When you tell me your story, I’ll listen. If yours is a story I’m interested in, I’ll even pay attention. I’ll be touched by your heartwarming and inspirational posts on Facebook and laugh along to your delightful YouTube videos. I’ll notice when you have an ad campaign running and wonder which agency was responsible for the potential award winning creative. I’ll even speculate about how much money you spent on the campaign.

But this is only the one side of your story. And while I may appreciate your marketing smarts it won’t make me fall in love with you. My love and loyalty are conditional on how you make me feel.

Your story is made up of little dots that connect what you care about with what you say and how this translates itself into your interactions.

What do the people I trust say about you? How easy was it for me to find the information I needed on your website? Did you make it easy for me to opt in or out of your newsletter? Did your emails create value for me? How easy was it for me to understand your IVR menu? How long did you make me wait before you let me speak to a human? Did your support team have answers to my questions or solve my problems? Were they rude and ineffective? Or did they offer cookie cutter apologies in lieu of any real help? How did you make me feel when I walked into your store? Did you get my order right? Did you go that extra mile to accommodate a request I made? Is your team empowered to make the decisions that make this possible? How do you treat your team?

It’s an endless list.

It’s also a whole bunch of opportunities to connect the plot points in your story – little ways in which you can keep the promises you make.

It’s unfortunate how very few brands realise they have very little control over their stories. You can structure it, spin the narrative, but once it is out there in the world, your story belongs to Jane Consumer.

And here’s the thing – I want to fall in love. I’m just jaded by the fairy tales brands spin about themselves. So make it easy for me. BE THE STORY. Make sure the narrative holds up to scrutiny both within and outside your organisation. Otherwise, it’s just another grim fairy tale.

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