Once upon a brand… your story starts here.

At PLOTT we love the challenge of working with progressive professional services firms. Whether it’s a style refresh to reflect new leadership, a dynamic start-up, or building brand value for exit planning, we love to uncover stories that inspire your potential customers and employees.

And never have these stories been more important. We’ve talked in detail about what makes Millennials and Gen Z tick over the years (read our articles on attracting Millennials to your business and what Millennials really want). With Millennials set to occupy roughly 75% of the workforce by 2020 (The Deliotte Millennial Survey), it’s key we understand what drives their actions and behaviours.

“Millennials increasingly require a holistic and authentic experience across all the ways they interact with a company”.
BOSTON CONSULTING GROUP

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

For us, this translates to the very reason for PLOTT’s existence – brand storytelling.

So let’s start at the beginning. If you haven’t seen the significance of our name, you will now…. ‘PLOTT’. Although you could be mistaken for thinking it was the simply the founders surnames, brother and sister combo Anna and Richard Plotnek. But the link goes far deeper. The reason the name resonated (and this was no coincidence) is that a PLOT is ‘the story of a book, film or play’. Or in our case, the story of a brand.

Storytelling is very powerful tool in branding and marketing. As our attention spans dwindle and we are surrounded by an infinite amount of content vying for our attention, it has never been more crucial to be able to capture imaginations with engaging stories!

The internet is a very accessible medium, so it’s become essential that we are creative with how we tell and display our stories.

There is no definitive list to what makes a great brand story, but it should follow these key principles:

  • It must have an interaction between your brand and customers
  • An emotional, engaging narrative that your customers relate to
  • It must be what your brand stands for – your purpose and beliefs
  • It must include solving problems for your target customers
  • It must always reinforce your business ethos and values

Finding your own unique story will take time especially with finance and professional services businesses. But it will work wonders for your brand, allowing both your customers and employees to become more emotionally involved with your business as well as boosting your profile.

The science bit, WHY it works!

People love stories. FACT. From fairytales to family anecdotes they appeal to the emotional, decision making part of our brains that facts and figures simply don’t and more importantly, we remember them!

A Stanford research study found that statistics on their own have a retention rate of 5 – 10%, but when brought together with anecdotes, retention rate rises to 65 – 70%.

“Data can persuade people, but it does not inspire them to act; to do that, you need to wrap your vision in a story that fires the imagination and stirs the soul…”
HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW

At its core, marketing is storytelling. It’s a powerful tool to help persuade, drive empathy, and lead people into action – and we’ve seen it work for numerous sectors to help brands connect, create and show why they are the best choice for their clients and employees.

You may think you have no stories to tell, but there is always a story behind a business.

So how do we find our story?

In finance and professional services marketing, telling stories enables you to gain trust and build confidence quicker. Our clients often struggle to articulate ‘what makes them different,’ or their ‘unique selling point’ (USP). They often express concerns that their business and/or brands seem dull.

Granted it may not be quite as obvious as consumer brands such as Innocent or Apple, but we know you have a story to share. And the services that your company provides are really important to the people that need them. Don’t forget that.

Over the years we have developed a three step process to help our clients thinking differently about their businesses and draw out their own unique story.

This is where the twist comes in!

1. The What

First, let’s set the scene! Getting the basics right is key to defining your brand.

Ask yourself:

  • What do you do?
  • Where do you do it?
  • Who do you do it for?

In our brand booklet ‘Once upon a brand…’ we set a series of tasks to help our clients understand themselves and their business in more detail. This is a key tool to helping deliver an authentic and honest story. If you’d like your own copy to work through, just give us a shout.

2. The How

Very few businesses, or stories, are one-of-a-kind. Pinpointing what makes a business unique requires some serious soul-searching and creativity. It’s about finding those tiny features that will make your service, or product, stand out.

Think about:

  • What sets you apart from your competitors?
  • What do you promise your clients?
  • Why do your clients use you?

3. The Why

This is the big one… by this I mean, why do you get out of bed in the morning? Why does your business exist? What inspires you to do what you do? When you think, act and communicate starting with the ‘Why’, you can inspire others and tell an even greater story.

Think about:

  • What inspired you to launch your business?
  • What is your cause, purpose or belief?

We often refer to Simon Sinek’s very powerful but simple idea, people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. This is the magic behind the best brand storytelling – branding from the inside out.

Once you’ve found your why or your ‘hook’ or your overarching plot, bringing your brand to life becomes far easier. The goal now is to tell your story in the most memorable and authentic way.

Examples of our favourite brands and their stories

Before you head off to write your own ‘plot’, we’ll be sharing a series of some of our favourite examples of finance, professional services and B2B storytelling to inspire you. Some we’ve created and some we just admire from afar. These are all handpicked to encourage you to think differently about how you can bring your story to life in a creative way.

Get your ‘Brand Storytelling’ workbook

In the meantime, you may wish to have a go at defining your own brand story. We’ve created our “Once upon a brand…” workbook to take you on your journey. It has lots of fun exercises for your team to collaborate on to get you all thinking differently. If you’d like a copy, please email us. Or get in touch, we’d love to hear from you and chat about our favourite topic.

Remember:

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make but the stories you tell.”
SETH GODIN

… and we all lived happily ever after.

Want to chat about your brand? Speak to Anna at anna@plottcreative.co.uk