In business, the brand is everything, because it reflects a mission close to your heart.
You know your mission. Your employees know your mission.
But what about your customers? Are they on the map of your brand awareness?
Your customers probably know what services or products you offer or where you’re located. But how many people actually know why you do what you do?
Why did you rise — and continue to rise — above the opposition to start something great? Conviction is key to running a successful business or organization, to providing a service that people don’t just need but want.
Enter the Origin Story
People are creatures of emotion who crave connections. It’s only natural that your audience will gravitate toward the beginning of your story to see how you built your business or organization to what it is now — especially if you’ve experienced hardships.
If the public was first introduced to Captain America in The Avengers movie, they’d see a beefy hero who upholds the moral good and saves some lives.
But if we go back to where it all began — when Captain America was Steve Rogers, the scrawny kid from Brooklyn, the public is more endeared to his character. The audience has a greater respect for Captain America because they witnessed the hardships he overcame and the skills he developed while staying true to his heart as he fought in The Avengers.
The same is true for your brand’s story. How do you write a heart-tugging origin story while remaining humble? Much like a comic book hero’s origin story, yours should have three main components:
- The beginning: You see a problem and set out to solve the problem.
- The middle: You solve the problem by working through a solution. Typically, conflict occurs at this point in the story.
- The end: Not only did you solve the problem while overcoming conflict, you helped solve other people’s problems as well.
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Every Origin Story has a Conflict
Think back to that moment when something in your character began to shift. Perhaps you saw some injustice that needed rectifying? Perhaps your life was an absolute mess and you decided enough was enough?
Whatever spurred you into action, be honest about where you started. This appeals more to the human heart than any sales pitch you could throw on paper.
This part of the origin story is tricky, because there is a balance between being authentic and being inappropriate. In business, transparency can be a trust builder, but too much transparency can have the opposite effect.
The point is to be real with your audience. Exaggeration may seem impressive, but humans relate to struggle and they can see through hyperbole. What lessons did you learn along the way that helped you overcome the struggles and plan for the future? Talk about your thought process or your emotions. Be careful not to go into too many details that could malign a person or another business.
- Show them how you were inspired.
- Show them the people who supported you when you were ready to quit.
- Show them the miracles that sustained you when all hope was lost.
- Show them the extraordinary happenings that helped shape you.
But don’t stray too far from the next part of your story or you risk coming across as self-righteous.
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The Hero’s Return
The conflict is over. The naysayers have been hushed. The economy returned to normal. You found a way to push through the struggle, and you persevered.
After hope has reintroduced itself, your brand’s story should take an upswing from here. There might be redoubling trials, but the skills you’ve gained and the hope you have ultimately lead to success. Show the journey of the upswing and discuss how both you and your brand were transformed in this period of climbing. Allow your audience an opportunity to revel in your success.
And then …
Help Your Audience Envision Your Dreams
The reason your audience will read your origin story is to feel inspired. Tell your audience about your ideals and show them how your vision has grown from the very beginning. How have your ideas and integrity matured? How will the greater vision benefit the company, the consumer and the world?
Tell your audience who you are and what you are about. Never compromise your vision for a few naysayers who are too nearsighted to see the value you’re offering to the world. Chances are, those naysayers will still use your product or service, even if they sneer at your dreams.
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