In business and marketing, we know that the most important thing that we can do right is to tell the tale of our brand. We’re hardwired for stories as human beings. When we meet new people, we probe them for information to get to know them better. We listen to their anecdotes, opinions, and beliefs.
Telling your story is a critical component of building your brand. It molds how people view your company. It enables them to begin forging a connection before any exchange of currency takes place. Do it right, and you’ll put building blocks in place that allow you to develop a thriving brand. Aside from their products, people like buying from companies because they like what they do, what they stand for, and the stories they share. These stories lead to better understanding and trust. We are moved to tears, laughter, anger, sympathy, and especially action by the stories we hear. When that action involves an exchange of goods and services, the stories need to be good.
They also need to be authentic.
Consumers aren’t stupid. If they believe for a second that you’re falsifying your brand, they will find out. Some of the world’s biggest brands are guilty of, should we say…stretching the truth.
In 2013, PepsiCo’s Naked Juice brand got busted making false claims that their products were “non-GMO” and “all-natural.” They weren’t. As a result, they ended up ponying up $9 million dollars in a class-action lawsuit.
In 2015, Volkswagen was caught cheating and falsifying emission tests on its diesel models dating all the way back to 2008. They were doing so as a means to pass these cars off as being cleaner and more environmentally friendly. In a record class-action suit, they shelled out $14.7 billion dollars to consumers. That’s right…billion. With a “B”.
Brands like these are often able to absorb these blows to their names because of cold, hard cash and the fact that in general, people have short memories. They continually blast the marketplace with new marketing messages. Plus, they produce numerous products under their brand. If a Pepsi product fails, they launch another one. They can survive.
But could you?
I would imagine not. You might only have one chance to grab a prospect’s attention and loyalty. Considering that, it’s imperative to remember that in telling our stories, we aim for genuine, honest storytelling 100% of the time.
Thankfully, for every Pepsi and Volkswagen, there are hundreds of impressive brands that are telling great, authentic stories. Stories that inspire and are powerful and moving. The stories you tell don’t all have to be inspirational or bring people to tears. But sharing your culture, core values, purpose, and mission can bridge the gap from where your company is to where you want it to be.