Telling your brand story

Branding , Design / August 07, 2017

This week I had the opportunity to lead a discussion on something that lies very dear to my heart. Storytelling. More specifically brand stories and how companies tell it to their customers. A few companies do it well, and it is no coincidence most of them are big players like Apple or Nike. A lot of startup companies are realizing having a good brand story is key to build customer rapport when the market is already saturated with competitors. Warby Parker. Tom's Shoes. The list goes on. Any lifestyle company has to do it well, or the hill to climb will be hard.

The evolution of tech companies is interesting to look at. Very few ever crosses into being a lifestyle company, with the exception of Apple. It used to be just having better equipment than the competition was enough. You offered more RAM and kilobytes than the guy down the street. But that is no longer the case. The cost of equipment is now a fraction of what it used to be. Design is incredibly becoming more important in technology, as the web is now an open platform for everyone. If you are a tech company you have to be user-friendly, have seamless onboarding, and great UX. People's patience has gone down while their expectations have gone up.

The challenge I have been thinking about over the past few months is how to build brand value in a commodity industry. Hosting is not sexy. Shared hosting has been around for decades, and considered a dinosaur product by many. It is not a lifestyle brand. So how to keep conversion up in an industry that is evolving? In the hosting industry, everyone has been racing to the bottom shouting the same features and benefits as the other guy. The added challenge is differentiating yourself when the talking points and price is the similar across the board. What dawned on me is the one thing other companies can't steal if your story.

Attempting to be all things to all the people, you end up being nothing to everybody.

~Raymond Fong (Growth Hacking)

It is usually the background of the company that captures me and entices me to work for them. I like knowing what a company's history and values are. It plays a large part of where I work now. DreamHost has a great story coming from pretty humble beginnings being founded in a college dorm-room. This is what brought me to lead that discussion to tell our brand story more authentically. It is a great differentiator, and can't be replicated.

After presenting the importance of telling our story authentically, we brainstormed ideas of how to go about it. We discussed the emotions we would like to resonate with our users. Some great ideas came out of the discussion, that we will implement as we move forward. It will be exciting to what the effect will be. You can see part of my presentation right here. A few slides have been taken out, but my intro to brand storytelling is all there.