What’s your story? One of the most effective tools for building your personal brand is storytelling. The emotional connection it creates with your clients and leads is a marketing powerhouse. People often make decisions based on feelings and things that inspire them. Storytelling is the perfect platform to engage and move your audience.
One of the best business stories I can think of is that of Don Meij, CEO of Domino’s Pizza. Meij began his career in the pizza industry as a delivery driver for Silvio’s Dial-A-Pizza in the 1980s. From this humble post, he steadily worked his way up the ranks, and was promoted to general manager when Silvio’s acquired Domino’s Pizza in 1993. He then became a successful Domino’s franchisee, building a network of 17 stores, which he sold in 2001. In 2002, he became Domino’s CEO. He is, to this day, the face of Domino’s Pizza.
Meij’s story is so unique that people remember it. It’s part of his personal brand. People like to barrack for the underdog; it’s something most people can relate to and creates an emotional bond. You, too, can harness the power of storytelling to make an impact on your audience.
The first thing you need to do is understand your why. Why do you do what you do? As Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why, says – you need to feel inspired to inspire others. Understand your purpose and your passion. Then infuse that passion into your storytelling. Bring it to life so others can tap into it and feel energised by it.
Storytelling can give you a distinct advantage over your competitors. It can keep you front of mind and encourage your audience to act. But you must be strategic with your storytelling. Yamini Naidu and Gabrielle Dolan, authors of Hooked: How Leaders Can Engage and Inspire with Storytelling, emphasise that your stories must have a strong message. What is the purpose of your story? What is your call to action? What do you want people to walk away with and what do you want them to do?
You may be thinking you have no stories to tell. The truth is, you are full of stories – you just need to record them! Keep a journal. Write down your thoughts or create a folder on your desktop and add to it regularly. Think about the obstacles you’ve faced and turning points in your career. What stories will engage your audience’s hearts and minds so they’ll want to work with you?
So many entrepreneurs shy away from storytelling because they don’t want to be the centre of attention. I’m one of these people. It’s not in my nature to be in the spotlight all the time. But I understand that I need to put my reservations aside to make myself known. It’s part of my job. I also need to do it to inspire my clients and help them feel at ease doing their own presentations. When you have your own personal brand to build, you must learn to be comfortable with putting yourself and your “why” out there.