Since my column about the Power of the About Us page (remember 2006 when MySpace was really popular) was written, not a week goes by that I don’t receive a comment about it.
Karen Dietz's insight:
Hey folks -- if there is just one small thing you can do to prep for more business in 2013, it's upgrading your About Page on your website.
I really like the point the author, Bryan Eisenberg, makes -- "'About Us' is often the most neglected page on any website; if the page exists at all. It can put a human face on an otherwise technical, dry, and impersonal website. Properly written, it can provide some serious buying resolve to certain customer segments."
To help you get your story skills revved up to tackle this project, Eisenberg asks several really awesome questions at the end of the article. I know these will get those wheels turning in your brain.
And don't forget to give yourself time for several iterations. I just updated my year-old LinkedIn profile. My focus was on integrating several different aspects of my career and this time, it just came flowing out as a narrative that I now really like.
But trust me -- it took time to ask and answer to myself the same kind of questions posed in this article.
Am I done? No way. I realize I can change and update my About Me narrative as I need to. That is the beauty of storytelling -- our stories shift and change as we do. Our work as storytellers -- particularly in business -- is to remain authentic, engaging, and uplifting.
So what story(ies) are you going to be sharing in 2013 to grow your business?
Ideas For Strengthening Online Video Community [Creator's Tip #58] is the original title of this post.
This is the second part of our conversation with Patrick Hanlon, the author of, "Primal Branding... WATCH PART 1 OF OUR INTERVIEW FIRST! http://youtu.be/upzypRWCcDE
Here's a 15:46 minute video interview with the author of "Primal Branding: Create Zealots for Your Brand, Your Company, and Your Future," Patrick Hanlon.
In the interviewer Tim Schmoyer chats with Patrick about how businesses can use the Primal Code and they share examples as they go along.
What caught my attention was element #2: The Creed. This is your "I believe..." statement.
I'm thinking that your creed/I believe statement is a new way to think/talk about a company's Unique Selling Proposition -- which is a good thing! I find creeds/I believe statements to be much more compelling and easier for many to get their heads wrapped around.
The rest of the Primal Code are these elements:
When you link your stories into elements 2-6 you will have a dynamite marketing voice or point of view. And you can use these elements to adjust the rest of your biz stories so you have a tight, united whole.
These days, we hear a lot about the fact that content marketers need to be storytellers. Here are tips on how to create powerful content marketing stories.
I've curated this great video before from Chipotle, but it deserves another look. Not only did the company win awards and 7 million views for the video, they also took it a step further and told the story behind making the video. Good for them! Back stories are very powerful. Here's the link to the back story video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFlbGwAW7rw&feature=relmfu
And I really like how the author Manya Chylinski talks about the functions stories serve, and how biz or branding stories can have many of these same functions, but with a twist. Your stories are more than entertainment -- they are your authentic voice. You share them to build loyalty, trust, engage with customers, and grow your business.
The author's tips are solid -- but nothing really new. So go watch the video again for a refresher example on effective brand storytelling and the other video as a back-story example!
Thank you fellow curator Giuseppe Mauriello @pinomauriello for finding and sharing this with us!
For the last decade or so, there’s been a gradual shift in how marketers think about stories. Beyond thinking about how the brand tells the story, they’re increasingly focused on how people share the story of the brand.
What is the future of business storytelling? It's not story sharing. It's story making!
This is a quick article by John Coleman about the shift in marketing away from storytelling (past) to story sharing (present) to story making (future).
He's got some good points here and shares ideas about how this is going to manifest.
Enjoy this perspective and then start thinking about how you can make this shift.
Who tell stories to the outside world about the heart and soul of a company and what it's really like? Employees are among an organization's greatest brand champions. If employees aren't happy, customers won't be, either.
I love this quick piece by Kathy Klotz-Guest full of sound wisdom. You can't tell effective biz stories in the marketplace if the culture of your company culture contradicts your stories. Why? Because stories build trust and if you are not 'walking your talk' you can't build trust.
The story shared in this post is a gem and perfectly illustrates the point of the article. I am sure I will be sharing this with my corporate clients so they really 'get it.'
