As marketers who are committed to a more compassionate, sustainable and ethical ecosystem for the marketplace, we are each looking for ways to stand out in our particular market square, while also promoting the new, positive paradigm. That means that the aim of our marketing is not only to create successful businesses, but also to contribute to increased health and wellbeing for our society and our beautiful planet.
As we do that, we must also remember that some of the business practices of the old paradigm are important to include in the new paradigm. It’s easy to let our enthusiasm run away with us and find we have tossed the good out with the bad.
How do we prevent that from happening? By remembering that there are timeless ways to build up the brands of who we are as businesses and just what it is we are doing in the marketplace. We learn that how we each tell the story of our business is as important as what services or products we are selling.
This new marketplace is relationship driven. The customers of today are looking for connection. They’re looking for likeminded people to do business with. They’re looking for ways to have an experience when they buy your product or use your services. They’re looking for meaning in the marketplace, as well as in the other areas of their lives.
So how can you build your business brand using tried-and-true marketing strategies and do it in a way that feels kind, authentic and in integrity with your values? Here are three ways to begin developing your brand story and setting yourself apart in your marketplace.
1. Know Your Customer
You may have heard the term ‘customer avatar’. It simply means a description of your ideal customer. It’s often a combination of demographics and some psychographics that define your ideal customer profile. While these ways of cataloguing and creating your ideal customer can be helpful, and you definitely want to go through this exercise, you can go deeper.
Imagine your ideal customer. What’s her typical day like? What’s on her mind? Does she have a favorite restaurant? Is life pretty good for her, or is it full of challenges? As you dig deeper and start to tell the story of who your customer is and what her life is like, you gain new insights into how you can meet her needs with your business. You write your business copy in a way that speaks to her, and when she reads it, she senses you are speaking to her. It’s direct, clear, inviting.
You want your customer to know that you know who she is. Another way to show this in your branding is to let your existing customers do the talking for you. Collaborating with current and former customers by letting their testimonials speak for you is brand building at its best. When new customers find you, they are looking to others like themselves for validation that this is a place where they can belong. Your customer isn’t so interested in the five-star rating you may have. They want to know what kind of experience others have had. What are the stories of their experiences with you?
Knowing your customers, deeply and intimately, is one of the most powerful ways to create your brand and tell its story.
2. Know What Business You’re In and Why It Matters
The answer to that question may seem obvious. You sell things. You sell services. You build websites. You run a vegan restaurant. You import green and fair-trade coffee. But I submit to you that this is NOT the business you’re in. You are in the business of creating meaning. Your business is about making a difference, building community and connection for your customers, giving them the feeling they want to have as a result of owning your product, using your service, eating at your restaurant.
When you understand this and get clarity about just what business you are really in, your brand starts to tell that story. For example: Are you a shop on Main Street that imports handmade stone jewelry from a women’s collective in an African village? Then you’re in the business of sustaining local economies, of creating beauty, of kindness and connection. You’re in the business of standing for self-sufficiency, empowerment for women and the value of hand-crafted goods.
When you realize what business you’re really in, then answering the question “Why does it matter?” becomes effortless. What you do matters. When you know it, you can tell your customers about it. They want to help you make meaning.
Then, marketing is no longer about selling. It’s about telling your story – the story of what business you’re in and why it matters.
3. Know Where to Set the Scene
Since we’ve been talking about using the power of story to tell your customers about your brand, build your brand identity and set your brand apart in the marketplace, it seems appropriate to conclude with where to set the scene, so to speak. You have built-in platforms within your business that are ideally suited for growing your relationship with your customers.
The first one is your ‘About’ page on your website. This is often an overlooked resource. But it is one of the most often-visited pages on a site. Your potential customers want to know your story. They want to know why you do what you do, why it matters to you, and what it is that keeps you doing it. Tell them. What has brought you to the place of doing the work you do is entirely unique to you. This is part of your brand story. This is often the place where your relationship with your customers begins.
The second place that can be an easy introduction to growing your brand and setting yourself apart in the marketplace is your blog. Storytelling is a universal art form for informing, sharing, teaching, and more. Your blog is by definition a platform for telling stories. Going back to the example of selling the handcrafted African jewelry, what better way to share a deeper exploration of the origins of the women’s collective? Where better to tell the story of how you came to discover their vision and mission for creating economic independence for themselves and their children? Tell your story visually and with words for even more definition of your brand.
This leads me to the third inherent platform in your business, and that is social media. From an image on Pinterest to a snippet on Twitter to a few comments on Facebook, social media gives you a platform to share your brand story every single day. It gives you a place to be completely original in how you create windows into your business.
And at the end of the day, the ultimate purpose of marketing is to create windows into your business. A good brand story will allow your customers to discover who you are and what business you’re really in. When you achieve that, you’ll never feel the disconnect of old-paradigm marketing again.
So what’s YOUR brand story? What business are you REALLY in? How are you telling that story to your audience? I hope this article has sparked some answers to these questions. Please let me know by leaving your comments below.
8 July 2014
PAULA TARRANT is a certified spiritual life coach and licensed Profit from Your Passion Coach who specializes in helping women who seek to live and work with more creativity and authenticity. She is known for her signature blend of spiritual, practical and creative principles that provide the framework for moving beyond self-doubt and fear and designing, instead, a life and livelihood that’s built around your natural gifts and passions. She is a graduate of the 7 Graces Foundations of Ethical Marketing course, and is currently on the 7 Graces Applications of Ethical Marketing certification programme.
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Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:
The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell, by Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues
Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.
Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com
The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.
LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.
Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.
(not just for Londoners, as we meet also on Skype)