Does your website tell your brand story?
Every brand has a story and every brand has a journey. Sit down with entrepreneurs and they will tell you of their values, their struggles, their triumphs and their mission. Obviously the business is to serve a customer but that does not mean the story is not important. In fact the best brands are the ones with the best stories.
Now this article is not about creating a story for your brand since that is an entirely different subject. Assuming that you have a story to tell how do you go about it on your site?
Should the website tell the story? Why? It’s just to display products and services. Wrong.
Most businesses, even those with great stories to tell, never do so on their website. ‘Strictly business’ is the mindset with which they design and maintain their website. After all which customer wants to know your story right? All they are interested in are your goods and services and the price, right? Wrong.
Imagine you are a bored procurement agent for some company having to go through dozens of websites including yours and your competitors. In a perfect world he would take what you write about creativity, excellence etc at face value. But since every website is claiming the same values and promises, what is the differentiating factor? Story can be a very big differentiating factor. Story makes for interest and uniqueness.
It’s hard for competitors to copy your story especially when it’s ongoing.
Your service offerings can be copied. Your product descriptions can be copied. Your prices can be matched. But your unique story, no one can copy it without appearing very stupid. The more creatively you narrate your story on your site the harder it is for competitors to match you. In fact your story can be the ultimate differentiation factor.
Your products / services and your story need not be mutually exclusive.
You need not separate your story from your products and services. In fact each product or service can have the story woven into it. An interesting anecdote about the product, a bit of history, or some unique provenance of the product or service could make it interesting. It also tells the prospective buyer how involved you are in your business.
Convey your passion for your business, products and industry through your website.
Traders who are just exchanging goods and services for money won’t have a fascinating story to tell. For them it’s ‘only business’. But for an entrepreneur it’s a passion, a balls-to-the-walls attempt at creating something unique. Story telling conveys the fire in the brand. Passion will sway a prospective customer better than any dried old statistics about the features or benefits. Although we like to think we make decisions rationally, passion can sway us easily.
Don’t be afraid to be corny, sentimental or just plain weird.
We are tortured daily with sameness across the website. Template based websites built on platforms such as Wordpress or Magento are creating clones that all look and feel the same. The same menu items and the same visuals and the same way of conveying information.
I would always love a good dose of corny, sentimental or just plain weird in a website. It would certainly make my day.
Is it a risk? Definitely. But if you want to make a difference you have to go out on a limb.
There are some individuals and prospective customers who will never appreciate a unique website. They are so strait-jacketed in their thinking that they will frown on anything new and different. Luckily the world is full of wonderful people who do appreciate a good story.
The majority of people want to be entertained. They want to be wowed. And deep down they want to do business with people who are on a journey and care about their story.
So the next time you are designing your website start with the story instead of the sitemap.