It's great when marketing comes up with fab stories to share about the company's products/services. But the BEST kind of stories come from employees themselves. That's why the best business storytelling is from the 'inside out' as this article advocates.
No matter if you are a micro-entrepreneur or a mega enterprise -- the inside and outside gotta match.
Well of course, that begs the next question: how do we gather employee stories? I recommend getting a firm grasp of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) as a process and tool to help you evoke those stories. If you are a solo-preneur, asking yourself AI questions can be very illuminating. As an enteprise, AI will have casdacing positive effects on your culture. Google AI and you will be deluged with resources.
So get busy making sure your inside and outside stories match for the best biz storytelling experiences that lead to consistent growth and raving fans.
I was on my way to play golf this past weekend when I drove by a young girl selling lemonade on the sidewalk in front of her house.
On the surface this quick article with 2 videos to share looks like it is the same old story -- storytelling is essential for successful marketing, sales, and business growth.
But there are 2 key -- yet subtle -- messages buried in the videos.
In the video with Seth Godin, he makes the point that not only do you have to have a good story, but you also have to create a product/service that combines both a need people are already hungry for and that also captures their imagination.Stories are your gateway because if you design your product/service and your business around the stories you want people to share about you, you will have a leg-up on your competition. This is quite a notion and different to how we typically do business today.
In the second video, the Danish author Rolf Jensen shares with us a story that makes his point: people buy the story, not the product/service. And that storytelling is the future of business development.
The article is short, as are the videos. But the insights are golden and will last a lifetime!
Can you increase your business without sacrificing your ethics on the altar of sleazy hype and inflated promises? Mark Silver spells out how.
So when writing your biz stories for websites, email campaigns, blog posts, etc. -- do you appeal to the heart or the ego? Ideally you do both. But how do you do that?!!
Author Mark Silver shows us how in this article. There are great tips that will help you craft. You business stories in ways that will help grow your business without sacrificing your values, integrity, or authenticity.
“How do I get more fans?” I hear this a lot. I’ve written about how to get more followers a few times, so instead of the same old, I thought I’d address this to folks who are working on growing themselves to be a person who has something of a growing (or huge) platform and is trying to understand how to use social platforms to build something better/deeper/more. And there might be a good place to start. “WHY” are you seeking to get more fans? And do you really want fans?
Why are you sharing your business stories? To get more fans (storytelling) or to build and engage with a community (story sharing)?
This article puts us all straight -- fans are OK but the real gold is in building community.
Read this article for more insights and target your business stories towards building community. That means listening to the stories of and within your community in return!
Stories are one of the most powerful tools in our communications arsenal. Since the beginning of language, they continue to inspire, motivate, and engage...
I love this article because it focuses on the connection between stories, how stories create meaning, how customers are searching for meaning, and insights into using meaningful stories to create strong brands.
It's a quick but powerful read -- and it will get you thinking a bit differently about how your are working with your stories, or the opportunities you might be missing.
This piece is from Evivio Blog - I selected this piece because today is the beginning of the Reinvention Summit where people from all over the world gather together to hear and share stories of change. All businesses are going through reinvention, telling the right stories to connect with their audiences in a new way is crucial.
This is a review by my curating buddy Jan Gordon. I couldn't have said it better myself! Enjoy her review:
Here are some highlights:
**Stories are the new currency in digital marketing, as digital media allow consumers a surfeit of channels to listen to and engage on.
**Consumers want to be engrossed and entertained, and as with other entertainment media, they expect a story.
But stories are not just entertaining.
**Stories are useful, descriptive, beautiful, interesting: shareable.
**Shareable, and participatory: when your audience shares your content, they often add their perspective to it, adding social credence that can further enhance its relevance
**The iconic marketing goal of the social media era is ‘viral’ content – a video, photo or other content that spreads like a virus from host to host, making millions of people laugh, cry or think.
**But one must consider how many of those attempts at ‘viral’ marketing havesucceeded.
**On a Wikipedia list of the most viral internet memes very few of them are associated with a brand and those that are were almost always created by a third party or viewed as a public joke.
**Trying to produce a viral internet meme is like trying to stand up on a water slide. The chances that you will fall flat on your face and look pretty silly in the process are very high.
