Building trust with your audience.
It’s a little bit frustrating.
You know your audience, you target them right, and you publish good content, yet they don’t resonate with you. You see others who don’t publish enough good content like you, but they have raving fans.
They stand out from the crowd and their audience is magnetized to them and they’re engaged in their work. Why is that? Well, it’s simple, really. It’s the same secret that big brands use over and over again to create raving fans, resonate with their audience, and magnetize more people to their brand.
And that secret is having a brand story. Why is a brand story so important and effective? And how can you create a powerful brand story? That’s what you’re going to discover in this post. But first…
The Importance of Branding (And Where Does Brand Story Fit Into the Puzzle)
I’m a huge believer of brand, personal brand, and company branding, versus just having a business. A lot of people just see businesses being able to offer service, and that’s it. When I was on Necker Island earlier this year, and after reading a lot of books by Richard Branson, I saw just how important brand was to him becoming a billionaire. Not to mention what it’s done for me personally in my life. n a nutshell:
It Allows You to Charge What You Are Worth.
Over time, your brand equity is going to allow you to change the position where you are in the marketplace. We’re not talking exclusively about positioning necessarily here in this post, but you can read more about positioning here, but when you have a high-end brand, when you have a brand that is known, your ability to charge what you’re worth versus what the market will bear, changes.
It’s why companies like Gucci & Rolex can charge as much as they do, for example. And to charge what you’re worth, it all comes down to the way someone sees you, the integrity of your brand, and the tone of your brand, which is all influenced mainly by your brand story.
Build A Real Audience And Community
Yes, you may have some audience around your business. But you won’t be able to have a true community of raving fans around a singular purpose, a singular vision, and a way of being without a true brand. So when your personal brand is really you, and your personal brand is your mission, or your personal brand is a vision, it allows you to cultivate a community of people that are similar to you.
People that are similar to you are going to be people that want to live vicariously through you from a followership perspective, and are also going to be the people that want to buy from you. And you won’t be able to hook them up without a compelling story that resonates with them and makes you relevant to them. Once you do this you will stand out and have raving fans around you.
Be Known In The Industry
I hinted at this above, but without a brand, you won’t have the same “celebrity” status inside your industry which will affect how much you’re going to charge and whether or not you have a real community around your business. It’s this accumulation story effect where the more that you’re known, the more that you will get known, and the more ability you have to generate more leads.
This will allow you to also be able to sell more at the price that you want which is the main thing, generating more revenue from your business. And having a story that stands out and resonates with the crowd is how you will be known in the industry and get the other 2 benefits as well. Just like how my story of me having around 1 million dollars in debt and how I was able to build my business after that or my story of why I quit my multi-million dollar business.
And don’t worry if you don’t have catchy stories like that to tell for your brand. We’ll go in-depth on how to develop these and find out your brand story that resonates with your audience, which is the most important thing.
Have An Asset
This is twofold. All right? If you have a brand that’s separate from your personal brand, you now have another piece of intellectual property. So not just your methodology but your brand will allow you to have another piece of intellectual property or something that can actually be sold.
From a personal perspective, your personal brand is an asset that you can utilize to generate more and more revenue. I can go to different industries, bring my personal brand, bring my audience, and continually start new businesses as well as be able to invest in businesses. This allows me to generate far more revenue and far more profit.
And your brand story and how it evolves is what will make people continue to follow you when you enter different industries and help you get a better head start than someone starting from scratch. Just like GaryVee’s brand when he used to run WineLibrary and then created VaynerMedia and then created EmpathyWines and a few other small companies that all are run under his personal brand. So don’t underestimate the power of branding for your long-term success.
Increase Lifetime Value for A Customer (And Increase Referrals)
When a brand has a really good reputation, people will typically refer it faster. As well, people will typically come back to you if you have a great brand and they’ve had a great brand experience regardless if it’s a personal brand or a regular non-personal brand.
And the one who can spend the more to acquire a customer wins, and your branding is essential to have a higher lifetime value. To get people to follow your brand and be a customer, you need to resonate with them using your brand story. This will help you get customers in the first place, have happy customers with higher lifetime value, and be able to charge what you’re worth, thus allowing you to scale your business faster.
