At the water cooler, my colleague Zia frowned at me. ‘So, I read your article on business storytelling and I tend to agree with it’, she started. ‘How do I create a compelling brand story? I have all these great stories of the work that we have done for our clients, but I just don’t know where and how to begin. It’s the beginning of the story where I falter.’
Zia was working on a client pitch and needed a third-person perspective on making a ‘not-so-obvious’ sales pitch. This got me thinking.
Five ways to kick-start and narrate your brand story
Is there a definite way to narrate your brand story? I don’t think so. Based on my marketing experience over the years, I have listed down a few pointers that could help Zia, and others too.
- Setting the scene: Identify your audience and understand their context. A lot of professionals jump straight into the details of the products and services instead of creating an ‘aura’ around your brand’s story. Let’s say, for instance, the client is trying to digitise its business. You could share a specific anecdote or incident from your brand’s digital journey and how you overcame similar challenges. This will help your audience to relate to the story.
- Build interest: Presenting real-time challenges and showcasing the work done around relevant issues can be the best way to highlight what the brand can do. Skip talking about one-off issues, rather present a long-term case that showcases end-to-end efforts of your team. It implies steady and long-term commitment.
- Ask questions: Is business transformation a growing concern? What are the environmental implications of your business? Ask questions that can build a strong business case for you. Also, posing direct questions showcases your capabilities and domain experience.
- Make them curious: Create a conflicting situation; it builds curiosity. Everyone wants to know what went wrong, who was involved, how it was resolved. State the supporting facts and figures, and any last-minute work that went into resolving a ‘do or die’ situation. Make it a gripping affair with some compelling insights into the project.
- Introduce a character or story: The value of your brand can be represented by narrating the story of an individual. The individual could be your employee, an industry expert, or even an outsider. The idea is to showcase how the individual was able to work towards a particular objective and in the process, achieve a larger goal while representing the brand’s values.
Ultimately, drive back to the point from where you began. Every aspect of your presentation or pitch must connect with what you claimed in the beginning of your brand story. It will help you to set the business context, shape the narrative, establish credibility for your work and create the desired impact.
The author is Head of Marketing at Infosys BPM.