A lot of guff is generated by marketers when we talk about the ‘brand story’ - where the history of a brand is related in reverential tones more suited to hagiography than commerce.
Sometimes you could be forgiven for thinking that a successful brand that launched decades ago had some kind of manifest destiny and that the founder was possessed of superhuman powers of foresight and planning.
This of course is nonsense. If there was some kind of magic ingredient wouldn't we all be using it?
But, perhaps if we flip the concept of the brand story on its head and think in terms of the customer’s story we may be on to something interesting that helps explain what it takes for a brand to be successful.
By ‘customer story’ I mean this: what role does your product or service play for your customer? Where does it fit in the context of their life and what matters to them?
Is it a mundane, frequent purchase that is lumped together with similar commodities without much thought to the brand (or even the price)? Or is something that is not encountered very often but which has the potential to make a powerful impact of the life of the customer (such as a mortgage, a holiday or a car).
In the case of the former the challenge for brand owners is to stand out and cut through the noise. For the latter though the task is very different because they have the opportunity to win (or lose) a lifetime’s worth of business and to generate the Holy Grail of emotional loyalty.
If your brand is in a category with the potential to have a major impact on your customer’s life it takes a lot of work and insight to be successful – but I would argue that this is an investment well worth making.
Perhaps a useful starting point would be to ask yourself ‘How can I make what I do of greater significance to my customer? Can I play a more important role in their story?’