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How to Use the Core Story Principle to Build Brand Value

What is a core story?

If your communication doesn’t match up with your brand values, your stakeholders will not understand your brand’s offering, and there will be a gap between your brand’s external image and your company’s internal identity. Using a core story is a strategic way of aligning your communication to create a consistent message about your brand.

Your core story is your central brand message and the basis of all your communication. The aim of using a core brand story is to close any gap there might be between your brand’s external image and your company’s internal identity and ultimately building your brand’s value. The story should be relevant and appealing to all of your stakeholders, so they are drawn to it and want to connect with you, your brand and your company.

What are the benefits of using a core story to communicate your brand values?

The benefits of using a core brand story include:
- A platform for basing the rest of your storytelling (and other) communication on, resulting in consistent communication of brand values
- An easy and efficient way of communicating your brand values and your company’s mission and vision
- Stakeholders easily understanding and becoming drawn to connect with your brand values and company
- A way of aligning, enhancing and communicating your marketing and communication strategy
- A way of differentiating your brand and business and standing out from the competition
- A way of engaging your stakeholders in the brand story, resulting in more positive psychological co-creation and word of mouth

Where do you “find” your core story?

The most important criteria for your core brand story is that it must be authentic – either based on an authentic personal story (like what motivated you to start your own company), or an authentic problem (like using fictional characters to illustrate the problem you are solving through your services). A good start on a core brand story for a small company or solopreneur is why you got started in the first place, what your values are and what your mission is with your company – basically your about page on your website.

However, for bigger and/or older companies, more people have had an influence on the brand and have helped co-create the brand through interacting with it. Therefore, the bigger the company, the more stakeholders you want to involve before creating your story. Consumers, customers, employees and others can be involved in creating the story. Through listening to these stakeholder groups’ stories about their experiences with the brand (for example customer reviews), you can create an authentic co-created story that includes the internal culture and external experiences with the brand. Involving a lot of stakeholders in creating your core brand story will also be effective in lessening the gaps in external image and internal identity.

How do you use your core story to communicate your brand values?

Think of your core story as a way to direct the rest of your communication. The articles you retweet on Twitter, share on Facebook or LinkedIn are more valuable to your brand if they have something in common with it (making retweeting web design articles more valuable if you are a web designer). The blogposts you create should establish you as a form of expert in your field of service, in turn making your brand and service more valuable and attractive. Your goal should be to communicate valuable, meaningful and interesting messages about your brand, that your stakeholders can connect with. Basically, before communicating with your stakeholders, you want to make sure that your message is consistent with your story and brand values, so as not to confuse your stakeholders about your brand.

By the way

Fog, Budtz and Yakaboylu (2004) have written a whole book (Storytelling – Branding in Practice) about how to find and use your core brand story, written for larger companies.

Lesser Known Web Video Marketing Tips

In recent years, web video has become the fastest growing new trend in online marketing. Through the use of web videos companies can now cut straight to the focus of their marketing strategy without necessarily having to take some of the more traditional online routes. Also, given their low cost of production and overall effectiveness, web videos can help generate a much greater return on investment than other promotional strategies. But before you can begin to take advantage of the web video trend, there are a few things you will need to know first.

The main thing to keep in mind when producing web videos is that, just like any other marketing campaign, it’s all a competition, wherein those with the best laid strategy come out on top. With organizations of all backgrounds and sizes moving to the internet for its low cost promotional benefits, chances are that you won’t be alone in whatever niche you are trying to fill. Before your videos can come out on top in search results, you will need to produce the best possible videos, of the highest quality, that meet a clearly defined need with a clean and concise message. In order to meet these goals there are a few techniques you will need to learn to properly produce and market your web videos.

With the shortening attention span and dwindling patience of today’s audiences, users are looking to acquire information at an ever more rapid pace. While this rapid transfer of information is one of the key benefits of using web videos, yet another way to help play to these needs in your viewers is through the use of thumbnails and load timers on all of your videos. While using thumbnails will allow your viewers the chance to get a prior sense of the video’s content, using load timers will give the viewer the ability to track the loading progress of a video, hopefully working assuage impatience. Another frequently overlooked tool in your web video marketing arsenal is the ability to use your videos as a means of data collection. This can be easily achieved by using your videos to offer samples and freebies, with a prompt for the viewer to fill in their email address and other information.

One of the most important things you can do to ensure that your web videos receive optimal online exposure, is to take full advantage of emergent video SEO techniques. Like traditional SEO methods, this involves using carefully selected keywords to help define your videos for search engine results. These select keywords will need to be used in a number of key locations, such as in the title of your video, in the META description, and, if you are embedding the video on your company’s website, should saturate any surrounding text. Making sure to use keywords in each of these specific locations will greatly improve your search engine results, helping to ensure that the broadest possible audience has the opportunity to view your videos. On a similar note, connecting your videos in a series, to be viewed one after the other, and providing full text transcripts of your videos will also help improve your search engine results, thus drawing in more viewers. Also, take advantage of video sitemaps to help Google and other search engines to index your videos for better exposure.

Keeping in mind to combined these simple tools and techniques when producing and placing your web videos will help to ensure that your videos reach the broadest possible audience and receive the attention they deserve. With the low cost and high effectiveness of web video marketing, there is no reason you too shouldn’t be able to tap into these benefits, drawing in more viewers, boosting sales, and seeing a drastic return on your investment.