Your most interesting brand story is not about you
"Let's talk about me."
How long would you hang around if someone you barely knew suddenly threw that out? I'm going to guess you could measure it in milliseconds.
Yet, think about how many organizations do exactly that. Every chance they get they want to tell us about what they do or how they do it. Or how many awards they've won. Or any other number of things that trigger an uncontrollable urge to tune out.
I'm holding back a yawn just thinking about it.
Why we default to talking about ourselves
We all have the tendency to default to wanting to talk about ourselves. For starters, it's a survival instinct. Our caveman ancestors had to think about themselves or they may not be around all that long to think about anything.
It's also comfortable to talk about what we know. And there's nothing we know better than what we do or how we do it.
Put these two factors together and we have a recipe for creating a message that has the extraordinary ability to generate monumental indifference among those we hope to serve.
Putting ourselves in their shoes
Those we want engage have their own caveman instincts at work. In other words, they are preoccupied with their worries and anxieties. Now add on to that the unprecedented amount of information that assaults them every day, calling for their time and attention. When we look at it from this perspective, we start to realize that engaging them is going to take much more than telling them what we do or how we do it. It is more crucial than ever that we give them a reason to care.
And don't be that person that throws out the old, "Once they hear what I do, they'll figure out why it's important."
No, they won't. They don't think about what we do as much as we do. And why would we want to make a prospect go through the work of figuring out why they should engage with us? They won't make the effort. They'll move on to another option (competitor) that more clearly helps them understand why they should care.
The most interesting part of the story
If we want people to get as excited as we do about what we do, then we need to tell them why it is relevant and meaningful in their lives.
That's the part of our story that's not about us. It's about the real heroes of our tale – those we hope to serve. Remember me talking about their worries and anxieties? Those are the villains of this story. We need to show our heroes that we understand that. Then we need to become the sage guide that helps them on their journey to that moment of triumph when they defeat those villains.
Notice that this story is less about us and more about our heroes. We simply play a supporting role. That's why this is much more interesting to our heroes. Because it's about them. (I cover this story development process in what I call the Thrust Story Framework - check it out).
Telling a story this way is powerful because it reorients our thinking. We no longer start with what we do or how we do it. Instead, we think about what we will help someone do or become. We think about the difference we can make for them. Leading with that changes everything. It makes what we have to say irresistible. Because we're no longer assaulting them with our facts and features. We're showing them how to get to a better place in their lives.
Let's make that part of the story. Those who we hope to engage will find it nothing short of riveting.