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.

7 Tips to Becoming a Better Employer

Running a business is not an easy thing to do when considering every aspect of it. What it all comes down to is the bottom line, and if your employees are not producing the results needed to experience success, it’s time to take measures to ensure that they do.1. Recruitment, Hiring, and Induction
Locating, hiring, and settling in the right employees is essential for any business. You need to be impartial, and maintain a strict hiring process where barriers and biases are not present. The position will be given to the best candidate regardless of their gender, race, or disability factor. It’s also imperative to have a comprehensive introduction to the business informing new employees of the company policies, procedures, opportunities, and values.2. Leadership, Accountability, and Culture
An employer who ensures it’s leaders are able to articulate, model, and carry-out the visions and values of the company is well on it’s way to becoming a great employer. You, as do your staff, need to be able to communicate openly, take constructive criticism, and leave nothing to guess. You need to be just as accountable for successes and failures as your employees are, and grant them the opportunity to participate in organizational decisions. A leader among employers recognizes and understands the culture of their company and staff, and takes it into account when considering goals and aspirations.3. Employee Development, Promotion, and Exit
Great employers ensure their company encompasses a positive learning environment where opportunities are given to staff to further their education through internal and external professional development classes/seminars. They offer mentoring for new employees and encourage promotion opportunities whether within or out of the company.4. Flexibility and Work Design
In order to assist your employees better with balancing their work with the rest of their lives, consider scheduling and work procedures to compliment your staff. Take into account each of the department’s requirements and possible parental needs. Your company’s organization and design could turnout to be a draw for talented skillful professionals to want to sign on with you.5. Remuneration, Recognition, and Conditions
Top employers recognize their employees for their skills and what they can bring to their company. They do not base salary on gender, association, or other aspects. They are fair across the board and review their remuneration system regularly.6. Harassment and Bullying Prevention
Some of the best employers have a zero-tolerance policy for any type of bullying, or harassment in any form. You should want your company’s work environment to be one of healthy collaboration and relationships. Be pro-active in your training of your managers to ensure the subject of mal-treatment is rarely- if ever-seen. Be sure to have a set procedure in place with consistent consequences for those who engage in acts of insubordination.7. Safe and Healthy Environment
Employers of any worth will ensure the safety and health of all their employees. They will provide training informing their staff of their rights and responsibilities, health and safety standards, and provides a working environment that provides for a safe and healthy work day. It’s also important to take steps to reduce the level of work stressors and to accommodate for those who have disabilities.

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