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Brand Stories Report


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This is a free 19 page report workbook that will cover the ‘new rules’ of branding while providing simple examples of how today’s most successful brands, like Coca-Cola and Nike, leverage these 7 factors to increase brand identity and loyalty.

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Brand Stories Report

  1. 1. Brand S.T.O.R.I.E.S. Do You Use These 7 Factors To Make Your Brand Unforgettable? Brought to you by: Reuben Rail + Firestarter ©2010
  2. 2. Brand S.T.O.R.I.E.S. – 7 Factors to Become Unforgettable A brand is more than a word. It is the beginning of a lifetime dialogue. - Martin Lindstrom, BRANDchild™ 2
  3. 3. Brand S.T.O.R.I.E.S. – 7 Factors to Become Unforgettable Copyright Mumbo Jumbo This workbook is distributed freely under the Creative Commons license 3.0 non- commercial. Feel free to… 1. Send it to others. 2. Remix the ideas and use them as your own. 3. Post it on your blog. 4. Give it as a gift. 5. Tell them where you got it (we’d like that). © Firestarter and Reuben Rail 2010. If you got this report from somewhere else or want to hook a friend up simply head on over to  3
  4. 4. Brand S.T.O.R.I.E.S. – 7 Factors to Become Unforgettable The New Face of Branding: How the New Rules of Marketing Have Changed How to Build Brand Loyalty Today’s customer has more options than ever to purchase products and services which means that traditional strategies to build brand identity and loyalty have already gone by the wayside. Businesses attempting to build brand loyalty are finding that many customers simply move onto the next provider without hesitation, and new brands are popping up every day and from all over the world. Being able to position one’s brand identity so that it is relevant and important to today’s customer is the goal, but the old use of interruption marketing and aligning one’s brand with generic promises such as price and value don’t have the impact they once had. In the present marketplace, how can businesses not only grab the attention of potential customers, but then retain their attention long enough to build brand loyalty? What possibilities exist to help evolve the customer relationship into fans, and then evangelists? To answer these questions and meet these challenges successful businesses are embracing the new rules of marketing when it comes to brand identity and building customer loyalty. Whether they know it or not, these businesses are utilizing many parts of the seven factors S.T.O.R.I.E.S. formula for effective branding. This report will examine past and current branding trends to shed light on the new rules of marketing, and how businesses can utilize each of the seven factors as outlined in the S.T.O.R.I.E.S. formula. Become unforgettable. 4
  5. 5. Brand S.T.O.R.I.E.S. – 7 Factors to Become Unforgettable S tories Companies that use storytelling in their brands are the ones that truly connect with their customers. Stories can be used in telling the history and origins of the company, about how the brand is building off of what the customer already likes (providing a sense of continuity), and especially in any marketing done. Quick Examples: think of Phil McKnight (Nike) molding the first shoe soles in his wife’s waffle iron, or Jack Daniels use of stories with ‘Old No. 7′ and how Jack got started: stories can be used to provide a sense of connection and help the listener feel closer to the company. The fact is stories move people and connect with them faster than any other medium. And now with social media, blogs, and websites, everyone gets a chance to tell their own stories. About themselves, and about your business. Listen. Then tell your story. 5
  6. 6. Brand S.T.O.R.I.E.S. – 7 Factors to Become Unforgettable Questions to Ask Yourself: 1. What stories am I using in my business right now? 2. Is the history of my business clearly explained in a compelling way that demonstrates my passion? 3. Do any of my stories clearly share my business’ purpose with my customer? Do they understand my inspiration? Does it feel transparent to the reader so they can trust me? 4. How can my story tie into the stories of my customers/fans? How is my purpose relevant to their lives, problems, and goals? 6
  7. 7. Brand S.T.O.R.I.E.S. – 7 Factors to Become Unforgettable T ease No. I am not talking about teasing your customers like school yard kids (rhyming their name with whatever’s gross and comes to mind), or making fun of their looks and what they wear (Hammer pants are still cool, right?). What I mean by ‘tease them’ is this. Great brands know how to use curiosity and mystery to their advantage in communicating with their market. They hint at something to arouse people’s interests. Examples: Coca-Cola’s long time homage to its ‘Secret Formula’ which they play up in their ads and marketing. Or, if you have seen most hair or skin care commercials you’ll notice that this particular shampoo is made with the newest secret formula developed by ‘Top Hairologists’ (hmm…didn’t know that was a job). That’s what I mean by tease them. Allow for the customer to enter a state of wonder by arousing their curiosity, or playing on some mystery. 7
