Storytelling is an art everyone is born with, yet few of us use those skills in the business setting. We forget that everything has a story, especially when it comes to how a company got its start. Every business began as someone's dream and every entrepreneur dealt with setbacks, trials, tribulations and difficulties along the way. Sharing that story gives your company a human side, endearing it to customers and possibly increasing your customer base in ways you had not considered.
Grab the Interest
The key to telling the story of your start-up is to grab the interest of the audience who will be hearing the story. When people pay attention, you are able to communicate the missions and values of your company as you explain why you saw a need for the product or service you are selling and how you went about getting that product or service into the marketplace.
The story of your start-up gives your company personality which is one of the best ways to build branding. In fact, your branding should have a connection to your company's beginnings. Your company history can be the thread that winds throughout your marketing campaigns, providing a connection between your brand and your company beginnings. Positive branding is one of the best ways to gain loyal customers as long as you deliver on that brand. The key is understanding how to combine your company history with your brand.
When a customer feels an emotional attachment to a product or service, they are more likely to purchase from the company that provides that connection. By forming your company story around a connection to the heart, you will gain attention from consumers whose purchasing motivation often comes from an emotional connection. Humans are wired to connect with stories that reach them on an emotional level. One example of this philosophy is TOMS Shoes. Founder Blake Mycoskie created TOMS Shoes that matched every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes for children in need after Mycoskie befriended children in Argentina who did not have adequate shoes. In 2011, he founded TOMS Eyewear and in 2014, launched TOMS Roasting Company, which gives one week of clean water to a person in need for each bag of coffee purchased. The "giving back" philosophy has not only helped TOMS Shoes grow but has also allowed the company to expand into other markets as they reach the emotional side of customers.
Honesty the Best Policy
One of the most important things to remember when telling your start-up story is to be honest about your beginnings. In the 1990s, eBay found Pierre Omidyar told people that he founded the company as an easier way for his wife to easily trade the Pez candy dispensers she collected. The fact is that Omidyar founded the company to create a perfect market. Although eBay was an established company when the truth surfaced, in today's transparent business world, it is less likely that the truth will not come out before the company grows. This could actually hurt a start-up rather than help it succeed.
Not a Smooth Path
There is not one successful entrepreneur whose business venture did not hit bumps in the road. In fact, including the difficulties you ran into as your company grew creates an even more humanistic view of the beginnings of the business. Diapers.com was founded in Montclair, New Jersey by Marc Lore and Vinit Bharara, two dads who were tired of the midnight runs to the store for diapers and waiting in line and traffic on the way home from a long day at work to purchase wipes or diapers. They turned to the internet to create an online diaper service that offered low prices and fast, free shipping. Unfortunately for them, when they began the company, diaper manufacturers would not ship to them directly. The two men used U-Hauls to buy all the diaper and wipe stock at local box stores and ship them out of their garage. The story shows that when you have an idea, you can overcome obstacles with some creative thinking.
Contemporary womenswear clothing brand, dE ROSAIRO, has a story of its own. Made in New York and headquartered in San Francisco, CEO and Creative Director, Nishika de Rosairo says that she was fascinated with the hoodie when she came to the USA to study her MBA in 2003. "The attitude, the confidence, the anonymity, coupled with a dichotomous appeal of comfort was so intriguing to me". In the winter of 2012, while craving for the hoodie to be introduced back into her contemporary wardrobe she started to formulate her initial thoughts around how she would re-imagine the hoodie for the woman in tech, so that this woman could compete head to head with her male executive counterparts most recently flaunting the hoodie about the boardroom. However, without any fashion background or contacts in the industry, she didn't know where to begin. It wasn't until several months later that she started to research the concept and embark on a self-taught journey. Now dE ROSAIRO is currently sold in specialty boutiques, curated direct to consumer through what the brand calls Style Labs, and launching its online store to a global customer in just a matter of days.
"When I was six years old, I dreamt I would have a fashion brand by the name dE ROSAIRO, however I took a detour instead into the Fortune 500 and Silicon Valley world for 9 years. As fascinating as the business world was to me, it wasn't enough," says de Rosairo. What started as a childhood dream, became much more focused and specific as a professional adult, and the culmination of that dream is a brand built around the premise of re-imagining the hoodie for the modern woman in a way that she can incorporate it into her contemporary wardrobe. de Rosairo proudly shares, "we want to be a brand that is known for injecting jobs back into a dying USA manufacturing sector, for changing how people behave because of how they look and feel, for empowering women leaders, and for design and visionary leadership".
These tips for telling your start-up story can help you build a strong company brand by weaving the story of your business into your advertising, marketing and promotional campaigns. Your start-up story will help customers connect with you on an emotional level and provide you with long-term, loyal customers.