Updated: Apr 30, 2021
Fifteen years ago, during another day of stressful phone calls in my collection agency, I was exhausted. I stared at the phone, dreading the next call because I didn’t know how much more I could take.
I decided right then and there that when the conversation with my next caller was over, I wanted them to hang up happier than they were before the call. That desire for consumer happiness became my new North Star. On the next call, I did whatever was in my power to make the consumer happy. I did the same on the next call and the ones after that. Without realizing it, I began building a brand that satisfied consumers and inspired other agencies.
The difference between a good brand and a great brand lies in the customer experience, the employee experience and a clear return on investment. How can we actively achieve these building blocks of a great brand?
It’s easier than you probably realized. All you need is an impact brand model that combines the basics of marketing with a fantastic brand story that gives the company a greater purpose. We can call this story the impact brand story. An impact brand story shows a company’s commitment to making humanity better, which I believe to be important in all industries.
How can your company make this commitment and tell an effective impact brand story? At my collection agency, I embraced my passions — researching and implementing neuroscience and psychology — to exceed consumer expectations.
What I didn’t realize 15 years ago was that I was in the process of developing an impact brand story that has benefited me immensely over the years. Your company might have already created one, too; you just need to find it.
Let’s get started and outline how to find your company’s impact brand story:
1. Find What Makes Your Company Unique
What strategies does your company use that set you apart from others in your industry?
Understanding how your company is different from competitors is essential in cultivating your impact brand story. Your strategies are the why behind the purpose of the story.
For example, I consider my collection agency to be unique in the way we interact with consumers. When we use happiness as our North Star, we’re able to make an impact on each call. I use that uniqueness to navigate my agency’s impact brand story. After all, knowing the why behind our purpose is the first step in crafting the perfect story.
2. Understand Your Employees' Needs
While external factors are vastly important in cultivating an effective impact brand story, internal factors are just as essential.
Remember: Raving fans on the inside create raving fans on the outside.
Employees need to feel supported and happy to make sure customers and clients feel the same way.
If one of your employees is unhappy in their position, they're probably not going to try very hard to make customers feel at ease. Ultimately, this will affect your impact brand story. Customers and clients might have a bad taste in their mouth from a negative interaction with an employee, and they’ll likely remember that for years to come.
Be mindful of your company culture, and keep open communication with your team so you understand and hear their needs. Take the time to address employee concerns. Your employees, customers and clients will thank you for it.
3. Focus on Customer Experiences
Arguably, this is the most important step.
Part of the strength behind an impact brand story is the delivery of the story. Sure, you can write about your brand story on your company blog or the “about” section of your website. That said, one of the most impactful forms of a brand story delivery will come from clients and customers.
Remember how I said raving fans on the inside create raving fans on the outside? Well, that means making sure clients and customers have positive things to say about your company is vastly important. People want to believe that when they support your company, they’re supporting something bigger than themselves.
At my collection agency, we contribute to humanity by making consumers feel heard and supported. We do this by implementing empathetic and compassionate communication techniques that I have developed based on my neuroscience and psychology studies.
The way your company contributes to humanity might look different. Just like finding your company’s uniqueness, you can find your contribution to humanity by asking yourself what your company does that makes the world a better place.
Ultimately, understand the client and customer experience fully to create those raving fans on the outside and to get word-of-mouth testimonials that validate your impact brand story.
4. Establish Credibility
As we reflect on the immense changes that Covid-19 brought to our industries, we have to wonder what the "new normal" will be. In a way, I believe embracing your impact brand story will help you establish credibility to navigate this new normal. Why? Think about how important empathy has been throughout the pandemic. I've observed many people who have needed it just to feel grounded amid the uncertainty.
I’ve been using empathy in my business for 15 years. Consumers and clients know they can count on my agency for empathy, and that drives my business, even during unprecedented times.
Your credibility might look different from mine, and that’s OK. As long as you’re being consistent with the impact brand story you’ve created, customers and clients will feel more comfortable relying on your company. And that’s what the impact brand story is all about.
Put It Into Practice
You probably have a lot figured out as a business owner, and you probably know your company’s strengths and weaknesses. Now, add this extra step: Use the impact brand model to establish your impact brand story and to bring your company to the next level.
Drop the good branding, and replace it with great branding instead.
If you're interested in learning more about building your brand, connect with me on LinkedIn for new content every day. Also, grab a copy of my best-selling book Conscious Communications for more inspiring content.