A Musk deer once came across a heavenly scent in the air. The smell was so pleasant… so powerful, that she couldn’t stop searching for the source of this aroma. She searched for the source everywhere, mountains and rivers… deserts and forests, but she just couldn’t find it.
Finally, the musk deer collapsed with fatigue. And during her dying moments, she realized that scent was coming from her own naval. The source that she was searching for, was within her all along.
I knew the answer, but I couldn’t see it
I had an itch to scratch. I have been wanting to do some work in Marketing, but I was really struggling to crystallize my ideas into something meaningful… something concrete.
‘What is my story?’ I kept asking myself. But the answer wouldn’t come.
And then Seth Godin happened
Seth Godin gives advice on publishing a daily blog. According to him, publishing every day clarifies your thought process.
A lot of my heroes write every day. Jonathan Stark has a daily email practise as well. Andre Chaperon (TinyLittleBusinesses) writes every day and so does Sean Dsouza (Psychotactics).
Honestly, I wasn’t so sure about publishing daily. But I kept my doubts at bay and took the plunge.
My daily writing and publishing journey had begun.
I had no clue what to write about
When I started, the only thing that I knew was that my focus would be – Marketing. But beyond that, I had no visibility whatsoever. Despite this lack of clarity, some invisible force was pushing me to participate in this dance. And so I wrote. And then I wrote some more. I started publishing daily on my blog and on Linkedin.
I wrote about what frustrated me… I wrote about what made me angry. I wrote about the change that I wanted to see in the world.
Slowly, a pattern had emerged
After writing hundreds of short articles, I started seeing a pattern. There were a few ideas that kept repeating themselves. These are the principles that I truly believe in –
– Offering value before money exchanges hands
– Relationships >>> Transactions
– Creating remarkability so that the word spreads from person to person
– Have a polarizing brand story that attracts a few, but repels most people
– Focusing on a tiny audience
– Creating deep transformational content, instead of small pieces of shallow content
I felt I had made some progress. Or had I?
What was the ‘thing’ tho?
Despite this progress, I still had not been able to figure out the core idea that embodied my brand. I was craving for a sentence or a phrase that clearly communicated what I stood for.
As I looked at creators like Jay Acunzo and Louis Grenier, I felt jealous.
Jay Acunzo for example says on his website– “Don’t market more. Matter more.”
What a beautiful sentence! Just 5 words. And yet they convey so much.
How could I arrive at such an amazing expression?
The framework for building a brand story
In one of his blog posts, Jay Acunzo talks about a framework that we can use to build our story.
– Status quo
The status quo is the current state of things. This is how things are today.
The obstacle is the difficulty that is disturbing the status quo.
The resolution is overcoming this obstacle.
Jay is a Creator who helps other creators and Marketers make a difference. And this is how Jay Acunzo uses this framework to tell his brand story.
Status Quo: As makers and marketers, we want our audience’s attention, and so for years, we focused our efforts on acquiring it.
Conflict: But today, thanks to multiple screens, ubiquitous and instantly accessible content, and endless choice in nearly every competitive niche, the buyer now has total control. They only choose experiences they genuinely enjoy. It is no longer enough for us to simply acquire our audience’s attention.
Resolution: We need to hold it. That is our new mandate as makers and marketers. We need to shift our focus from impressions and traffic to subscribers and community. Everything we are trying to achieve becomes possible and gets easier when our audience spends minutes or even hours with us, not seconds. Don’t just acquire attention. Hold it.
Pretty cool, right?
I started playing with this framework
While this framework is nice, I still had no clue about taking this ahead. I had a few ideas scattered here and there, but I couldn’t figure out a common story that would stitch all these ideas together. The confusion persisted.
After multiple iterations, I finally arrived at this –
Status quo – As creators, we want to build an audience.
Tension – But we focus on spamming the masses, building complex funnels and treating them like numbers on an excel sheet. We create shallow content and selfishly grab their email ids. And instead of aiming for ‘affinity’, we keep on focussing on getting more awareness. (Hustle Marketing)
Resolution – Instead of focussing on the width, we can focus on the depth. We can build deep meaningful relationships with our 1000 true fans. (Deep Marketing)
MY BRAND STORY WAS READY!
Will the story change?
Of course, this will evolve with time. Nothing is ever etched in stone. As I gather more experiences, talk to more creators and create more work, its highly likely that my brand story will evolve. And that is okay. For now, this is what I plan to run with.
Don’t be the Musk deer
You already know your brand story. You already know what you want to be known for and the kind of work that you want to do. You just need to write. A lot. Even if you don’t know what to write about.