That’s why I always focus on the brand story when I talk about branding or work with my clients on their branding. The reason I focus on the brand story instead of other ingredients like logo, colors, and graphics, which are important as well, is that these parts don’t have the same impact on growing your brand as your brand story does.
The Truth About Having A Powerful Brand Story
I don’t consider myself an expert in crafting brand stories. If I’m honest, I’ve always discounted this part of relevancy. For the longest time, while I would have my clients go through this process I share below, I never did it myself. I always thought, If I’m good, people will follow me. See, that doesn’t work.
In our digital age, we will give relevant attention to those with which we can connect to via their stories, which allows us to vicariously live through them. Think about it. All of social media consumption is people following others, allowing them to disconnect from their current reality and live in someone else’s.
With the rise of virtual reality in the next few years, you’ll see more and more of this. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an advocate of this. I simply know that Relevancy’s missing component is the ability for your potential customers to look at you and want to be you, or rather, want to be what your brand stands for. Why has all of this internet stuff created so much momentum? Deep down, I believe as a society, we are asleep.
And we will give our attention to whoever resonates with us the most and who isn’t asleep. There are plenty of ways to develop your brand story. I’ve had the story-selling gurus give me plenty of exercises; however, I’ll give you the simple way that has always worked for me. Write every single story dialogue you can think of that is important to you, or to your customer, that is based on your brand or your personal life.
For me, it’s things like throwing a birthday party and no one showing up. It’s about going into massive debt while having successes in the past. It’s about going nomadic to find myself, then finding my soulmate. This is a document that may end up being ten pages long, or two. However, now that you have a variety of stories, you want to organize them from highs to lows. More on how to do this in developing your brand story.
This process doesn’t need to be difficult or long. Rather, it’s a set of stories that make up your brand story, with an overview of the core brand story. Now, if you’ve done this brand story process and it involved your unfair advantage, and you were authentic in the way that you related your stories, then you’ve done it right. If you talk to others about your story, their immediate reaction should be “Whoa!”
It doesn’t matter if you are amazed by your brand story. All that matters is if your authentic tone is being understood, valued, and believed by your avatar and core audience. This is what will motivate them to take action. If you aren’t intentional with how you position yourself, then you leave it completely up to chance as to how others perceive you, your authority, your ability to get results, and how valuable your offers are.
In the rest of this post, we will simplify the process even further. First, we’ll discover the 4 main components to have in your brand story. Then will discuss how to develop a powerful brand story from start to finish.So without further ado, let’s get started.
The 4 Components to Have A Powerful Brand Story
People make brand story too complicated. That’s why no one can nail it and have a powerful branding. And what I found from experience is that it comes down to 4 main things you need to have. The way to develop your stories will be discussed later, but you need to know first what is important to have an authentic and powerful brand story that resonates with your audience.
After that, I’ll walk you through the 12 stages to structure your story. Ready?
#1. What Is Your Core Story?
You need to have one main core story that will be in front of your branding and it will be what comes to mind when people hear your name or your brand name and so on. Ask yourself, what’s the core story that’s going to resonate with your avatar and your positioning to allow for someone to be like, “I want to work with this person. I resonate with this person.”
This is what comes to mind when you think about brand story but, that’s not enough by itself.
#2. What Are Your Secondary Stories?
Once you have a core story, what are the three to six secondary stories that you can add on top of that? The stories that you’re going to come back to time and time again. You need to understand that humans are storytellers. They naturally want to hear stories.
When they hear a story, their mind starts thinking “Oh, that’s me. Oh, they’re positioned to be able to help me. Oh, the messaging makes sense. Oh, this is a future version of me.” See how it ties to other parts of relevancy?
And that is when they are going to want to work with you, because you’re a future version of who they want to be. Because we all operate the same way, we work with people that are a step ahead, two steps ahead. And the easiest way to portray that is to be able to have the story that’s going to resonate with that person, which is our past self.
And secondary stories will help you convey the core story even more and have more stories to tell instead of focusing on the same old story.
#3. What These Stories Say About You
It’s not just about telling stories to entertain. You need to ask yourself, what do these stories say about you and what do they say about your audience? What does the embarrassing story say about you underneath and what does it say about the other person? And this ties into the next point which is…
#4. What Makes You Want to Cry
Think about what makes you feel like you’re bleeding and then go back one step from there. Our job isn’t to just inspire people with our stories. It’s to be able to allow them to take action with our stories. And the reason why the above 2 points are essential is because it makes you step away from being just an entertainer.
