What a Bad Date Can Teach You about Telling a Compelling Brand Story *

By this time most of us know it’s not enough to have a terrific brand: we need a compelling brand story.

But what do you do if—as you’re telling your story—you see your listeners’ eyes glaze over? (Or, worst yet, they reach for their phones?)

A few suggestions from the world of (bad) dates:

1. Everyone wants to feel special: Make it clear why you are telling THEM this story

The same way it’s no fun to listen to your date tell a story you can tell they’ve told on their last five (ten…fifteen…) dates, nobody wants to hear a brand story that hasn’t been tailored to them.

How can you do this?

Well, the same way you (likely) looked up your date online ahead of time, you need to research your listener ahead of time. Then you begin with, “I wanted to tell you about this because I know one of your goals is X and we can help you achieve that.”

Now you have their attention.

2. Don’t overwhelm them with detail:

You know how you feel when you are inundated with details about your date’s ex/eating plan/last vacation? That’s the same way your prospect feels when you, for example, include your organizational chart in your presentation….

(After all, how would you feel if your date drew a family tree on your napkin?)

So, the same way your date is likely to assume you have a rocking Nana, your listeners are likely to assume you have a super-deluxe COO—and if the meeting goes well, you can always include that information in future meetings or follow up emails.

3. Make it a dialogue: 

If you’ve ever been out with a monologist, you know it’s hard to get revved up about saying, “Yes” to date two.

Similarly, your listeners aren’t likely to be drawn in by stories that don’t allow them to contribute.

So the same way you might – on a date—say, “Have you had a similar experience?” You might—during your brand story—say, “Have you had a similar reaction from your customer base?” 

Then listen—a critical step whether you’re pitching yourself or your brand story.

* This blog post first appeared as an article in “Beauty Matter”