Craft a Powerful Brand Story

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Good afternoon. My name is Kadena Tate.  I am a revenue strategist for female entrepreneurs who can’t figure out how to create multiple streams of income. I help them get exactly what they want, which is more clients, more money, and more vacations.

Through my delightful global retreats, courage inducing blog posts, free challenges and on-demand classes, I’m here to  to show you how to create multiple streams of income — while making every step feel like a hallelujah good time.

And when I’m not helping you to find new customers and sell more to existing ones, you can find me indulging in spicy cajun food, reading a good book and the occasional Zumba dance class.

Welcome to “Craft a Powerful Brand Story”, the 2nd class in this free 5-day preview of my mastermind program called Creating Money.”

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Agenda

Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. Shame, guilt and embarrassment can stop you from telling the truth about how you handled challenging life + business experiences. Oddly, these are the very stories that will position your brand for success. Stories connect us and serve as reminders that you are not alone on this entrepreneurial journey.

It has been said that effective marketing is based upon understanding these two ideas:

Every customer is the hero/heroine of their own story. 

Every customer makes decisions that align with the story (or stories) they are telling themselves. 

Therefore, it is imperative that you learn how to tell a story in a manner that opens hearts and expands minds.

In this free masterclass, we'll discuss the importance of having a brand story that makes your company stand out from the crowd. As a recovering perfectionist, the best advice that I can give to you is to keep it simple. Trust me, you can do this with ease, integrity, clarity, brevity and authority.

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The Power of Story

Every story has 5 essential components: the characters, the setting, the plot, the conflict, and the resolution.

As it relates to our conversation today, the characters are your ideal clients, the setting is where they are located, the plot is the sequence of events taking place in their lives, the conflict stems from their visible or latent tolerations and the resolution is the story of how your business provides the answer to their need. Your story contains a message, big idea, or lesson that will assist them in living a fuller, richer, and more rewarding life.

We can look at films, books and tv shows and witness the power of story. Well told stories have the ability to influence and impact the thoughts, ideas, opinions and actions of your ideal client. Think about your favorite stories. I’m sure that these are the ones that opened up your heart and mind to new experiences. As a result, you see people and places in a different light. And that can be a powerful thing.

If you tell your brand’s story well, it can have a significant impact. If not, you will confuse your audience. I can tell you from first hand experience that confused minds do not buy.

Questions invite clarity. 

During the business model woman and buyer persona master-classes, I encouraged you to draw out a customer journey map that aligns with your buyer persona and content strategy. This is because you are tasked with telling stories from the point of where someone has never heard of you all the way down the road to when someone is a raving fan and they're telling their family and friends about you. 

It matters not whether your story is educational, entertaining or inspirational. What matters is that is is relevant the life and business of your ideal client. Every story will contain characters and events. Therefore, prior to writing your story, it is recommended that you understand their situation, their desired solution and how they define success.

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Questions invite clarity. Weave the answers to the following questions into your brand story: What does your company do? Why do you do it? What's your purpose? What do you stand for? What are the things that nobody agrees with you on? What do you feel deeply about? Why should a person come back to you and listen to you day after day, week after week, year after year? Who are these people? What are their joys? What are their pains? What are their tolerations? What are their latent desires? Which sin will they defend? Which sin will they judge harshly in another? What crisis prompted them to reach out to you? Which of your products, services, and/or programs is designed to address this issue? How does the client define success?

Interrupt the pattern of failure.

When you create products, services, and programs that solve problems, you are interrupting the pattern of failure. You see, a story happens because a pattern has been interrupted. This pattern may be a habitual, disempowering thought or action.

If you find yourself writing about “an ordinary day” in the life of your ideal client, you are NOT engaged in the art of storytelling. You are simply writing about their daily routine.

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Sounds simple enough, but it took me a moment to realize that in order for there to be a story, something has to happen. Whatever happens is the plot. The plot contains a sequence of events - both internal and external -where your ideal client perceives a threat to his/her well-being. The threat may be emotional, mental, financial, spiritual or physical in nature.

For example, your ideal client might be a mother who has a son. One day, her beloved son is killed by a drunk driver. Everything that she previously perceived as important is seen as trivial and of no consequence. Suddenly she can see that her point of power is in the present moment. She begins a self-care and meditative practice to assist in healing her grief. She also starts a group where she can talk to other grieving mothers. This group becomes known as Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. Next thing you know, together they are changing the conversation and helping to enact laws that keep all of us safe. You can do the same thing. What problem do you believe is calling you to lend a helping hand? How can you help another person interrupt the pattern of failure?

Your word is your wand.

