Why should customers choose you over a competitor? Statistics show 70 percent of employees don’t know why their company is different, and can’t tell you why you should choose them over a competitor. Giving them statistics to memorize and recite is not the answer. For manufacturers to be memorable, you need to tell a great brand story.

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We’re all suckers for a good story

Storytelling has stood the test of time. Before the written word, it was used as an effective way to pass knowledge between generations. Today, it remains a powerful method of learning. In fact, people are 22 times more likely to remember a fact when it has been wrapped within a story, according to cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner.

This doesn’t mean you should omit compelling data when describing your brand. But data should be presented as part of the overall storyline.  As eloquently stated in Forbes magazine, “the combination of data + story—satisfying both left and right brain thinking—is what will ignite your audience to act.”

Storytelling 101 for brands

Many manufacturers are family-owned businesses with a rich, warm history. The story of how a family member grew the business from a seed of an idea and nurtured it into a thriving business is ripe for storytelling. Despite the fact the family-owned business angle gives brands a positive association, one analysis revealed that only one-third of the top 100 family-owned businesses promote their multi-generational family backstory. This is a lost opportunity for many family-owned businesses struggling to stand out amongst the competition.

Not a family business? No problem. The all-American success story describing how hard work meets opportunity never gets old, especially when told well. But a good brand narrative needs to include the classic elements of good storytelling, including a hero (the brand) which overcame an obstacle and emerged stronger than ever. For manufacturers, the conclusion of the story arc should illustrate why your brand and your potential client could live happily ever after together.

A note of caution: Choose the obstacle with care, as this needs to be a feel-good story. The obstacle should not be a result of strife that could raise red flags, such as a fallout with a former employer or a rift with a supplier. A more positive example of an obstacle could be your founder saw an opportunity to better serve the market, but the economy was in a downturn and start-up capital was scarce. But the founder decided to take a personal risk in a business he or she believed in, and due to hard work, determination and referrals from happy customers, the brand grew into the self-made success it is today.

How to share your brand story

Once you have refined your brand story, it’s time to fully leverage opportunities to share it and form a deeper connection with your audience. Fundamentals include creating or updating an “About” page on your website; educating the sales team on the story, its importance, and how it relates to sales; and educating all employees on the story and its importance.

A method that takes more finesse: Look for opportunities to work your brand story into everyday conversation. If you’ve created a succinct, feel-good narrative, it’s easy to answer the question “Where do you work” or “What do you do?” with something far more uplifting and memorable than a job title. Tell them a great story.

Need help creating your compelling narrative? id8 creates engaging brand stories for companies across all industries. Contact us today!