  8. 8. Brand S.T.O.R.I.E.S. – 7 Factors to Become Unforgettable Questions to Ask Yourself: 1. How can I create a sense of mystery around certain areas of my business? Are there processes, or components, or even sections of my own story that could be improved with a little mystery? 2. What curiosity gaps can I present to my customers? What tidbits of knowledge might I share that only present part of the puzzle, and then can invite my customer to explore the rest as I inform them? 3. What are some ways I can use curiosity and mystery in my everyday interactions with my audience? Stories? Games? Trivia? 8
  9. 9. Brand S.T.O.R.I.E.S. – 7 Factors to Become Unforgettable O bjective Everyone needs to stand for something. Hot Idea: if you don’t stand for something, then your customer won’t stand by you. Communicate the purpose of why you’re here and where you’re going. Purpose. Passion. Vision. Mission. It goes by many names. Wikipedia’s objective is that information should be free, and everyone should have access to it. Google’s is to “…be the perfect search engine which would understand exactly what you mean and give back exactly what you want” (Larry Paige). Search many big brands and you will find this as a common thread. Tell a clear and concise story of your business’ objective because your customer wants to know what you stand for, and if they should stand by you. 9
  10. 10. Brand S.T.O.R.I.E.S. – 7 Factors to Become Unforgettable Questions to Ask Yourself: 1. What is my business’ objective or purpose? Can it be clearly stated in a single simple sentence? 2. Do my customers know my business’ purpose? How do I know for sure? What about other people who work within my business? Managers, the frontline, IT…do they know? 3. Is my objective used as a check point for everything that I do? If yes, then specifically what tests, measures, and processes are in place to make sure the objective guides my business’ directions? 10
  11. 11. Brand S.T.O.R.I.E.S. – 7 Factors to Become Unforgettable R ituals Now this is a really interesting one, often overlooked, and I will give credit to Martin Lindstrom, author of “Buyology”, for this valuable insight. The human mind tries to constantly seek meaning + order. And one of the things that most helps it is familiarity. Enter rituals: routine behaviors carrying meaning behind their actions. The perfect aide to calm the mind. Lindstrom gives some great examples in his book regarding rituals. For you beer lovers out there, think of the ritual of putting a slice of lime into a Corona, or the slow pour of a Guinness. Each one of these are rituals (one invented by a bartender and another by the company) to give the customer something to look forward to, be a part of, and have an insider’s sense of what’s going on. It really is brilliant. Ask yourself what rituals you can enter into your business. Key Point: the ritual should be in context with what’s happening, meaning it should be an integral part of the plot that is unfolding for whatever was started and tie in with the action. If you ran a BBQ restaurant you might have a ritual whenever someone orders the Texan Titan Ribs, but you probably wouldn’t have one when they got the coleslaw. Identify passages and events/actions of notice where you can supercharge them with rituals. Then invite your customers to partake, and let the fun begin. 11
  12. 12. Brand S.T.O.R.I.E.S. – 7 Factors to Become Unforgettable Questions to Ask Yourself: 1. What are the various stages, processes, events, and items that make up to form my customer’s experience? Are there any special moments which could be supported by a ritual to enhance the experience? 2. If exceeded expectations = value + unexpectedness then what are some moments where I could create a ritual by surprising my customers with value? 3. Are there any opportunities for rituals that can be done in community, and would be better observed in group situations? How can I uses rituals to create a sense of group identity within my market base? 12
  13. 13. Brand S.T.O.R.I.E.S. – 7 Factors to Become Unforgettable I nclusion Everyone loves to belong. It is a desire in all of us, and by offering people the chance to connect and feel a part of something that is relevant to their lives and gives them a sense of meaning a brand positions itself to have raving fans. Quick Examples: Mac geeks, Harley-Davidson H.O.G. Riders, Deadheads, Jeep owners, and it goes on. In more standard terms you might think of special VIP clubs, fan groups, and online Facebook fan pages are a great way to bring people together and connect with them. The second side of inclusion, aside from actually belonging to a group, is to help your members feel like they belong through your communications. Empower them to feel included through your content + communications. I just witnessed a great example presented by James Lavers when he showed how, if you are communicating via video, to let your viewer know where you are, if there is someone behind the camera let them know, and talk to them like they are the only person viewing you. Take them behind the red curtain. They will feel included, important, and will want to tell others about it. 13
  14. 14. Brand S.T.O.R.I.E.S. – 7 Factors to Become Unforgettable Questions to Ask Yourself: 1. What environments have I currently created that allow for the development of a community? What is the value that is being offered for a community member or fan? How does it tie into their sense of identity? 2. How can I make my customers feel special by sharing with them aspects of my business? How can I take them ‘behind the red curtain’ whether in a big event or in everyday activities that happen? 3. What are some ways I can empower them to feel connected through my company communications and/or content? What are some specific tools I can give them to share their community membership with others? 14
