In the Story of Your Business, You're Not the Protagonist.
Whose Story is This Anyway?
No man is an island, and no business is either. Not one that wants to survive, anyway.
While differentiating oneself from others in the market is one of the goals of a compelling brand, not being clear about how your business fits into a bigger story can lead you to making ineffective decisions, moving your business in the wrong direction, and failing to connect with the clients you most want to work with.
What’s the bigger story that you want to understand? In business, we talk often about the importance of telling your story in order to forge a meaningful connection with your audience and potential customers, but that advice can also have an unintended side effect: focusing too much on your own story ignores the story of your client or customer.
While your story is very important, it’s not necessarily important for the reasons you think. It’s only actually interesting to your ideal client if it fits into HER story. Your client is on a journey of her own, and in her story, she is the protagonist. You and your business are characters in her story. It’s your job to convince your client that you’re in her story for the right reasons.
You’ve probably heard before of a popular exercise for early-stage entrepreneurs: the ideal client avatar, in which you profile your ideal client in minute detail, including things like what she eats for breakfast and what time she goes to sleep at night. This exercise can be helpful, but it’s only helpful if it helps you understand who your client is, not just how she behaves.
Be The Best Supporting Actress.
You want to “get into your client’s head” and try to understand what her story is. What does she want? What does she care about? What does she believe about the world? What does she believe about herself? What does she struggle with? What kinds of things resonate with her?
How can you, what you do, and her experience of your brand reinforce your client’s perception of herself? And how will you, and what you do, participate in the transformation she’s longing for?
People interact with brands that make them feel like the person they want to be, or believe themselves to be. A disconnect in values, style, and personality will often drive a client away, even when they are looking for the service you’re offering.
So think of your story in the context of your client’s story. In the grand scheme of things, you and your business are playing a supporting role in a movie in which your client is the lead.
If you need help determining your client’s story, your story, or how the two might work together, you might be interested in the services I offer to businesses and entrepreneurs.