Look at the media. Everyday we are bombarded with stories about rape, robbery and murder. You may find yourself tempted to argue with others about race, gender, sex, money, politics, and religion. I believe that this is a total waste of your life-force. My belief is that you are here to express and experience love and to heal and be healed. Be a leader and lead the way for others to do the same.

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The late Florence Scovel Shinn invites you to remember that your word is your wand. You can learn how to use your words in such a way that they educate, uplift, entertain, enlighten, empower, and encourage other people.

You can tell a story that will excite people to create massive, powerful change like Charity: water, a non-profit organization that provides drinking water to people in developing nations,  or you can repeat the actions of the mainstream media, which is to feed people’s subconscious fears. Either way, it is a choice. Everyday you will be presented with the opportunity to own and operate your business from a position of strength (love) or weakness (fear).

This is your moment.

There's this quote that says that in fiction, we find the predictable boring, and in life we find the unpredictable terrifying. 

Truth be told, the comfort zone keeps you small and insecure. Life’s adventures are yours to explore. What is stopping you from creating a life and business of your dreams? What beliefs and habits are you holding onto that require release?

You don’t need me to tell you that change is required for growth. You already know that the art of the start is what trips most of us up. I’ve discovered that resistance is a natural and normal reaction to change. The good news is that you can break free of self-imposed limitations and the projections and expectations of those around you.

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I’d like you to accept the call to live beyond your stories of worth and enoughness. You are enough and your people are waiting on you to stand up and step up. Remember that you are here to heal and be healed. You are also here to light the way for your clients to do the same.

Since the conversation for today is brand storytelling, the first action step is to pull out your buyer persona. Look across the landscape of their personal and professional life with empathy and compassion. Write 15-20 events in the life of your ideal client that were perceived as ruptures. A rupture might be an addiction, illness, injury, disease, heartbreak, divorce, death of a parent, spouse or child, etc.

Next, write out a story for each event. A writer friend taught me that this does not have to be written in chronological order. You can also write from the middle or the end. You can write from the lens of being a detective or you can pretend that your ideal client is having flashbacks. It does not matter, as long as your plot remains intact.

Remember that the plot is the sequence of events that landed them wherever they are right now. Why am I suggesting this course of action?

Compelling stories help your ideal client take the leap out of the comfort zone of predictable behavior (i.e. toxic beliefs, attitudes, and actions), and into the creative abyss. The creative abyss is an invitation to explore the possibilities of what it truly means to live your best life.

By the way, evidence that your story resonates is an increase in your email opt-ins, social media subscribers, purchase of your products, enrollments in your programs, etc.

Wisdom is a matter of both heart and mind.

My mother told me that a woman must listen carefully  because once her heart was open, her mind and body will follow. My father taught that one must be both academically intelligent (book smart) and emotionally intelligent (street smart). Applying their advice  to various life experiences taught me that your mind and heart are partners, but they do not speak the same language nor do they respond in the same manner.

You need look no farther than your own life for evidence that  intellect always finds a way to justify the longing of the heart. When the desire for a person, place, or thing is strong enough, people will move mountains to achieve the object/experience of their desire. This is why I completely relate to the late Roger Ebert’s assertion that “your intellect may be confused but your emotions will never lie to you.”

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Every successful brand story has a protagonist (hero/heroine/main character), who defines the plot and moves the story forward. He or she is either reacting or responding to the unpredictability of life.

Keep in mind that everyone has more than one life challenge at a time. One problem they may have no problem discussing publicly; the other problem is likely hidden. It may be unknown  or if they are aware of it, they do not discuss it because they feel guilt, shame and/or embarrassment.

Quick sidebar - Many of you hear what people say and also read in between the lines of what they don't say.  While working with clients, I’ve observed that the inner problem falls underneath one of the seven deadly sins: envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, sloth, and wrath.

For this reason, you are encouraged to listen very carefully to the desires and frustrations of your ideal client without judgment, critique, and projection.  This works in your favor when crafting your stories. Great brands weave this into their product, service, and program offerings. The way that they do this is leading with a client problem that is obvious; then following-up with the inner problem, one that the main character may not even know that he or she has at the start of the story.

Therefore you can craft stories from two different lens: a world in which we know or the one we do not know. Great stories take us into one of these two worlds and either show us something about the world we know (that we didn’t know before) or, take us into a world we do not know and show us something that we can use in our own lives to become better people.

People will make an investment in themselves through you if your story is vulnerable, transparent, credible, and authentic. Focus on telling the truth about who you are, the obstacles that you’ve overcome, and your willingness and ability to help someone in a similar situation. Price is a perception of value, so even if they “can’t afford it” they will use intellect to justify the emotional desire.