A lot of the time, people really go too far with their storytelling, telling the story too fast, telling the story before the time has passed, or before the processing of what’s happened has actually passed. Even if you have a compelling story, you’ll lose the effectiveness of the story and how it could help you grow your brand with the way you do your storytelling.
On the other hand, responsible storytelling is to be able to tell stories of what has happened in our life that’s relevant to our avatar, that allows for our position to be increased, that allows for messaging to happen so that people can come to us. This makes people see our unfair advantage and see us as being relevant to them which makes them want to join the community, pay what we’re worth, and grow our revenue much faster.
This is the essence of brand story and being able to tell something to someone, so on a level, they can become empathetic with you. You can be good with the above information, but let’s take it a step further and discuss how to develop a successful brand story.
Developing Your Brand Story (The 12 Stages of the Hero’s Journey)
You’ve seen by now the importance of your story to grow your brand. You also know the 4 main things you need to have for a powerful brand story: your core story, secondary stories, what they say about you, and what makes you cry.
Stories are everywhere, so what makes YOUR STORY uniquely you? You and I are going to sit down and draw out your story in the rest of this post. I’m a huge advocate of Joseph Campbell. He wrote books such as, “The Power of Myth” and “The Hero with a Thousand Faces.”
My favorite quote of all time is written by Joseph, “The cave you fear to enter… holds the treasure that you seek.” Joseph discovered something amazing, a structure in every great story ever written since the beginning of time. It is referred to as the monomyth.
What is the monomyth? It’s a sequence of events that happens in the protagonist’s life in the journey they go through. Well… you are the protagonist of your story, right? That’s why his 12 stages Monomyth/Hero’s Journey structure is a great way to develop your story as well.
Your hero’s journey is the easiest way to be able to go through your story and share it in a powerful way. It really allows for your personality to come out and allows people to know who you are and what you’re about. Because that’s one of the biggest elements of magnetization, is being able to allow somebody to feel you and to feel your story.
Human beings are story-oriented people as I mentioned, that’s the way that we really work, that’s the way that we really are able to understand things. We’ve used stories since the beginning of time to be able to teach, to be able to share ideas, to be able to laugh. And business is no different.
And in the end, those who use stories typically build the best businesses because people will buy into a story far more than they’ll buy into even a belief. That’s why the brand story exercise you’re about to do is very essential for the growth of your business. You can get my brand story worksheet to help you develop your brand story.
Without further ado, let’s get into the 12 stages of the hero’s journey structure. In each stage, we’ll cover what it is, how to get it done and an example to show you how to do it in real life. Don’t forget to grab the worksheet and follow along to create your own brand story.
#1. Ordinary World
This step refers to the hero’s normal life at the start of the story, before the adventure begins. Although it may sound plain and non-essential, this is how you get your audience who are in this position to see that you were once in the same position as they are now.
This will hook them up to see how you developed and how you & your products/services will help them to reach the vision. In this stage, you should: Describe your life before you made the decision to follow your dreams.
#2. The Call to Adventure
In this stage, the hero is faced with something that makes him begin his adventure. This might be a problem or a challenge he needs to overcome. In this stage, describe the fear you felt when everything inside of you was telling you that this idea was “the one.”
#3. The Refusal of The Call
This is what happens when an idea first comes to mind, the hero attempts to refuse the adventure because he is afraid. Instead of leaning on that fear, it takes them some time to get started and do what they need to do. Usually, your audience is stuck here. You need to go in-depth here. List some feelings, thoughts, and experiences that you used to distract yourself from your calling.
#4. Meeting With The Mentor
In this stage, the hero encounters someone who can give him advice and ready him for the journey ahead. It doesn’t need to be a mentor who helped you every step along the way. He may give you one piece of advice that changes your life and helps you get started following your dream. So ask yourself, what/who was the catalyst that helped break you free of those fears and distractions so you could fully dedicate yourself to your dreams?
#5. Crossing The First Threshold
This is where you see some action in the story. The hero leaves his ordinary world for the first time and crosses the threshold into adventure. This is when he takes the first step toward his adventure. Now you should describe the first steps you took into your new world. What did it feel like to be taking those necessary steps? Focus on the feelings part and get into detail. You need to make people live the story.
