Every company has a story to be told. Some stories are driven by hardship, while others are driven by a lucky break. Some companies were formed on the backbone of years of diligent planning and research, while other spurred from a spontaneous decision of a soon-to-be-founder to quit their job and dive head-first into following their passion.
Nonetheless, the idea behind the formation of the company or 'the story' is often what customers and potential employees gravitate to when building brand loyalty.
Additionally, many corporate giants like Apple and Microsoft also use personal branding as another way to tell their companies' stories (for instance, it is impossible to think of Tesla without immediately picturing Elon Musk). Personal branding allows the consumer and potential employees to better understand the 'why' of a company, how they differ among competitors and what they can uniquely offer for the consumer and employees.
Furthermore, a company's story and personal branding can help align potential talent with the company's values. Potential talent who are in search of a new job want to know how their future employer matches up against their competitors. For example CEO of Gravity Payment, Dan Price became famous overnight because he took a little over a million-dollar pay cut, in order to pay his employees $70,000 a year.
With employee retention more crucial than ever, now is the time to utilize every tool in your arsenal to connect with future employees and inspire them with a concise brand story. Here's how you can use your company's origin story to inspire future employees and build lasting employee retention.
Start with the 'Spark'
No matter how long ago it was, you never truly forget the moment you had the 'ah-ha' idea that kickstarted your business.
When telling your brand story to prospective employees, start at the very beginning with the moment you knew this idea could be something big. There's a reason why folks love the thought of Steve Jobs having a fascination with computers and tinkering with the machines in his garage -- people connect with stories that remind them of their own experiences.
Whether you are solving a world-wide problem, building a better mouse trap, or finally taking the plunge to get into business for yourself, always start with your lightbulb moment.
Transparency is key when it comes to fostering and building relationships of all types. This is certainly true with prospective talent, who can often smell overly polished corporate lingo (the kind you find on almost everyone's 'about us' website pages) from a thousand yards away.
When telling your brand's origin story, try to stay candid and don't gloss over the parts that may seem a bit messy. By discussing your successes as well as your shortcomings, you are automatically building trust between both parties. Being open about your company's journey can also highlight your current company culture, and subtly show how future employees can expect to be treated when challenges arise.
Lead With Passion
Remember that feeling you had when you first started your business and everything was bright, shiny and new? When every meeting was exhilarating and every new idea dramatically shaped the direction of the company?
While the day-to-day of running your business might have dampened this initial spark of passion (though we certainly hope not), it's so important to be able to share the original excitement you felt on day one with anyone who is thinking of joining your company.
Practice your origin story like you would practice an elevator pitch. Keep it concise, convey your passion and your why and, when in doubt, choose radical honesty.