Money follows attention.

Even if you don’t like football, we can learn a thing or two about the power of story from Super Bowl ads. The great ones capture the ear, heart and mind of the customer by telling their brand story with clarity, brevity and authority.  Superbowl ads are a clear illustration of how money follows attention.

Another illustration is when an “ordinary guy or gal” has a large online following on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, ITunes, Twitter, etc.  Advertisers know that if they can get their products and services in front of their audience, sales will be made.

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And yet another illustration is The Handmaid's Tale, the best-selling novel by Margaret Atwood. Her story was adapted for television and is now in its’ third season.

What can you learn from these three approaches?

  • Visibility is required. You don’t have to be “everywhere”, you simply have to be where your ideal client can find you.

  • Be consistent with your messaging. Take the time to either break your story down into mini-webisodes, short stories or articles.

  • Tell a story that is holistic in nature. Give yourself permission to weave story elements of comedy, tragedy, rebirth/renewal, journey/return and rags to riches into your brand stories.

  • Before saying yes to an advertiser, ask yourself if their product or service will be of benefit to your audience. It must be a complimentary or companion offer or it will confuse your audience. Remember, confused minds do not buy.

  • Women have unique experiences and opinions that the world needs to hear.  Keep in mind “your presence matters and your story matters”. Be yourself - without apology.

As a result of infusing these approaches into your brand, you will discover an audience that wants to invest in your products, services and programs. You will also attract large brands that want to partner with you to get in front of your audience.

Sight follows sound.

Let me share a few quick examples of my point before I make it.

Perhaps you were watching a movie and a scene came on that was either scary, gross or violent in nature. Note that even if you close your eyes, you can still hear what is going on.

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Perhaps you are in another room and the tv is on. Someone says something that either makes you laugh or sounds so ridiculous that you have to go and “see” what is going on.

Perhaps you listen to podcasts or talk radio. You can “see” what is taking place in your mind’s eye.

Perhaps after a  friend tells you about a new movie, tv show, book, concert, recipe, store, etc., you find yourself investing in whatever they’ve recommended.

Before tv became popular, radio was the medium of choice. What’s hilarious is that on the internet, coaches, consultants and marketers were saying that everyone needs a YouTube channel; now they are saying that everyone needs a podcast.  

In each of the aforementioned examples, sight followed sound. Therefore, you are free to  select the medium that is aligned with your authentic personality. What you have to keep in mind is that consistency is required. It is not often that after watching a single video or listening to a single audio, that people rush to pull out their wallets.

Door of Opportunity.

It is tempting to say that you do not want or need to earn a million dollars.  Please recognize that this language reveals your focus is on self, not the client.  Profitability is a sign of a healthy business. Money is a tool that can be used to fund your for-profit and not-for profit endeavors. 

In 2002, when the movie “8 Mile” came out, I distinctly remember when the song “Lose Yourself” came on. The lyrics “Look. If you had One shot, Or one opportunity, To seize everything you ever wanted In one moment, Would you capture it, Or just let it slip?” caught me off guard. I burst into tears because I was so rooted in perfectionism that I couldn’t breathe. I bought the song on ITunes because it helped me to understand that like the concept of risk and reward in the world of investing, opportunity and security are inversely proportional. 

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Your comfort zone may feel safe and secure, however, entrepreneurship constantly invites you to open wide the doors of opportunity. 

Please understand that your story is similar to the Bat signal. When someone hears and connects to your story, they will Google you, visit your website, and follow you on various social media channels.  

If you truly want to make a positive difference in the community in which you live, work and serve, why would you stop me from making an investment in your books, audio and video products, and/or from attending your online and offline events? That doesn’t make a bit of sense to me. 

Today is a great day to ask yourself the same question that Eminem asked in the movie: 

“Look

If you had

One shot

Or one opportunity

To seize everything you ever wanted

In one moment

Would you capture it

Or just let it slip?” - “Lose Yourself” by Eminem

Expand your paradigm of possibility.

Before my first business failed, my imagination took me to places no one should go. During my waking hours, I literally imagined every worse case scenario known to man. Then at night, I dreamed of even worse case scenarios. My thinking was toxic and my actions followed suit. One bad decision after another because I was in desperation energy.  I did not feel seen, heard, or understood. I tied my self-worth to my net worth and my confidence took the hit. It is no surprise that my actions mirrored those of someone who felt small and insignificant. 

