Brand Strategy Lessons from a Toddler
July 18, 2019
This post is about bedtime stories and brand strategy.
Remi is my daughter. She’s three years old and full to the brim with energy. Loves to spin in dresses as fast as she can, eat all sweet things, talk about anything for days, and chase our cockapoo, Oliver, around the house. She’s incredibly smart, wildly curious, rarely thoughtful (still working on sharing), but loves to love everyone – even strangers. Last week I had to tell her that she couldn’t kiss everyone at the public pool.
Like most kids, she hates to go to sleep. Our bedtime ritual is a bit excessive, but at the end of it all, she gets a story – which she loves. Some might assume her love for the story is just her love for a delayed bedtime, but, in this story, we’re assuming it’s her love for the story.
Here are a few of my storytelling tactics.
If I’m exhausted, I think of a place, and I describe it with as much detail as possible, and then I say, “and that’s the end of the story. Goodnight, Love you!” And then I run out — no time for plot hole questions. No characters, no problem to overcome, no big reveal, just a description of a place. Boring. But hey – she’s three.
Does she remember those stories the next day? Nope. Will I be able to get away with those much longer? Nope.
Let’s compare this to your brand strategy, or more specifically, your website. If your website is a selling tool – something that you are using to generate business – then it needs to tell a story.
If you want your brand to be memorable, you need to tell a story.
Blasting the airwaves with boring service descriptions, discounts, uninspired sign-ups, industry jargon-filled SEO text, and describing surface level “stuff” about what your company does is going to make it very challenging to be memorable. Remember, your website is one touchpoint in a customer’s journey that might require five, six, seven interactions with your brand before converting.
When I’m not sleep-deprived, my Remi-stories drastically improve. I start with characters she can relate to, describe them, give them funny names, and describe one or two attributes they might have. Then I reveal some challenge the characters need to overcome and introduce a guide that will help them. One time it was a group of majestic, purple giraffes that revealed three special items to guide the characters to a secret location. Eventually, the characters overcome their struggle and successfully complete their mission. And if I’m stuck, and I can’t figure out an ending, I say “to be continued.”
The key thing here is that she remembers the stories. The next night she asks about them. She remembers the names and details of almost everything. Sometimes I forget what I said, and she corrects me. She’s also more invested and wants to add her own characters or help tell the story, too. Kids are smart, but there’s an underlying bit of psychology happening here. Our brains can remember things a little bit easier when we have enough dots to connect. Provide those dots, and your customers will think of you more quickly.
This is basic storytelling 101. And it works for your brand strategy, website strategy, marketing material, sales pitch, brand narrative, social media strategy, etc. Your customer is on a journey, and he/she is the hero of this story. The challenge? Your customer needs something to make their life better. <insert your product or service here> You are the guide, you are not the hero. Your role is to help and offer a path for success. Focus on success for your customer, and that will translate to more conversions for you.
Focus on your “why.” Focus on the people. Focus on the story that differentiates you from the rest of the noise. If you haven’t had a chance to read Building a Story Brand, by Donald Miller, we highly recommend it.
Our brand workshops help brands figure out what story they should tell and how to do it effectively. And of course, stories can be delivered in a variety of ways; a website is just one tool to get the message out.
If you like what you’re reading about brand strategy and website design, give Martin a call: 979-599-5259 or email him directly: firstname.lastname@example.org