You sit stuck in one of two groups initially:
1.) You either have no idea what your brand story is, besides some seemingly unrelated fragments of experiences, events, and ideas that clash inside your brain and bubble up at random while singing along with Drake on SNL (you DO know who DRAKE is, don’t you?).
2.) Or you are crystal clear on every last conversation, thought, aha moment, and event in your brand’s history as well as those of your 62 year old parrot and your manicurist, and you wish, oh how you wish!, you had more time and space to spew every last drop to anyone who will listen (or appear to).
Both are equally difficult to overcome and equally ineffective when trying to connect with your health organization’s audience.
As a writer who has read manuscripts, edited page upon page, and been riveted by the stories of everyone from the cab driver who rushed me from the train station to the near north side to my most crazy (and I say that oh-so-lovingly) friends, I can tell you that everyone… and I say everyone… struggles to tell their story.
Brand stories are no different, in fact, I find that many people wrangle all the more with brand stories because they feel that elephantine burden that, yes unlike your journal, your brand story will be read by others…many if you are very, very lucky and strategic!
Here are 4 things to keep in mind:
1. Yes, it’s important that your story connect with your audience, but it’s far more important to get real within your storytelling message. Don’t write the health brand story you think your audience wants to hear, write your brand’s real, truthful story and your health audience will come.
2. Get out of your head and into your gut. Too many time I find that people spend way to0 much time saying: well this is how it really happened, this is the order of events, and they feel that every last bit has to go into the final story. She said this. He did that. On June 13, 2003, this was the day I decided that I could no longer use whitening toothpaste; it was far to hard on my sensitive gums. The true beauty of storytelling is not simply reporting each fact, but finding a way to get to the gut of what is moving, stirring, inspiring. And, hey, guess what? You’ve got to figure out what parts of your health brand’s story knocks the wind out of YOU, or you won’t ever leave your audience breathless.
3. I say this, but I also want you to let it all out. Brain dump your story, every last ugly, vague, cheesy bit of it. There is a place for this; it’s in the initial stages of telling the story to your computer, your napkin, your friend. Too many people, in all forms of writing, edit as they write. I say, take pleasure in telling every aspect, every truth, every lie without any mind to if it’s good or bad, right or wrong. There is always time to whittle away, cut to the core, excavate the gem that lies in the scribbles. You’ll never find it unless your willing to dig through the loam.
4. But when it comes time to edit, be merciless. Read it again and again. Listen to your inner BS detector. Feel the vibration that travels up from your toes and straight out through the ends of your dry, damaged hairs when you’ve hit the sweet spot…and ask yourself if your health business is living up, really living up to your brand’s true story.
I LOVE a good story; don’t you? Yeah? So does your audience.
What’s your favorite story? Film? Book? Poem? Or personal journey?
Mine…? I love American Beauty, House on Mango Street. I’ll take any poem by my good friend and Faulkner Prize Winner, Emily Lupita Plum, and personal journey? I’ll take mine at the moment and all that lend the parallel narrative and back story to it. So grateful.