#6. Tests, Allies, Enemies
This is what happens naturally. Your path in your adventure is not a straight line. In this stage, The hero learns the rules of his new world. During this time, he endures tests of strength of will, meets friends, and comes face to face with foes. Talk about this. Specifically:
- What types of feedback did you encounter from friends, relatives, colleagues in your field?
- Was there anyone that inspired you?
- Was there anyone that made you question yourself and your ideas?
With different enemies and opinions, setbacks may occur which causes the hero to change his approach or adopt new ideas. So in this stage, discuss the challenges or struggles presented themselves in the beginning that made you question your new path. What did you change after that?
What happens to the hero after changing their approach? You may think it all turns out to be smooth sailing from here, but that isn’t the case. Here, the hero experiences a major hurdle or obstacle, such as a life or death crisis. Setbacks increase and it becomes even harder.
This is what is referred to as “the dark night of the soul.” It’s the stage where the “ugly duckling” must enter the void/abyss and surrender to the darkness in order to become the “swan.” It’s where we enter the lowest point on our journey that makes us question everything. It can be overwhelmingly scary to be vulnerable enough to share this.
Remember as Joseph Campbell says “the cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek.” This is the most powerful aspect of trust-building and connection with your audience. It is the struggle we all must face as humans that ignites the light of inspiration within each and every one of us. In this stage, discuss what was the lowest point you faced within yourself when executing the business plan of your brand. How were you feeling at that point?
Here’s when the hero starts seeing the results of what he did. After surviving death, the hero earns his reward or accomplishes his goal. Here you don’t just talk about the reward and how it feels to achieve it. Rather, in this stage, you’ll discuss more of who or what inspired you to stay the path of your dream. What was it that helped you through this dark time?
#10. The Road Back
Now, after achieving the reward, the hero is tempted to get back to his ordinary life. He begins the journey to his ordinary life. So after you got back on track, here you discuss how has your life changed? What lessons did you learn?
#11.Resurrection of the Hero
So did things go as planned and return smoothly? If you watch any superhero movie you will find that this isn’t the case. Once the hero attempts to get back to his ordinary life, he then faces a final test where everything is at stake and he must use everything he has learned. This is where the knowledge transfer occurs, but there is one more test of some sort that offered you the profound gift of insight that this was indeed the path you were destined to take.
It is the moment of truth on your journey. So what was that moment of truth and what happened then?
#12. Return with the Elixir
After the hero faces his final test, he returns with the “Elixir.” The hero brings his knowledge or the “elixir” back to the ordinary world, where he applies it to help all who remain there. So here you focus on the Elixir.
What is the treasure you have to offer to your audience that no one else can? What about your life experience and brand makes you the one they should listen to (aka your unfair advantage 🙂 )?
This is the last step to develop your brand story. You tied everything to this point where you are sharing with your audience how you could help them and why you are the one they should listen to to solve their problems.
As it turns out, the best stories in the world, in the business world or out of it, always follow this format. Don’t forget to grab your worksheet and follow along to create your brand story.
A Quick Example of How The 12 Stages Go Together to Create Your Brand Story
To help you understand how to create your brand story, I’ll share a business story with you. I’ll share it in bullet points and how each part fits under each stage.
- I was hiking in the mountains and was meditating when this idea for a streetwear brand came to me like a sudden jolt.
The Call to Adventure
- I could visually see this on everyone like you see Nike everywhere.
The Refusal of the Call
- I had no experience with being a founder of a business or running a business. I put most of my life and energy into my music studio and being a producer and recording artist.
The Meeting of the Mentor
- A few years ago on my birthday, I filled out some steps from the desire chapter, I Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. At that time I had listened to quite a few of Bob Proctor’s videos. By the end of the day on my birthday, I had received an email that would change my life. It was a special invitation to Bob Proctor’s 3% Symposium.
Crossing the First Threshold
- Within two days I was en route to this elite gathering of mastermind entrepreneurs. By the end of three days, I was set up with tons of action steps and contacted someone to do calls with daily thereafter to keep me on point.
- Within two months, I had applied for my trademark, branding, logo design, the first shipment of hats ordered, website, and had my first few photoshoots.
- My goal was big…it was to make 40 million in the first year.
