The task of drilling your company’s story down to a clear statement or idea is difficult, especially for those that have been conducting business without one for some time. When we ask our clients to tell us their story, it’s shocking how many simply can’t do it. They know their business. They know their customers. They know the technology and the market. But they simply can’t put it into a well-formulated, concise statement that makes sense to the outside world.
Being able to tell the world about your company starts with nailing it down internally. Only then can you weave this story into your marketing and sales materials.
What your brand story IS NOT:
- A 4-page essay documenting every detail of your company
- A meticulously crafted sales pitch
- A self-serving blog post about the company founders
What your brand story IS:
- The reason you started your business
- The thing that makes you love what you do
- The reason you go to work every day
- A transparent look at the culture of your business
Questions to ask yourself:
1. Why did you start the company?
Every company begins as an idea in the head of its founder(s). As a business owner, you took a leap of faith and started your company for a reason. What was it? What gap did you see in the market? What were others NOT doing, or doing poorly, that caused you to form your company? This piece of the story provides an authentic, transparent view inside the minds of the company’s leaders. Surely you didn’t go into business simply because you yearned for the headaches and stress that come along with business ownership!
2. What problem does your company solve?
We often get so focused on the products and services we offer that we lose sight of the true value we bring to our clients. Every business solves a problem for its customers. What challenges do your customers face and how to you help them overcome those issues? People want to do business with companies that “get them” and understand the struggles they face day-to-day. Further, they want to do business with a company that can provide relief from those struggles or helps them achieve success.
3. Who are your competitors? How does your company differ from them?
Let’s face it. The Cloud, Telecom, and IT market is a “me too” world. The technology is pretty much the same across the board, give or take some features and functionality. The thing that sets companies apart is how they do business. Your potential customers have a plethora of options when it comes to selecting a service provider, so it’s absolutely imperative that you are able to set yourself apart from the competition. Maybe it’s responsiveness. Maybe it’s your relationships with carriers. Maybe your product is your amazing implementation process. Whatever it is, it’s a critical part of the story.
4. What values do you hold to be most important?
Many moons ago, I joined the marketing department of a UC company out of California. One of the things that I quickly learned about SimpleSignal was that the CEO, Dave Gilbert, valued the importance of building a phenomenal company culture. Like other large tech companies, SimpleSignal had an “unlimited vacation” policy – meaning you didn’t have to count vacation days, sick days, etc. This fostered a workplace that was motivated by passion. Those who abused the policy didn’t get their work done and inevitably moved on. I’m not saying you should give all your employees free reign. What I am saying, is your company stands for something. Whether it’s a fantastic company culture, unbeatable customer service, or giving back to your local community, make sure these values are evident in your story.
5. Why do people continue to do business with you?
As I mentioned before, your prospects and customers have a lot of options when it comes to their business communications. That said, you’ve undoubtedly heard a client say something like, “I really like working with your team because ___.” It may be the personal relationships you’ve built with them along the way. However, it’s unlikely that they are putting hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars a month toward your business just because they like the sales guy. Most likely, you have a number of customers that stick with you because they truly value the solution/service/product you bring to the table. Your story needs to show the value of doing business with your company, not just the solutions you bring to the table.
6. Where do you see your business in 20 years?
What it really comes down to is this – how are you planning for the future? Technology is changing fast, and businesses are struggling to keep up. They want a technology partner that is not only keeping their eye on where the technology is headed but also ensuring that you are bringing the latest and greatest to the table for them. If you take this a step forward, prospects also want to know that you have the expertise, resources, and stamina to stick with them over the years.
Spend some time talking with your employees, leadership, and customers. Gather up as much information as you can around your story before sitting down to write it out. Need help crafting the messages? Carve Digital can help. Just shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a message here.