What they say, write, tweet and post is shaping your brand.
You see, you don't own your brand.
Your brand is a perception in someone's mind.
In essence, your brand is many things to many people.
Whether or not you have someone working on your marketing, you have a fully staffed Marketing Department.
"Marketing is too important to be left
to the marketing department."
- Hewlett Packard co-founder, David Packer
Everyone markets you. Your employees, customers, volunteers, vendors, neighbors, friends . . . even your children.
Think about that for a minute.
Every time someone talks about you or your organization they are contributing to the perception of your brand.
The good news is you can help shape their perception through stories.
"A great brand is a story that's never completely told."
- Scott Bedbury
People remember stories, not statistics.
Since the beginning of time we have passed down our heritage and history through stories.
From etchings on cave walls to ceremonial dances to the spoken and written word our stories help us connect and relate in meaningful ways.
Listen to the stories people are telling about you and how they talk about your organization, product and services.
Actions speak louder than words so pay attention to how people interact with your product, service or organization. Learn what they like and don’t like. Knowing where you are in your customer’s mind is the next step. Before embarking on a road trip, you have to know your starting point to effectively navigate a path to your desired destination.
Design a map with stories that speak your audience's language, not industry jargon or buzzwords.
Share stories designed with your customer’s, donors, employees and volunteers in mind. Answer their questions instead of telling them what they need.
Engage in conversations instead of creating commercials.
Build relationships based on trust and shared values instead of buying into hacks and apps.
Finally, gather and share stories, photos and testimonials from your customers, donors, employees and volunteers. Each and every one is part of your story and the keepers of your brand.
Just as important as knowing who is telling your story is knowing what stories to tell.