Tests, Allies, Enemies
- I hired a consultant with COO experience. She informed me that the 40 million goal probably wouldn’t happen and gave me justifiable reasons why it wouldn’t.
- I felt deflated as I had just sunk every penny I had into this business and it had to work.
- I was afraid to tell my parents that I wasn’t doing real estate and that this was what I wanted to do. I didn’t really want anyone to know for fear of their warnings that it wouldn’t work.
- Challenges for me were that I didn’t know how to do any of the following:
- Facebook Ads
- Email Marketing
- Photoshop editing
- Have people know my brand like they would a competitor’s brand
- I overcame them all and now know exactly what steps are essential.
- After a year and a half, I lost everything including my website.
- I went from a believer in dreams to a non-believer.
- I was in debt up to my eyeballs.
- I felt negative about everything.
- I cursed the voice inside of me.
- I couldn’t even look at my merchandise.
- I took everything off the walls.
- I wanted no reminders.
- But the voice inside of me wasn’t letting up. It made me angry.
- I met someone who raised capital for startups.
- He believed in my idea.
- He checked in with me every week.
- I was still angry and negative.
- I blamed those that loved me and supported me.
- My branding message was all about following one’s dreams and I had no more belief in dreams.
- My wife kept telling me this couldn’t be the end of the road after everything we’d been through.
- I began to believe her.
- She encouraged me to take some small steps.
The Road Back
- I took some baby steps and re-entered the realm of my dream.
- The insight that this experience has provided me is the same message I’m trying to give to others, so I had to live it first before I could share it.
Resurrection of the Hero
- My contact for capital called me with an interested party for investment.
- At first, I was excited.
- Then I got scared that I’d have to go through all of this hell again.
- And then I realized something… I wasn’t afraid anymore.
- We received investment capital.
Return with the Elixir
- I now have a very relatable story of what it’s like to not believe, to be challenged, to face the worst adversity of going for one’s dream, and falling flat on my face.
- Now, I see my brand everywhere and somehow I know the message is touching so many lives just as it did mine.
- It’s about the reminder and inspired focus this message brings because we all have to walk through the fires to achieve our dreams.
Can you see how this powerful story helps that person and the brand stand out from the crowd and be able to grow their business exponentially? But still, a lot of people don’t open up and share their story. The reason?
“I’m Afraid And Don’t Want to Share My Story” Pitfall That Stops You From Having A Powerful Branding
It’s not uncommon to get these comments when I talk someone into creating their own brand story:
- I’m afraid to open up about my personal life and feelings…
- I’m afraid of what others might think….
- I’m afraid to share who I really am…
But here’s the thing…
The more vulnerable you are willing to be, the more powerful your story will be, and the more you will connect to your audience on a deeper level. So what should you do? Take your time to create your brand story. The work you do here will open the floodgates for content ideas that will not only connect you to your audience, but it will also establish trust so that you can build powerful connections for your brand.
Having the worksheet will help, so make sure to grab it by clicking here.
It would be beneficial to put on some relaxing music and do some breathing exercises or close your eyes for at least ten minutes to get centered and relaxed. Once you achieve a calm and centered state of mind, think back to the moment when you conceived the idea for your business.
What kind of feelings were you having, what kind of thoughts were you thinking? Now you are ready to begin answering the questions on the worksheet. And if you get stuck? You can either use the example provided above as a guide, or you might want to check out my favorite documentary, “Finding Joe.”
This is a deeply moving and powerful documentary that covers the 12 Stages of the Hero’s Journey in depth. You will finish the film feeling refreshed and inspired. It can be found on iTunes or by clicking here.
Become The Go-to Expert for Your Audience (And Stand Out From The Crowd)
Your brand story is one of the 8 pieces to become relevant to your audience. Having a powerful brand story, which in turns help you have strong branding, will help you charge what you’re worth, build a real audience and community, be known in the industry, and increase the lifetime value of your customers with increased referrals.
And by now, you should be equipped to create a powerful brand story that helps you become the go-to expert. And this is an important step to be Relevant to your audience. It’s one piece of the puzzle in my Relevancy, Omnipresence, and Intimacy marketing and sales method that businesses use successfully to scale their business past 7-figure.
If you want to know more about it, check out this in-depth guide with resources to help you implement it in your business.