NCET Biz Tips: Using your brand story to drive sales, engagement & brand loyalty

Stephanie Jiroch

Stephanie Jiroch

You’ve got the idea. You build the product or service. You create a killer marketing plan. And then? Nada!

Sales may be slow. Funding is non-existent. Or gaining traction seems impossible.
One of the largest mistakes I see well-meaning startups and organizations make is the lack of a magnetic brand story to fill the gaps in marketing and sales plans.

You may have the best idea in the world, but if you aren’t communicating it through an engaging and memorable story then you’ll likely see more failure than success.

But what if you could start one step ahead? When you tap into the power of story to drive sales, build brand loyalty and drive engagement, your likelihood to succeed doubles. Take it from me, after working with startups and organizations around the world, and having helped raise funding up to $50M, double donor participation, and increase viewer engagement of top tier television programming.

Here are the five elements to a great story that you cannot overlook:
Never underestimate the power of emotion in business. Stories can’t help but express some type of emotion and if they don’t then the story won’t be told again. Humans crave emotional experiences. Movies are popular because they combine all the senses to quickly activate our emotions. Stories have been told around the campfire for centuries in an attempt to share lessons through the power of emotion. So while some prefer to keep emotion out of their company or marketing, I believe that emotion-driven and story-based marketing is THE way to stand out in an ever growing consumer market.
No great story exists without some level of strife. Who are you up against? What cause are you championing? It doesn’t have to be a noble cause or fight on a grand scale, it could be something on a local or micro level that affects you or your community. No matter what the issue, the point is there needs to be some level of conflict for the story to be successful!
Not all heroes are human. Wall-E, one of my favorite and most tear-jerking movies of all time, is a great example of how a hero arises in unconventional ways. So while most of my clients are human-based, the hero’s journey is more important than who stars in the story. At the end of the day, what journey are you taking your customers on?
What does the company or brand stand for? How do they operate? In what ways do they do business? When someone shakes your hand, do they know they can trust you?
Company values shape your brand story and communicate your reason for being (and how you do business). All too often a company’s values will be slapped up on the wall but aren’t lived, as seen in company culture and corporate policies. Your brand story must convey your company values to align and attract your ideal customers, investors and even new hires.
A beginning, middle and end give your customers a sense of flow and purpose. As you lead them on the journey of why you are in business, what’s in it for them and how life is better with whatever it is you’re selling, a simple story structure is the fastest way to move past the brain’s information gatekeepers. In other words: start with where they’re at, provide them a vision of what’s possible, and let your product or solution lead the way.

Ready to craft a brand story that helps you stand out?

Join Stephanie Jiroch May 24 as she walks you through the brand story process to craft your own enticing and memorable company or product story.

Learn about the power of story at NCET’s Biz Bite on Tuesday, May 24. NCET is a member-supported nonprofit organization that produces educational and networking events to help people explore business and technology. More info at
Stephanie Jiroch is director of Web & Digital at Foundry and has spent the last 10 years helping companies across the globe craft compelling and engaging brand stories.


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