  15. 15. Brand S.T.O.R.I.E.S. – 7 Factors to Become Unforgettable E motional + Sensory Appeal Talk to the heart. Speak to the senses. A good brand elicits strong feelings from its customers. If no one is reacting strongly to your brand, either positive or negative, then you are doing something wrong. Customers have very strong feelings regarding their brands, and often defend them with strong vigor. To trot out some old horses think Mac vs. PC, Ford vs. Chevy, and recently AT&T (with the iPhone) vs. Verizon. The majority of people sit in one camp or the other. Appealing to the senses is one of the fastest ways to reach emotion. Giving a nod to Lindstrom and “Buyology” again, he cited in his research (which was the single biggest neuromarketing study ever conducted: 3 yrs. $7 mil.) how participants brains would react just as strong, if not stronger, to Coca-Cola’s and Marlboro’s red than the actual brand logos themselves. Now, you might be saying, “That’s great, but I’m not Coca-Cola.” And you’re right there, but that doesn’t mean you can’t appeal to the senses of your customers and clientèle. If you are a storefront or have an office, what does it smell like when someone opens the door? And I am not just talking about it not ’smelling,’ but rather a signature scent that they can associate with your brand. Say, vanilla? Or, when they visit your website, could there be a short 5 sec. music jingle that greets them? Think how you can appeal to the senses of your market. 15
  16. 16. Brand S.T.O.R.I.E.S. – 7 Factors to Become Unforgettable Questions to Ask Yourself: 1. What senses do my customers favor when using my services (is it mostly visual, do they need to listen a lot, etc…)? Are there ways I can enhance this experience for them? 2. Are their moments where I can tie in a smell, sound, or gesture with a behavior already used or perhaps as part of a ritual (see previous)? 3. What moments in my service experience involve strong emotions for my customers? If they are positive can I attach a certain sensory experience to them? If negative, is there a way I can make it easier for my customer? 16
  17. 17. Brand S.T.O.R.I.E.S. – 7 Factors to Become Unforgettable S ymbols Symbols are concentrated + relevant meaning to your market. Through visual thinking you bypass many of the ‘mental blocks’ that people put up to stop advertising, and instantly impart meaning to your viewer. Quick Examples: Nike Swoosh, McDonald’s M-Arches, Ferrari’s stallion, and Royal Dutch Shell gasoline’s golden shell. Each one of us would instantly know what these were in the blink of an eye. Again, you’re no Nike, but that doesn’t mean you can’t tape into the power of visual thinking and transference of meaning. Use your logo with all your promotional materials, and give them away to the right people (make sure they are relevant). On your website, can you have sub- symbols for your different services or products so even if people don’t necessarily identify with your bigger brand they can with the product they love? Symbols transmit meaning. What can you do to give your customers more meaning? 17
  18. 18. Brand S.T.O.R.I.E.S. – 7 Factors to Become Unforgettable Questions to Ask Yourself: 1. Does my business have a symbol? A logo? How does it connect with my business’ objective? 2. How am I ‘charging’ my business main symbol/logo so it carries the weight of my business’ objective and personality? What associations am I creating with chosen content to create this charge? 3. If I were to look at the processes and/or main service areas of my business, would be it possible to find a picture/symbol for each of those (think of a picture being worth 1000 words)? Can I make my content (i.e. instructions, manuals, advertisement) easier to understand through the use of picture/symbol association? 18
  19. 19. Brand S.T.O.R.I.E.S. – 7 Factors to Become Unforgettable W here to go from here… Discover your story. Start with your purpose. This is where I would recommend starting for anybody. Why? Because clarifying your story and purpose will not only help you build your brand, it will help you in everything you do. So often professionals, businesses, and leaders don’t fail for lack of talent or trying, they fail because they didn’t have a sense of who they were and what their vision was for the people their serving. No sense of identity (by knowing your story) and you’ll try to be all things to all people. That’s a sure fire way to fail – guaranteed. No vision and sense of purpose and there will be no unifying direction to your actions. Confusion will set in as you go from one thing to the other. Bummer. So if you know who you are, what your passion and purpose is, and are able to share that with your customers and alliances in a clear and concise story then you will be miles ahead of most businesses in developing an unforgettable brand. Other than that answer all the questions in this workbook. They may not be easy, but then you wouldn’t be getting much value if they were. And stay in touch. Sign up to receive The Matchstick’s blog posts as they come. To being unforgettable, Reuben Rail, Firestarter 19