Posted by: DrAlanRae | May 19, 2008

What’s your story? – Linking your values to the market

Your Brand encapsulates your promise to the market. Most of us are in business because we have a passion for something that reflects our values just as we described in the last chapter. However for us to land the brand, we need to be able to make that connection with our customers. This means making sure that our values and needs connect with theirs so that it’s easy to articulate and has a bearing on something real in their lives.

So the Plants 4 Presents brand encapsulates

Internet delivery

Beautiful Plants

Building a relationship with a friend or loved one.

I call this “What’s your Story”. Your story has to account for why you are doing this, and to explain what you do, why and why it’s good for the customer. Sometimes this can be quite simple. When we were piloting our Fletching Glasshouses business, I had to explain to Greengrocers why it was OK to deal with us – even though we clearly didn’t know what we were doing. I just explained that we had acquired the glasshouses as part of the expansion of another part of the business and we were looking to run a pilot to see if we could make use of the facilities in this way.

This established that we were serious business people rather than superannuated hippies ( which of course we are – but that’s another story) who could be trusted to give it their best shot and who would know how to contain the downside if it didn’t work out.

The point about a story is it has to sound authentic. Experience teaches that for most of us the only way to do that is to BE authentic.

But it needs to be expressed in a way that relates to how the customer thinks and his values. We’ve evolved a simple structure for dealing with this – much of it’s based on the work of Dudley Lynch and we use his BrainMap and MindMaker 6 Graves Spiral tools to help our clients obtain a working model which is deep enough to be satisfying but simple enough to be useful.

I use it in a workshop that helps people connect with their clients. We use a tool that looks like this.


I used this once with a firm of builders – they specialised in Scientific Buildings and high quality refurbishments of up-market flats. However they thought of themselves as “Just Builders”. It turned out that their key values and the customers coincided about “a competent job, done on time at a reasonable price with a reasonable way of doing business”.

This translated into “Traditional values in the modern world”. We have recently developed this approach into a full Branding and Vision workshop which covers both story development and the outlines of capturing image in shape, colour, sound and font.

This is second of 20 business stories – shortly to be published as an e-book.


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