How do you create a clear and compelling business story that makes your business stand out?
You need a business message (brand story) that sticks.
In this Chapter, you’ll learn how to write good business stories. Plus, there are a few things you MUST get right – read on to use them in your business.
1. The reason your business can’t survive without a message
Only 50% of small businesses survive past their first five years. And one of the reasons is simple… They lack a clear message.
The thing is:
If there’s one thing you feel when you’re online, it’s probably this:
People see thousands of ads every day. Our attention span is as low as 8 seconds – worse than that of a goldfish.
Is it hard to focus on any of the buzz out there?
In fact, our brains lose glucose and other metablic resources every time we focus on something.
What this means is:
People literally don’t have the brain capacity to focus on every single marketing message out there.
(Checking your Facebook or Instagram feed for a few minutes is worse than a stroll through Times Square. This claim is 100% backed up by my own observations.)
And that’s the reason your business needs a clear and compelling message.
This is the one thing you communicate with all your copy and other marketing material. With a message, you steer how customers think about your business.
You make it clear what your business does and how it fits into their lives.
Because in storytelling, a message is also known as the moral of the story or a theme. It’s what people remember from the story.
When your audience leaves your movie and a month later they’re saying to their friend: “Oh, I love this movie!” It was about ___.” What do you want that to be? Mary Coleman (Pixar)
You want the same for your business. When your audience sees an ad or reads about your business, what’s the one thing you want them to remember and talk about?
THAT’s your message.
2. How to craft a compelling business message
Now you know WHY you need a brand story.
But how do you create one that people remember and recite?
“Who is my audience? What message do I want to share with them?”
Then summarize this into a compelling sentence.
According to Carmine Gallo, author of The Storyteller’s Secret, this sentence must be:
If you’re left scratching your head right now, don’t worry.
I have three powerful business message formulas in store for you.
But before we dig in, there’s something you need to know:
With your message, you’re not selling what your business does or its features. You’re selling how your business changes your customer’s life.
Let me explain.
When Pixar was working on Monsters Inc., they initially thought the theme was a monster who scares people for work.
What they realized was that the theme was a person becoming a father.
See how this shift makes all the difference? People relate to career aspirations, sure. But love…
Woah, now you’ve captured them on a completely different emotional level.
So, let’s translate this into your business story:
Turn features into benefits – what you do to how the outcome helps your customer.
The three message formulas I promised.
Use them to write your business message:
#1. Simon Sinek: Start With Why
Simon Sinek shares a powerful message formula in his TED talk.
It’s built around the Golden Circle:
Most companies say: “We are Yoga Company and we sell yoga sessions. Want to buy one?”.
But instead, they should start with WHY (their purpose) they do something and then move on to HOW (what sets them apart from others) and WHAT (their product) they do.
So a persuasive business message could look something like this:
“We believe that people live their best life when they belong to a community. The way we create a community is by connecting our members. We just happen to have the best yoga sessions in town. Want to join us?”
Your business message formula is:
“We believe that_________. We do this by_________. We offer_________.”
Tip: Your “why” or purpose isn’t what you believe… It’s what your customer believes. So craft it accordingly.
#2. Carmine Gallo: Message Map
In his talk, Carmine Gallo shares some effective examples of persuasive business messages. His formula is called the Message Map.
Here’s how it works:
Start with a headline that’s no more than 140 characters long. Then, add three supporting points or benefits of your product. Last, add additional points that reinforce your supporting points (for example: data, statistics, and stories).
#3. Donald Miller: StoryBrand
Want a simple but extremely effective business message formula?
Then this StoryBrand formula is for you:
Customer’s problem > Your unique solution > Customer’s reward
You start with your customer’s problem or pain point that you help solve.
What does your customer struggle with? Is it a lack of time? Do they want to get healthy? Do they need more customers?
Then, you give your unique solution that helps solve your customer’s pain.
For example, if you’re a yoga instructor who focuses on new moms, that’s your unique solution. Or if you’re a freelance video editor with extremely good customer service, that might be your unique solution.
Ask yourself: “What do I offer that others don’t? What makes me different?”
“Busy professionals lack the time to eat healthy food on a daily basis. They lack energy, their health suffers and in one year, they gain 48lbs more fat than if they ate healthy food. We deliver healthy snacks straight to their office every day of the week. Our customers say they’ve never felt more energized than after a week of eating our Super Snacks.”
Create a message using one of these three formulas. Then, use it on your website, in all your copy, and your marketing material.
- You need a message in your business story. Otherwise, you lose people’s attention.
- Your business message should be clear, emotional, and memorable.
- Focus on how your business helps your customer (the outcome), instead of what your business is about.
In Chapter 4, you’ll learn what it takes to hook your audience to your story.