You’ve hired the most kick-ass code jockeys on the Interwebs. Created the hottest product since the Selfie Stick. And adopted the most adorable French bulldogs in your entire WeWork facility.But none of those bad boys could ever hope to have the impact of the single-most powerful weapon at your startup’s disposal.
Your humble, “About Us” brand story.
That’s right, the original backstory of who you are. It’s an asset that’s available exclusively to you – totally for free. And yet it will become the most valuable piece of property you will ever own. Giving you Jedi powers that will enable you to differentiate and dominate for as long as you remain in business.
Because Your Competition Can’t Steal It
We live in a hyper-competitive world. Every day, hard-charging rivals are sneaking up behind you in dark alleys, looking to hijack your intellectual property, your customers and your market share.
And they’ll stop at nothing to succeed. They’ll mimic your products. Hire away your coders. Hell, they might even attempt to make off with your adorable French bulldogs. But try as they might, they’ll never be able to replicate your brand story.
This is huge. In a world starving for authenticity, you are the only you out there. Not that this will stop your rivals. They’ll do anything to distract from that fact.They’ll shout louder in the marketplace. Offer lower prices, easier terms, endless concessions. They’ll out-spend you ten to 1. But if you’re managing your brand story properly they still won’t be able to pry your customers away…
Because It Bonds You With Your Tribe
And the reason is simple. Because your story is their story.They see themselves, their beliefs and their values reflected in you. Which is why they use your products to make a statement about who they are – to themselves – and to the world. We all do it. We are all the car we drive.
Brand loyalty is the driving force behind the most valuable companies on Earth. Need proof? Let’s do a little test. The truth is all smart phones are basically the same. They work the same way, do the same things – hell, nowadays, they all look alike, too. Now see if you can convince an iPhone fan to switch to a cheaper Android model. Then tell Siri to set the timer for “When Hell Freezes Over.”
Of course, not all brands have such a wide appeal. It is highly unlikely that your story will resonate with everyone. Which is actually fine.
Because We Live in a Niche Marketing World
We used to live in a “broadcast” world. Where generic messages were spammed out to a general audience. Reaching everyone – but connecting with almost no one. Now we have 800 media properties, 1 billion web sites and 86 trillion personalized YouTube channels. And we’re probably just getting warmed up.
Reaching your tribe in the midst of all that craziness is a challenge to say the least. It’s almost impossible to find where they are. Which is why a compelling brand story is more critical than ever. Because it helps your people find you.
In fact, a great brand story can enable your startup to create its own niche – and then own it. Today’s consumers self-select – and bond with the brands they love. And if they fall in love with your brand, then they won’t be able to get enough. They’ll want to watch, read and hear everything about it. This is great news…
Because We Live in a Content Marketing World
People no longer see ads. And who can blame them? Today’s consumers are assaulted by more than 10,000 brand impressions every day. And today’s technology gives consumers the ability to left-swipe your latest offer like it was a poorly Photoshopped Tinder profile pic. Which may explain why consumers switch screens up to 21 times an hour. The bottom line: Fewer and fewer prospects are ever going to watch your ads, let alone respond to them.
But they will respond to stories. Stories about your values, your quirky past and why you decided you had to launch your company to begin with. Regale them with the weird, the funny, the true. Your niche will eat it up. We may live in a distracted world, but as Jerry Seinfeld once said, “People have an infinite attention span if you are entertaining them.”
So do it. Make your brand story the foundation for all of your collateral. Because it is what your true customers want to hear. Told properly, it will affect them deeply – and influence their actions. Elevating your message above all the noise. Causing them to stop and actually listen. To buy your products again and again.And remain loyal to you forever.
Your Brand Story Is Worth Its Weight in Gold
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got nothing against code jockeys, selfie sticks or French bulldogs. Well, okay, against code jockeys and French bulldogs. But if you truly want to make your startup as awesome as it should be, then you need to invest the maximum amount of time and effort into your brand story.
Develop it, refine it and then use everywhere you possibly can. Your customers will ultimately appreciate your features and love your benefits. But what they will remember most is your brand story. Which is why it will always be the most valuable asset your startup will ever own.
About the Author
Bryan T. Lyng is an award-winning writer and unapologetic evangelist for the global startup revolution. Founder of the content marketing agency, Lyng & Associates, Bryan has helped more than 130 startup clients kick some proverbial ass throughout their respective industries. Oh – and he also serves as guest lecturer for the University of Southern California’s Lloyd Grief School for entrepreneurial studies. Learn more at www.lyngandassociates.com – or https://twitter.com/BTLyng.