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Most of you have a brand. Have you thought about it in a while? Does it need a tune up? Your brand should be found at the intersection of your core values and your mission statement. The definition of a brand story is a narrative that communicates the mission of a company (or individual). It is a narrative that evokes emotion and builds customers’ trust.

Chris Landis

Customers who are moved by your brand story are more likely to count on your company and eventually buy your products or services. All companies today need a compelling story to positively convey their brand to stay competitive in today’s market. A compelling brand story differentiates your company from its competitors. It builds client trust and loyalty. And, yes, it drives sales.

You’ll know that a brand narrative is successful when it effectively achieves the following list of benefits. That is why it’s important to continually revise and improve the narrative.

  • The story must differentiate your company. In today’s market, most buyers purchase from companies who share similar core values. An authentic story helps attract clients with similar values by communicating your brand’s mission and ideals in a succinct and engaging way. Eventually those values become a clear point of differentiation from your competitors.
  • The story should create connection with your target client. A business’s reputation depends entirely on its connection with its customers. When customers connect emotionally to your story and not just your product or service, they will be more loyal to your brand and more likely to recommend it to others.
  • The story must build trust. Your brand story sets for and establishes a brand promise and tells how you deliver on that promise. Following through on brand promises deepens your company’s connection with its customers and builds customer trust.
  • Effective stories generate sales. Modern consumers look beyond price tags and good deals for compelling stories. A well-designed brand story drives conversions, encourages connection and, ultimately, leads to sales.
  • The strength of your narrative will help you optimize scarce marketing resources. Smaller companies use their brand stories to attract new customers, even without a big marketing budget. Small businesses have the advantage of consumer interest in local relationships, which increases sales and allows for small companies to scale quicker.

Maybe you already have brand and a story about that brand. How well does that story effectively achieve these objectives? To sharpen your brand and improve its story, you’ll need to talk to your employees and survey your clients. You’ll want to know which elements need to be improved or emphasized in your business. Then you’ll want to do the same exercise with your marketing.

Re-read your website with the above five bullet points in mind. Does your website achieve these goals? Does all your media across all platforms clearly and concisely tell your brand story? I am referring to LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Houzz as well as association websites, where you are a member and have a listing. Does your newsletter reinforce your brand story?

If your brand needs honing, I suggest laying some groundwork by researching the topic of branding. There are also many credible resources on the internet that explain how to write your story. Many offer templates and consulting services. With more artificial intelligence services developing online, many internet platforms will surely be adding brand-story services, including a review of your existing brand.

A good place to start is any charities and community building organizations that you support. They can help communicate your core values in an authentic way. They can be profiled on your website. An example of this is Patagonia. The outdoor clothing and mountaineering company has pledged 1 percent of its sales to the preservation of the natural environment.

It goes without saying that every person and aspect of your company must be aligned on your resulting brand story. It’s about the customer experience—from how your phones are answered, to the branding and messaging on your job signs, and to the design of your office.

Every interaction with your clients, however small, should be designed to build trust on a functional and emotional level. For design-build companies, it is foundational to inspire a sense of pride in design, workmanship and community. To paraphrase Steve Jobs, your brand story “is not about how it looks, but rather how well it works.” QR

Christopher K. Landis, AIA, owns Landis Construction in Washington, D.C. He brings 30 years of remodeling design, construction and management experience to this series of columns for the magazine. You can reach him at chris@landisconstruction.com.

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