Why is Telling Your Story So Important to Building Your Brand?
Tell the story that is true to you…
By Nicki James is the Founder of Just Brand You https://justbrandyou.co.uk/
Nicki James is the Founder of Just Brand You https://justbrandyou.co.uk/ . She is a personal brand strategist and champion for female entrepreneurs on a mission to release the magic of other women in business – by giving them permission to be themselves. She empowers her clients to show up, get visible and kick imposter syndrome into touch as they step into their true zones of genius and rightful places in the world, so that they can launch and grow successful businesses whilst still celebrating their individuality and true purpose. Fighting against the misconception that you need a split personality as a business owner – one person for work, one person for home, Nicki is passionate about empowering female entrepreneurs to realise that the rocket fuel that helps them fly – is them. With confidence and clarity around their marketing she shows her clients that the secret sauce they need to grow their business isn’t the latest ‘marketing magic’’ – but their own individual story and magic.
WHY TELLING STORIES IS SO IMPORTANT TO BUILDING YOUR BRAND
“Storytelling is at the core of everything I do. It is also crucial to everything that I work on with my clients as I help them to build brands with them at the heart of what they do, what they offer and what makes them special. But, what is it that makes telling stories so important, and powerful? They’re real, they’re personal, and they build connections with your audience. They make us relatable, and give our audience reasons to not just believe us, but to fall in love with us. Maybe they’ve experienced something similar, maybe they feel inspired by our journey, or maybe they realise a new way of seeing things, a different perspective that unlocks what they need to do (more on that later).
“When we tell our stories we have an opportunity to pay our strengths forward. To use what we’ve seen, or heard, or experienced to help others with whatever they’re going through, or struggling with. To create change for them. That’s something I always try to do for my clients, that’s what sets my soul on fire about this journey that I’m on. I got that from my Gran, Betty. An incredible woman who also inspired me to start this journey as an entrepreneur. I wouldn’t be writing this if it wasn’t for her, in fact I probably wouldn’t have done any of this. I still remember one of the last things she said to me before she passed was “You are more than this 9-5 Nicola” (she didn’t call me Nicki). At the time I had zero clue what she was talking about. I loved my job, I’d worked for amazing brands and magazines, I’d finally found a job I was super happy in after bouncing back from many redundancies, so, why did she think I had more to give? But, I guess if I look back now, she could always see what others do now.
She’s the one who taught me to pay my strengths forward too. Don’t get me wrong, she’d put me in my place when I needed it, but, when I was told things like ‘little girls should be seen and not heard’ by my Dad – a jekyll and hyde type character, who loved you one minute and the next you’d be seeing a very different, violent side of him, she was the listener. The solutions maker. The inspiration. Because you see, Betty was also silenced in her youth by violence and abuse, but like me, she wasn’t going to let it stop her being the strong confident woman that she ended up being.
I tell her story a lot within my business, and she always grabs a whole lot of love whether it’s a post, a blog, a live video or an email… Why? Because it has power, it has an impact and it enables my audience to understand why I’m here, the thing that drives me to show up and champion them every single day. She taught me that as women we should be seen and heard and it’s what I help my clients to do everyday. They also all want a Betty in their lives!
That doesn’t mean it’s the only story I tell though. Because the truth is, anything can be a story. It doesn’t always have to be a tragedy, or a tearjerker, but what it does have to be is true to you… and, the best bit is the fact that we all have a story. So, when I speak to people and they tell me they don’t, then I’m very sorry, but you’re kidding yourself. We have all been on a journey to get to where we are now. We all have a why. We have all experienced different things and overcome things.
What we need to do is find the golden nuggets that will resonate best with our clients. It’s not about telling your life story, or a chronological journey of this, then this, then this… What we need to do is work out the key elements that our audience will really feel, something that can build a connection with their audience like no other person can. Something that you can pay back to them in some way.
But, in order to tell that, we need to break free from that imposter devil on our shoulder, who’s sitting there saying ‘Who’d want to hear from me?’ Now I get it, I’ve been there, but trust me, I see you and your story has power. You never know who is out there reading, or listening. You never know who needs to hear from you. It can feel scary, and you might feel vulnerable, but the ladies around you, those raving cheerleaders will be there with love, and support, and you will start to build connections you never thought possible.
The great thing about telling these stories is the fact that everything you share suddenly becomes personal to you. It’s not reposting famous, or anonymous quotes in the latest trendy style (although they still have a place in the feed) – it’s real. It’s unique. That’s key, because unique content is one of the best ways to cut through. No-one wants to hear the same old ideas, in the same old way, and you don’t want to be a copycat – no-one likes that. So, the more of a twist you can put on the content you share, the more you’ll stand out from the noise, and you never know, it might just need you to explain something in your style to unlock it for a potential client.
Finally, don’t feel like your stories always have to be directly about your life. It could be things you’ve seen, or heard. Inspiration is everywhere, and we have to be open to it. It helps if you’re a massive people watcher like me, but some of my most powerful stories have been things I’ve witnessed in real life. Like a lady on a plane who was terrified of flying, but put her fear to one side to be there for her children, in the same way we need to put our fear aside and be there for our audience.
As your brand evolves and grows every single day, more stories will come and the more you refine the process of selecting those nuggets, and the more you experiment with the stories you tell, the easier it will be to define which ones will have the most impact. Relatability is key, and if you speak on your audience’s level, showing you have been where they are, you know how they feel and understand what they’re struggling with they will start to feel like you just ‘get them’. Like you know exactly who they are. That’s powerful, because that’s when they start to love you and your brand, and when they love you, they buy from you.
Every win, every challenge and even every failure, is another opportunity to do just that. Another chance to connect, to bring your audience along the road with you, and write them into the next chapter of your brand story.
The only question is, what story will you tell next?