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One of the most critical components of a marketing plan is your brand story. As we said recently in our article, Nail 4 Marketing Basics To Supercharge Your Brand’s Success, when it comes to small business marketing one thing is almost universally true. We tend to skip over the marketing basics and rush right to the tactics before we have built a solid foundation. Then, we’re disappointed with results, start putting marketing on the back burner and begin the slow march toward losing faith in marketing entirely.

Your brand story is one of these foundational marketing basics to get right. Why? We live in a world today where consumers are surrounded by brand messages – while out drinking, on social media, in store, on websites, in articles, at community events, and so on.

The Common Craft Maker Rebuttal

You know this, you experience it yourself. Yet time and time again I find small business owners doing their best to wiggle out of spending any real time or energy on crafting a cohesive brand story to infuse in all of their marketing.

But, listen Suzanne – I make an AMAZING product! So I don’t think the brand story really matters all that much because the proof is in the tasting glass!

Having an amazing product is important and a great start but there are a MILLION great products out there today. You have to fight the good fight to get your piece of the pie – and that means using marketing to help you stand out in the crowd.

And your brand story is your best weapon to do just that. Not in a way that is overbearing, sales-y, or stresses your potential consumers out with more low-value noise. We DON’T want to be those brands…which is often what small business owners end up becoming when they skip the foundational elements.

A well crafted brand story ensures your potential consumers are subtly yet consistently hearing the same key messages from you in a way that helps them get to know you, connects emotionally, and adds real value to their life.

By doing this, you create a deeper connection to your brand while moving them down the consumer journey subtly and naturally to purchase/visit, and eventually become loyal with everything that you do. Which is what we’re all striving for, aren’t we? To make every dollar and minute spent on marketing work harder for your brand.

What Is A Brand Story?

A brand story is a narrative that elicits an emotional connection or reaction by conveying both the tangible and intangible elements of your brand. To be clear, this isn’t necessarily a story that you’re writing out to share with the world. Nor is it your founder’s story. It is a story that helps you understand and identify your brand story’s key elements and what should be consistently messaged throughout all of your marketing efforts to best attract your ideal consumers.

The common elements of a good brand story include:

  1. Your consumer as the character, destined to be the hero of the story.
  2. A consumer-relevant & meaningful problem/need/want/desire/opportunity.
  3. Your brand as the guide, or mentor, within the story.
  4. A plan and call to action, leveraging the unique elements of your brand, that can help the consumer solve their problem.
  5. A transformation of the consumer into the hero as he/she understands your plan and follows your call to action.

Without a good grasp of your brand story you’re jumping in at #4 with your marketing efforts.

Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make but about the stories that you tell. ~Seth Godin

Not surprisingly, if you start at #4 without understanding the first three components you’re not as likely to even get your consumers’ attention. And you’re much less likely to help your consumers get the transformation they’re seeking, which is what drives real connection and loyalty. Why? Because you don’t understand them and you don’t understand what you uniquely have to offer them yourself. And that means a lot of wasted marketing efforts.

How To Develop Your Brand Story

To develop your brand story and brand voice, you really have to sit yourself down, ask some tough questions and dig deep. One of the reasons this critical, up-front marketing work is so often passed over is because it’s deep-thinking work rather than deep-doing work. 

As craft makers and entrepreneurs, you’re busy. So doing the things that allow you to check the most tangible items off your list the fastest often get priority, even if they aren’t as high in long-term, strategic value. Things like hire a web designer, pick a brand name, open up social media accounts, start posting on social media: check, check, check, check. But the value of all of those items are greatly diminished without the foundation of a brand story, or any of the other four critical marketing basics.

Ready to Get Started? Here Are A Few Resources…

Everyone has different styles of learning and putting information into action, so here are a few of our favorite resources across different mediums to help you get started with this important brand story work:

Watching: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

First, I highly suggest watching this TedTalk from Simon Sinek, author of the book, “Start with Why.”

Then sit down with some friends and ask them to drill you with questions about why you started your business, who your ideal consumers are, why you’re making what you’re making and more. Record it or take notes and then start to find themes, ahas ,or even oh-nos. Keep drilling deeper. You’re looking for your reason for being, personal elements of your background, values, unique differentiators, and marks you’d like to leave behind to build into your brand story.

Online Learning: Craft Alcohol Marketing Bootcamp & More

If you’re looking for a bit more guidance throughout this process, you can also enroll in our Unlock Your Brand’s Magic: Brand Story & Voice online course for craft makers. You’ll gain an understanding of what brand storytelling is through short video tutorials and a variety of real-world examples. Plus, exercises to put it into action for your brand complete with probing questions to go deeper and templates to bring your brand story and voice to life.

If you are a bit more serious about getting your marketing foundation right beyond the brand story (even if you’ve been in business a while this can be a very worthy undertaking!) enroll in our Marketing Basics 3-Course Bundle. Or our full 10-course online Craft Alcohol Marketing Bootcamp where you’ll not only build your foundation but also get clear on specific marketing tactics to grow your brand.

Reading: Building A Story Brand Book by Donald Miller

Lastly, is the Building A Story Brand book, by Donald Miller. It’s all about “clarifying your message so customers will listen.” We use the 7 elements of great storytelling framework from this book as reference in our own brand story course because it’s simply one of the best resources out there to help brands build relevant, meaningful brand stories to drive results.

 

So if reading is more your style than an online course, grab this one and dig in. He gives lots of great examples from big companies to small, commodities to luxury items, and more. And it’s backed by studies and results to give you confidence it will work for your brand just like it’s worked for thousands of others once you put it into action. 

Your Brand Story: Make All of Your Marketing Work Harder

There you have it…let’s get that brand story developed, revisited, or refreshed to ensure all of your marketing is cohesive and working as hard for your brand as possible. Next up in our , we’ll be diving into how to get started with your brand voice once your brand story is developed.

Until then, if you’re looking for more resources to help your craft alcohol brand’s growth through marketing make sure to sign up for our craft maker mailing list to get access to free resources, monthly tips & tricks, and our private online craft maker marketing community.

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