**Rather than attempting to create ‘viral’ content, marketers should aim for ‘shareable’ content. That is, content that genuinely affects their target demographic; content that addresses real problems or communicates similar ideals.
"Brilliant's not enough in today's economy--you need a compelling story so people will remember you. (#branding Does Your Brand Tell a Powerful Story?)"
There are good tips and insights here on finding and sharing your business's brand story. I particularly like how the author talks about the 'energy' and 'pulse' of a brand story, encouraging us to "Raise your brand energy levels." The questions posed to get us started are really good also. The entire article is a good read.
Here's to more vibrant, energetic, authentic, personal, humanized brands!
We all know referrals are your best source for building business. There is nothing...
I like this article simply because it gives a beautiful concrete real-life example of how story sharingbrings referrals. We can all learn from this.
Once you get the point, focus on creating 2 or 3 customer success stories. Remember, these stories focus on the customer's problem/issue that was resolved.
It's best if these stories are ones you tell about your staff and how proud of them you are in solving a customer's problem, going the extra mile, overcoming an obstacle to meet a customer need, etc.
But if you are sharing a story about something you did to create a win for a customers, then tell it humbly: "The customer who moved me most was...", "I was really proud of myself when I could...," "I loved working with that customer and what I learned from that was..." You get the idea.
"This excellent video by Story Worldwide has been featured on Brand Stories for a while now. Not sure if you’ve seen it? If you haven’t, it’s definitely worth your time."
Now here is a very articulate and clear model for brand storytelling. There are 3 axis and the short video explains how to read the model. From there you can easily figure out where you are, and where you want to go.
And thanks to Omar Kattan of Brand Stories @BrandStoriesNet for sharing this material on his website Brand Stories and then sharing it on LinkedIn in the Brand Stories Group.
Winning entrepreneurs bond emotionally with employees, investors and customers--and dramatically increase their chances for funding and for long term success--when they hone their ability to tell meaningful stories about their businesses.
Here is an article discussing 2 examples of effective business storytelling for marketing/branding/identity purposes that really work. One is a small business (Baby Steals) and the other one is a large enterpriese (IKEA). You will notice the difference in their stories as the size of the business kicks in.
Pay close attention to what the founder of Baby Steals did/does -- because implicit in the example shared are story listening skills and how the stories she was hearing from customers/prospects also shaped the success of her company.
And then there are 10 tips for bringing storytelling into your business marketing/branding efforts. All are solid. A word of advice here -- working on several of these 10 tips takes time. The ideas you come up with during your first pass you will want to test with friends, colleagues, customers, and prospects. This is an iterative process where your focus and messaging gets sharper, clearer, and more powerful over time. So give yourself the opportunity to play. This goes no matter what size of business you have -- micro to large enteprise.
We are heading into the 4th quarter of the year -- what a great time to hone in on your business storytelling, laying a stronger foundation for your company in 2013.
About half our donors are leaving. According to Third Sector’s latest survey half the fundraisers are close behind them. It seems the only ones staying are the beneficiaries and God knows they’d leave if they could!
Now here's an interesting article -- all about when storytelling fails.
There is little talk about how/why storytelling fails in marketing, so I appreciate this post because it starts bringing our attention to this important topic.
This article was written for non-profits but it applies to for-profit businesses also.
As the author points out, one reason stories fail when you use them is when audiences perceive your stories as hype or a new kind of sales pitch.
How does that happen? It happens when YOU don't have an emotional link to the stories. They come across as inauthentic then.
As Charlie Hume, the author says at the end of this blog post, "What’s my real goal – a bonus if I hit this quarter’s target, or a world without poverty, an end to exploitation, a cure? Am I passionately committed to making this happen or am I making a living out of people dying?"
Ouch! But good points.
Read this article for more points about why some stories don't work. Then make sure when you create and share your stories that you are as personally inspired by them as you hope your audience is. That's the secret to success!
As we saw last time, your startup becomes a hero by making your customers and clients the main hero. And rather than starting with trying to sell our ultimate products or services, we attract and mentor our prospects with content first.
If you are going to use the hero model in your biz storytelling, then you are going to want to read this article (I say that because there are other story models available).
