I’ve always known that brand was important. But it wasn’t until I’d worked for 5x years as me, and then 1x year under a brand, that I realised the value it delivers.
Since creating my brand, I haven’t really had to do much active lead generation to go and find new opportunities because my leads primarily come via referrals or repeat business. As someone who is terrified of people, even breaking out in a cold sweat at the idea of talking to someone new, knowing that I don’t have to go and ‘sell’ myself is the best present my brand has given me.
The following are 3x AMAZING books I’ve read on branding, including 3x lessons from each to get you thinking…
‘Building a Storybrand’ by Donald Miller
In his book Donald discusses how stories are the greatest weapon we have to combat the everyday relentless noise we’re exposed to. Our brains are hardwired to hear and process stories and so incorporating them within your brand is the best way to start building your reputation and be remembered.
Which sounds more compelling…
‘I started my business in 2015.’
‘I won my first client sat in the ball pool of the local soft play.’
So if you’re going to incorporate stories into your brand, what does Donald recommend?
- Every story needs a hero – and the hero is always the customer (not you!). The catalyst for any story is that the hero wants something, usually to overcome a problem.
- Companies tend to sell products/services that speak to external problems, but customers always buy ‘solutions’ to internal problems. If you want customers to listen, position your product/service as a weapon they can use to defeat their villain (aka their problem).
- Customers are looking for a guide (that is you!). They need someone who has a plan and can show them a way past their problem by shining a light on others who have gone before them (that’s your other customers).
‘Fortune Cookie Principle’ by Bernadette Jiwa
I’ve read many of Bernadette’s books because each one contains a beautiful, clear message that’s simple to implement. Fortune Cookie Principle, follows on nicely from Storybrand because it talks about how every innovation, product, service and idea has two elements: the commodity (aka the cookie) and the story (aka the fortune).
It highlights how customers aren’t loyal to commodities, but they do fall in love with brands. So what are the stories we need to tell to get customers to fall in love with our brands?
- Success is about significance, not dominance. So share a story your customers can relate to.
- Talk about the business you’re in. So not the products/services you offer, but how you make people feel when they encounter your brand – if people don’t feel, nothing happens.
- Share the reason for why you exist. Competitive products/services can be similar to yours, but the one differentiator you have that’s truly unique is your purpose.
‘Content DNA’ by John Espirian
I make copious notes from every book I read – and then I make more notes about those notes! But it’s rare that I read a business book and come away with an extensive to-do list as well as new ideas.
What makes Content DNA such a compelling read is that the concept is so simple – embracing the truth about what you stand for and then making sure you’re always seen in the same shape – and yet there is a beautiful and intricate detail to how that’s achieved. But because John is ‘relentlessly helpful’ he essentially tells you exactly what you need to do to strengthen your content, and therefore your brand, step-by-step.
With far too many amazing lessons to take away, these are 3x random pointers taken from my notes:
- Focus on 1x main product/service, 1x main content creation channel and 1x main social media channel.
- When thinking about tone of voice, imagine which celebrity or personality you’d have reading your company’s autobiography.
- Giving people money off is not as effective as making them smile!
Want to find out more about branding?
In every issue of ‘More than words via email’ I focus on a different element of the wonderful world of content. In issue 3 we examine branding in detail and I share some valuable assets, including:
- The Little Book of…Baking a Brand
- Messaging framework
- Messaging briefing template
If your name’s not already on the list, you can sign up here: