How do you differentiate your brand? It is a often said that people buy from people, and I believe it is true. A faceless product provider doesn’t inspire any customer loyalty whatsoever, and the only attraction is whether the product is fit for purpose and good value. As soon as a cheaper alternative comes along, your customer will migrate. To increase the perceived value of a product or service, as well as gaining the loyalty from customers, you need to build a brand, and tell your corporate story.

Lick imageI am a dedicated customer of a frozen yoghurt café where I live, in Brighton, not only because the product is delicious, but also because I know that it was set up by 2 young Welsh entrepreneurs , who are really passionate about their work. Here’s their story.

I recommend this company to everyone who visits Brighton, because I love the product and everything about it. I actually felt outraged when a competitor frozen yoghurt company had the audacity to set up shop! I even filled up 10 of their loyalty cards and redeemed them for a Lick t-shirt. I’ve become a walking advert. And this is what every company should be aiming for in their customers.

You may not be selling frozen yoghurt (you’d better not be!) but you need to think along the same lines to inspire the faithful repeat business of your clients. Not only in terms of the client themselves, but even moreso in terms of the recommendations they give, sending more customers your way, who then go on to do the same, etc. You get the picture.

So, how do we create a community of loyal customers? Not all businesses have the same direct contact with all of their customers where they can tell their story first hand. People want to associate themselves with brands that help represent who they are and what they stand for. So how do your customers know this about your company? I saw this YouTube video which I think offers some really useful pointers on how to work out your company’s corporate story and get it across to your audience, in order to create a community (of customers, subscribers, or whoever you are targeting):

Essentially, a corporate story needs to cover 3 main areas:

1) Values & Mission Statement: What do you believe in? What do you care about? What makes you tick?

2) Origins of Company & History: How did you get to where you are now? Tell us that first back of beermat idea and what happened along the way.

3) Visionaries / Leadership: Who is the face behind the brand? Let us feel their passion!

Add to the mix an instantly recognisable logo or image, and be consistent in the way you communicate and the language you use and don’t settle for generic “marketing speak”.

Think of your company as a person. Ultimately it gives your business a kind of soul rather than it all just being about specific products. Which brings us back to people buy from people.

Nike imageTake, for example, the mega brand that is Nike. This article explains how they tell their fantastic story. Essentially it reaches their end customers via the sales staff in their major outlets, which is great when it works. Looking at their corporate website, their story is covered in detail.

It contains everything you could want in a corporate story. Background and History, Mission Statement, The iconic Nike Swoosh, The Leadership Team, The Foundation, and Family of Brands.

Impressive stuff, but a bit much to read if you are busy. I really do think they are missing out on the added level of instant engagement, accessibility and personality a corporate story video could give them. It would further bring their story to life.

Its all about making your company stand out from the rest. Don’t be bland! Have a personality. Without a company personality there is nothing to engage with on a human level. This means no loyalty, which in turn means your business is at risk of easily losing customers to “the competition” (make sure you know who they are and what their corporate story is).

Joe Browns, a clothing catalogue business, sent me an email today with a link to their new video, inviting me to “Watch our new video and discover what makes Joe Brown’s tick”

It is engaging, and goes a long way down the corporate storytelling road, only really missing out the background story, which I would be interested to hear. It oozes personality. Everything in the company’s communications is personable and positive, and this really comes across in the video. I have no doubt they have a loyal following of customers who appreciate not only their products, but feel the brand represents their own outlook. I am now the happy wearer of a Joe Browns jumper, and will be looking out for their next catalogue.

It does take time and effort to really pin down what your company and business is about, what’s so good and unique about it, and who your audience really is, but it is essential if you are to succeed in today’s marketplace. When you do this well, and engage your customers with your story, then even when there is an occasional hiccup with one of your products or services, your brand often carries you through, and your client remains loyal. It’s an incredibly powerful branding tool which measurably improves your bottom line both in terms of new client acquisition and repeat business, so make sure you get your story out there!

To find out more about understanding your businesses personality and how to communicate using this personality read our post on the 7 triggers of fascination.

If you would like help telling your corporate story then please give us a shout.