Storytelling. We all know it’s important. We all want a killer story for our purpose-driven company. Yet, many of us feel like our brand story sucks…
Mix in the fact that most of us all hate “selling” and you’ve got the recipe for a whole lot of struggling entrepreneurs.
After all, we’ve read inspiring books from founders who have gone on a life-altering journey around the world and ended up as the founder of an AMAZING company. Our entrepreneurial journey doesn’t feel as compelling… right?
We might also feel like our story sounds like a broken record… Everyone else’s product “provides jobs and empowerment to those who need it most.” How do you stand out?
Two Big Important Strategy Realities About Storytelling for Purpose-Driven Businesses
As the editor-in-chief of a purpose-driven business magazine, I’ve seen two really big important realities when it comes to storytelling for our businesses:
Reality #1: Most brand stories do come across to media outlets and customers as blah. Even in the niche purpose-driven business space, they can feel boring or similar. (Most of the pitch emails I receive are different versions of the same thing).
Reality #2: You are not blah! You are unique! And contrary to popular belief, you and your personal founder story, not just your social good cause are the keys to unlocking a compelling, cohesive brand story that is authentic to you and your mission.
Reality #3: A great brand story is a non-negotiable to have, but it’s not the only thing. You also need to incorporate storytelling into your overall sales strategy.
How I Have Been Held Back with Storytelling in the Past Too
I’ve learned these realities about storytelling first hand.
When I first started Rank & File, I was extremely image-conscious. I wanted to be seen as a legitimate business publication and I wanted people to take us seriously. Doesn’t everyone?
So, I hid behind my brand for a while. I didn’t have many pictures of me on our website (because large publications don’t). I didn’t run our Instagram from my perspective (that would make us look small). And, I didn’t write articles for the blog (gosh I am more than a blogger! Ugh!) Sound familiar?
My own insecurities about my authentic entrepreneurial journey and my story were keeping me from developing a heart-centered, compelling brand. And because of this, it was hurting me from making sales and making a social impact.
It wasn’t until I was forced (like really forced by a mentor) to share my personal founder story during an online summit that the light bulb came on.
When I was able to own my journey and my story as ‘good enough’ and worthy of being shared with the world, that’s when everything (including sales) started to shift.
Getting out of my own way was step number one toward financial sustainability. Without insecurities, doubts, over-analysis, and confusion around what I should share and how I should share it, I was able to share more authentically. I was also able to design a sales strategy that fit my goals for social impact (and not anyone else’s expectations).
It was freeing. It was life-changing. It was full of greater social impact.
Since then, I’ve gained so much firsthand experience running the editorial vision, branding and strategy behind Rank & File, and working with countless purpose-driven entrepreneurs to share human, engaging brand stories.
Here is what I know: Most entrepreneurs are trapped in one of three scenarios when it comes to storytelling…
- We are obsessed with stories (all we do is share stories) and we ignore how it fits into our overall sales funnel.
- We are concentrated and stressed out about selling, selling, selling and so we really suck at being authentic.
- We are trying to blend our story with sales strategy, but we are not great writers or we don’t understand sales funnels, so we need help!
The First Step to a Compelling Brand Story: Understanding You are Good Enough
The first step to fixing all three of these problems is getting out of our own way. We have got to learn how to own our worthiness despite the feeling of imperfections so that we can be the leader our social causes and our businesses need us to be!
Here are the most common issues that purpose-driven entrepreneurs face when they are struggling with owning their worth (so you can better identify potential storytelling roadblocks to your success):
- You think about how partners, sponsors, and customers will “perceive” your brand all the time.
- You are worried about people taking your brand or you seriously.
- You feel like your journey is not that extraordinary and that your life story isn’t the most important part of your brand story.
- You don’t have a picture of yourself on your website.
- You are not consistent with content marketing through your company blog, podcast, newsletter, social media channels, etc. (oftentimes this is a key indicator of lack of clarity and confidence around brand story).
Often times, we have these symptoms because we are waiting for a feeling of worthiness to come to us after we reach “success.” But success is a unicorn. There will always be new things to conquer and new levels we haven’t reached yet.
As a CEO, our most important role is to step into our worthiness now and own our unique journeys so that we can show up to take the action steps needed to carry our own companies forward.
I am not talking about “faking it until you make it” or trying to do #allthethings that everyone else is doing. I’m talking about the realization that you, your dreams, your abilities, and the current state of your business are good enough right now.
I want you to become visible and to start to share your authentic story.
You do not need to wait a moment more. You don’t need more experience, more traffic or recognition to start sharing an incredible brand story.
Even though you will still feel scared to engage the world with more personal visibility for your brand, you can do it. In fact, your financial sustainability depends on you showing up in a visible way to share your human experience.
Confidence around authentic storytelling and personal visibility in general for our companies is a really common thing to struggle with. You are not alone! But, developing a compelling brand story and sales strategy that is authentic to you and your values is something all entrepreneurs can do. It can be learned. You can learn it too!
Get your Brand Story Foundations In Place
In order to get there, I suggest that you enlist guidance from someone experienced to help pull you out of our own head, to uncover what is truly unique and beautiful about your heart’s mission, and to give you some core verbiage as a starting point for sharing your message. This will help you to feel a lot more comfortable when you start stepping into new levels of visibility for your brand.
I hope that this episode has been encouraging for you and has shown you that even though it’s scary, you are capable of sharing a compelling brand story for your business that is going to elevate your sales.
I’ve put together a Brand Story Guide to help you get started with crafting a values-driven, authentic story for your purpose-driven business. I would love for you to check it out.
The Brand Story Guide is totally free and packed with the same process I have used for Rank & File and that I use with my clients every day.