I really like the examples and videos this author uses to illustrate his points -- they are very powerful.
And I think the chart is brilliant. He also explains the structure for creating a hero story -- and focuses on the hero being your CUSTOMER, not you.
That is sometimes hard to get your head wrapped around, which is another reason why I like the examples & videos he chose. You will really experience the difference.
We use web browsers every day and don’t really think about them until something goes wrong. Google Chrome crashed on me the other day and I got the iconic “Aw, Snap!” page with the unhappy folder icon. Instead of being cross at the error, it made me smile, and I was more forgiving of the browser for crashing. This is an example of how personality can engage customers’ emotions and help them build a stronger relationship with your brand.
What a great article! It is all about the risks and rewards of developing your brand with personality.
Why should you bother? Because once again, it is all about emotionally connecting with your customers/prospects. It is giving them an experience. It is using the 'character' story element for creating effective biz stories to the max.
The authors give terrific examples and lay out for us step-by-step the reasons and actions to take for developing a brand personality.
Oh, and BTW -- it is not about creating a veneer or fakepersonality just to make sales. It truly is all about the authentic YOU.
Enjoy reading this post. I think you will find it enormously helpful as you continue to craft the personality of your business.
The refrain’s all too familiar. We live in a time of radical transparency and thanks to the rise of social media, brands are now co-owned. Look no further than the recent twitstorms engulfing Kenneth Cole (spring collection causes Cairo uprising?
What is effective branding? It's all laid out right here. And better yet -- each one of these elements are also essential storytelling skills.
Hooray! No story, no brand. As my favorite storyteller Elizabeth Ellis says, "The storyteller's role is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comforted." That does not ALWAYS hold true for biz storytelling but this saying certainly applies here when the author advocates for "Be The Cause" and "Be A Catalyst For Change." Frankly, I think if more companies took this advice there would be more win-win in the marketplace.
I also like the examples share in this post.
So grab these points, take them to heart, and create an awesome brand.
Marketers should make use of the Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Heavenly Virtues.
Hey -- not all marketing messages need to appeal to our higher virtues! So here's an article about crafting content and marketing messages that appeal to our vices.
This might not be your approach, or this approach might not work all the time. Or you might want to slip a few messages in that appeal to our vices while still focusing on our virtues. Or it might work best for you to be all about vices and forget those pesky virtues!
In any case, enjoy reading this article and then figure out what mix of virtues and vices will work best for your content and marketing.
Thank you Grace Decker @TheBoardroom for sending me this article!
Now I'm stopping work to sin with a glass of wine :)
It all began as a simple idea: sitting down face-to-face with some of the best minds in the world of advertising, asking for their perspectives on the relationship of music and sound to brands and marketing.
Now here is an unusual but totally thought-provoking article on how music is critical to the art of branding.
How did this article end up here in this content about biz storytelling? Very simply -- because telling a compelling story is all about feeding sensory material (the language of the senses) to your audience: sights, sounds, tastes, tacticle sensations, and smells. Music can be a key ingredient if used wisely. This is becoming more critical in branding efforts in the age of the Internet.
This article clearly lays out the whys and wherefors about the role of music in branding. Link music into your biz stories that you share online or in presentations and you've got a double whammy working together for even more power. It's called 'audio branding.'
As the article says, "We have a tremendous ability to remember music. Songs from our adolescence make a deep emotional connection. Years later, we instantly recall the context of when we first heard them."
Enjoy reading about audio branding and understanding the link to brand storytelling.
Here are three powerful reasons why using humor attracts customers and helps communication.
This is just a quick post with a powerful message -- don't leave home without your sense of humor!
What I appreciate about this article is the reminder to add humor to the business stories you share in your marketing and branding. Because, as the article says, it attracts customers, establishes rapport, and creates alignment. And it makes us smile!
All Is Fair In Business
A shopkeeper was dismayed when a brand new business much like his ownopened up next door and erected a huge sign which read 'BEST DEALS.'
He was horrified when another competitor opened up on his right, andannounced its arrival with an even larger sign, reading 'LOWEST PRICES.'
The shopkeeper panicked, until he got an idea. He put the biggest signof all over his own shop. It read: 'MAIN ENTRANCE'