Are You Faking A Brand Story? (with kudos to Meg Ryan)

Last night on TV I caught the classic, “When Harry Met Sally” in time for the scene in Katz’s Deli. Here’s what I learned about your brand: You can fake an orgasm but you can’t fake a brand story. Your audience knows. You may attract their attention but attention and sales conversion don't always go hand in hand. And hey, why fake a story when you can ignite those hidden sparks, tap into your genuine voice and tell the story only you can tell? Et voila! You’re in your zone. Nothing feels as good or can give you a better chance of innovating, standing out for the right reasons, having strategies for growth and making money today. Not even a big brand marketing budget. So why fake it? Because getting to the real deal is not often as easy as it sounds. And you’re busy putting all your focus on selling your products and services. Makes sense! But what if you don't know what you're really selling without also knowing your real story. We can all work hard for weeks or years trying to morph someone's winning story without even realizing that’s what we’re doing!So here’s a tip I hope will help make mining your story a little easier whether your brand is your book, business coaching or bunny slippers:Write a list called “Things You Don’t Know About Me.” Pick those things you’re sure have no relevance to what you’re selling. You’re an amateur Cordon Bleu chef. Or your team believes Elvis is living. Then before you trash this as nonsense, look again. Ask someone more objective to check your list twice. You can find gold connecting the dots and crossing a few bridges between your list and your current story if you look for them. Ask Sara Blakely whose list of "Things You Don't Know" likely included “I have issues with tummy bulge.” That is, until she discovered “Spanx."

I got my first branding consults with two Fortune 100’s two decades ago because I was the author of bestselling books for kids. I always loved branding, wanted my way in and had no business degrees plus little corporate experience. But I did have this list and my eyes open eventually long enough to see “sparks” between a great brand and a great kids book. I connected the dots, knew it “was mine” in my heart and created a way for it to work for others. And it still does.

You have a unique voice and story. Maybe even more than one. It’s not etched in stone but steadfast in what you stand for. It rocks you to keep building your dream, has them keep choosing you and then raving from, the Deli or Facebook, “I’ll have what she’s having.”

Is that you story?

If not, I'd like to hear from you. Thank you for reading!