruit. Why is this important? Because one of the words that describes who I am is impact. I desire to make impact in the lives of others and show them how to find and use their stories.
Whether you are going for an interview or just looking to grow in life, knowing your brand and being able to share these stories will always be of great importance. All it takes is sitting down to work through your life stories and find out what makes you tick. As Simon Sinek would say, what is your WHY?