I was riveted last week when I listened to a master distiller speak about the journey of the El Dorado brand. One that spans centuries, it took listeners to the highs and lows, challenges and successes and the celebration of where it is today. Similarly, I had the privilege of meeting Mr Brian Cabral two years ago. He has literally built an international brand – Stansfeld Scott – with his own sweat and toil. Listening to him give the account of the development of his brand, which has crossed borders from Barbados into the Caribbean and beyond, made me think about other brands and their stories.
My research has come up with many exciting stories, some even about failure and revival. What story do you have to tell? Whether you’re just beginning or have been in the business longer than most, each story is a reflection of the success of your brand. More than a logo, a slogan, website design or even social media, the story of a brand penetrates the psyche and hearts of colleagues and clients.
Think about KFC. The entire story of that brand is the Colonel Sanders sensation. Or, how about the Starbucks story? Rejection, hard work, strength of spirit . . . all these make brands more endearing and inspirational. Think about the Baron brand in St Lucia; or the Chefette brand in Barbados. All these brands resonate with people because of quality, yes, but also because of the fascinating journey. Here are a few points on how you can use your brand story to attract more persons to your organization:
1. Tell it so that you achieve brand differentiation. Create the emotional connection which helps clients understand the reason for doing what you do. Weave your story into your messaging and this will help show the true purpose and vision, without being mundane or preachy.
2. Ensure the customer knows that it is all for them. Yes, there will be some naysayers who may try to accuse you of wanting profit and not necessarily what’s best for them, but ensure that the customer is always the main one. This would also mean that your story has to speak to improvements, customer-friendliness and being a better provider. (Think Wells Fargo – its failure and re-entry)
3. Look to the future of the story. Develop the story that you tell so that the narrative builds conversation and excitement around the growth potential of the brand. This may also help with investors’ decisions and potential partnerships, if you so desire, as those who connect with your story may want to become part of that very story.
Lastly, ensure that you are not the only one who knows your story. Some founders have all the information in their heads and hearts and never tell the magnificent tale that is theirs to share.
(Veoma Ali is an advertising executive with a Ph.D in Communication and Master’s in Business Administration.