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You are encouraged to replace the time spent imaging worse case scenarios with the habit of expanding your paradigm of possibility. See your dreams coming true. Imagine a waitlist of clients excited to work with you. Imagine your bank account with enough money to help yourself and others with ease. Imagine yourself surrounded by people who love, value, respect and appreciate you. Imagine yourself living the life of your dreams. Imagine yourself going to sleep with a smile on your face. Imagine the best and soon it will be a reality.

My finances did not turn around until I shared my story in front of an audience of 60 men. With a shaky voice, I shared the actions and habits that led me spiraling into bankruptcy and foreclosure. I was shocked to discover that my willingness to be transparent, vulnerable and truthful would catapult me out of debt and into my destiny.  That was the day that I realized that your mess is your message, and that everyone loves stories of transformation.

Lauren Bacall said, “Imagination is the highest kite we can fly.” This is a beautiful reminder that our stories have the ability to elevate and uplift ourselves and others. They can walk away feeling like giants, totally inspired to move beyond perceived limitations. This sweet friends, is the true path to prosperity.

 

Summary

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Your brand story must enter the world of your ideal client. Speak directly to their wants, needs, and desires. Soothe their anxieties and fears.   Connect to their values, hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Be loud and proud about the value that you bring.

In order to connect to their values, they must be your values, or you are not in integrity. What do you believe in? What are willing to fight for? What are their tolerations? What are things that you previously tolerated that you’ve overcome? How did you rise out of over giving, under earning, addiction, promiscuity, etc.? 

Write a frequently answered questions page for your offers. Write copy that says “This is for you if ____.” “This is NOT for you if ____.” One thing that I know for certain is that you cannot be all things to all people. Don’t try to be everyone’s friend. It is ok if you alienate some people. Everyone is NOT your ideal client.

Questions and Answers

I’m opening up the call for questions at this time. Please feel free to ask me whatever you like.

I have a small YouTube channel now, but in order to be more visible, get into more places and leave a bigger impact, shouldn't I also add audio?

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I am not going to “should” all over you. The reality is that both paths will lead you into a deeper appreciation of your power, voice and wisdom. The short answer is to consider personality and preference. Which one aligns with your personality? Where are your ideal clients congregating in large numbers? Are they binge watching YouTube videos or binge-listening to iTunes podcasts? The last thing you want to do is spread yourself too thin. Every social media channel has their own rules and best practices. It is important to keep in mind that social media is one aspect of marketing, it is not the whole kit and caboodle.

No one is watching my YouTube channel and I have hundreds of videos. What should I do?

Sometimes we are telling a story that the ideal client finds irrelevant. Other times, we lack a clear and compelling headline or title. If this is the case, my recommendation is to clean up your video titles. Please keep in mind that you are not the same person that you were several years ago, and it is never too late to restart and reset the conversation.

How often should I be blogging?

From a visibility perspective, consider blogging once or twice a week.

Once on your website and once as a guest blogger on a popular blog.

How do you deal with negative comments on videos?

I don’t. The late Wayne Dyer said “If you are looking for reasons to be offended, you’ll find them.” That set me free. People are entitled to their opinions, even the ones that don’t make a bit of sense.

I notice that you mentioned telling the truth quite a few times. Why?

I’ve observed that in the online world, we like to present ourselves as living “perfect” lives. I’m definitely an advocate of positive language, however I also believe that people are either in a challenge, just got out of a challenge or entering a challenge and they need support.

If you do not tell the truth about the challenges you’ve faced, you cannot help the people sitting in their homes feeling emotionally, physically and financially depleted, depressed, broken-hearted, and lonely. Your story has the capability to usher them into a belief that they too, can rise above life’s challenges.

Take for example, the first time I ever spoke at the National Association of Women Business Owners and confessed that for many years, my name was in every single box fo my organizational chart. I told them about the struggles of spinning in and out of people pleasing, perfectionism and proving energies. As a result, I picked up over 30 new clients who kept saying “I love that you’re a truth teller.” This was definitely a surprise to me.

What if I don’t have a powerful story? Should I make one up or borrow someone elses?

You are not alone in this belief. The truth is that everyone has a powerful story to tell. What are some of the things that you’ve leaned about health, love, wealth, creativity, and spirituality? There is wisdom to be gleaned from sharing your upbringing, and the lessons learned from your life experiences. I wrote an article many years ago called “100 Questions for Business Creativity,” and I know that answering a couple of things will unleash the writer within.

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Closing

Ladies, I appreciate your time and attention. My business exists because I believe that women are the most untapped resource in the world.  I am committed to helping women productize and monetize her expertise so that we can all live fuller, richer and more rewarding lives. 

Thank you in advance for sharing this video and transcript with a woman who wants to grow herself and her business. See you tomorrow for the conversation “Business Model Woman Masterclass.