Brands are nothing more than a collection of people, which makes it even more important to craft your pet business brand story, and craft it well.
Before we get to that let’s make sure that you understand everyone creating content online is a brand. Whether it’s just you, solopreneur, or you run a small business with some support from employees or contractors, your online persona is your brand.
Maybe you are a personal brand. Maybe your products are your brand. Maybe your services are your brand. Maybe your pet is your brand. In the end, whatever people connect with online is the brand, and there is at least one person behind that brand.
So then, how do you share your brand story? And what exactly IS your brand story?
Your brand story is the thing that connects your audience to you. It’s how they define you and the reasons they support you. Brands that are really good at crafting their story have a seamless connection with their audience.
Brands who aren’t so good at crafting their story end up being defined by their audience, and sometimes that definition is not in-line with what that brand’s vision.
This is why it’s so important to have a brand story and share your brand story clearly and authentically.
Yea, yea, “authentic.” Such a buzz word.
It’s a buzz word because it means truth. In the end everyone just wants the truth. So craft your pet business brand story with truth. Try not to focus on being unique as much as being truthful.
This is more than the story that pushed you to start your business. We all have those stories, and they are important stories, but knowing your why is deeper than that.
Your why is a statement. It’s your purpose. It’s the reason you get out of bed, even when you don’t realize it.
Simon Sinek says ““People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.”
To get down to your why answer these questions:
Are you catching onto a theme here? Every time you have an answer, dig deeper. Ask yourself why that answer brings you closer to your vision.
A good friend of mine once said to me, “Your real why is probably 7 answers deep.” Don’t aim for 7, just know it’s deeper than 3 or 4.
So get deep and find your why and make it a statement.
With your why in hand, your vision should be more clear than it was before you had a statement that defines why you do what you do.
That vision is part of your brand story because it’s the vision that your audience wants, too. What you see as your wish for the future is what they want to see, too.
Your vision should include your perspective. So many of us can say we want peace on earth, but we all will define what that means differently, and we will all have different ways to accomplish that peace.
Your vision for peace on earth, otherwise known as your vision for your brand, should be clear and easy for your audience to understand and connect to.
Hopefully you started with an idea of who you want to talk to, but it’s important to really get specific.
What does your audience do? What do they think? What do they encounter day to day? What holds value for them? And how do you and your brand help them with any or all of those things?
Your audience is more than a group of individuals who align with your perspective. They are people who you want to build a relationship with. They are people who get you, which means you need to get them, too.
Give them names. Think about them while you craft your brand story.
The more specific you are, the easier it is for your audience to feel connected to you.
Strategy can be difficult. People, even professionals, constantly confuse having a strategy and having a plan, but there is a difference between strategic thinking and strategic planning.
Do you need both? Of course.
But in this case we are talking about strategic thinking only. The plan you create will be all the steps you need to carry out the thought, but first you need to have a clear thought; a clear strategy.
I wrote about this a few years ago on LinkedIn because I was feeling like a broken record as I was working with entrepreneurs who continued to share their strategy and it was a 5-minute schpeel about all the things they were going to do.
I’ll summarize here that your strategy should be able to be said in a word or a couple words. And thinking strategically about your overall business means having a main focus, not ignoring everything else you believe you are and want to do.
For instance, our strategy is collaboration. We seek to collaborate. It’s our main focus.
But when we move into things like content marketing, we give that it’s own strategy, which for us is brand awareness. Then, as we plan out that content marketing strategy we keep in mind our overall business strategy of collaboration.
Strategy deserves its own post, maybe even its own course.
For now, think strategically before you plan strategically.
People are dying for truth. Sometimes they adamantly disagree with your truth, but that’s okay; those aren’t your people.
Your people will adamantly love your truth.
Truth is something that creates trust. Trust is something that creates loyalty. Loyalty is something to be valued.
I believe we all want loyal customers/readers/clients, and those customers/readers/clients, they want truth.
So be you.
That you might be a brand, but it still has a personality. Maybe it’s sincere with a side of humor. Maybe it’s educational with a side of snark. Whatever it is, embrace it and show it.
Some brands create manifesto’s or guiding principles. These can be helpful, especially when you grow and have other people representing your brand.
Bottom line, your beliefs are important to your audience because your beliefs are their beliefs. Your truth is their truth.
So be you. Be authentic.
Your pet business brand story is built on all of these pieces. When you craft it really well it encompasses each piece and yet doesn’t explicitly say what each piece is. It simply allows your audience to know it and feel it and most importantly, feel like they are a part of your brand story.
We spend time talking through each of these tips in the All Pet Collaborative, our membership group for pet professionals. We also bring pet professionals together in our free BlogPaws Community Facebook group.
Want to discuss your pet business at a deeper level? Join our free group and sign-up for our professionals newsletter to be the first to know when the All Pet Collaborative opens for new members. We open it once every quarter.
Share with us. What’s your brand story? Could it use a little refreshing or clarifying? Let us know in the comments what your takeaway is.
Chloe DiVita is an original BlogPaws Executive Team member and is Co-founder of All Pet Voices, BlogPaws’ sister company. She’s been in the pet industry since 2009 and loves leading the All Pet Collaborative, a membership group for small pet businesses, with All Pet Voices Co-founder Jessica Shipman. She also LOVES speaking and if you put her in front of a camera she’ll talk until you tell her to stop. It comes in handy as Executive Producer for TEDxCambridge where she leading the speaker coaching team and is constantly in awe of the ideas being brought to the stage.