How Your Up & Coming Business Can Successfully Compete with Global Brands by
Boosting Authenticity & Building Trust
Let’s face it…. We all love a tidbit of gossip or a morsel of celebrity scandal. We browse and click our mobile devices for our weekly (or daily!) fix of showbiz failures and successes.
In fact, in recent years, mainstream media outlets have become so conscious of our appetite for celeb outbursts, break-ups, meltdowns and bust-ups that such incidents often emerge as ‘real’ news stories, alongside headlines about the latest international political conflict or natural disaster.
But don’t worry – our hunger for sensationalist news doesn’t mean we’re bad people. The psychologists have literally let us off the hook on this one: apparently, it all comes down to human nature. Our thirst for celebrity gossip serves a basic need for information about how others lead their lives.
Real life drama….
Put simply, we’re often fascinated, not only by the scandals themselves, but how celebrities deal with the outrageous set-backs and challenges they sometimes face. How do they navigate awkward social situations? How do they restart their career or love life when things go horribly awry?
It turns out we all love a captivating story – particularly a real life drama!
The good, the bad and the ugly….
So, how on earth does this relate to growing your small business, you may ask…?
Well, here at The Dirty Apron & Co. we believe there’s an important lesson to be learned from the general public’s thirst for juicy stories. We also believe there’s nothing wrong with revealing the good, the bad and the ugly in relation to your business. After all, real businesses (as opposed to large faceless multinationals) are run by real people who frequently make real mistakes.
Remember, no matter how prepared you are to launch a new business there are going to obstacles and set-backs along the way. Why pretend that everything has been 100% easy-peasy…? Why not get real and be authentic by sharing the warts and all version of your brand story? This is the human interest side of your business that may fascinate your customers more than your realise. In this way, it’s akin to celebrity gossip – you’re sharing the unedited, un-sanitised version of your career history.
So, maybe you didn’t ace your way through university. In fact, maybe you packed it in, dropped out and went back-packing across Asia and Europe with the boyfriend/girlfriend your parents always claimed was a very disruptive influence. But maybe this reckless approach wasn’t such a bad thing in the end.
Did your drop-out uni love end up becoming your business partner in a successful food business venture? Or did you discover your passion for exotic foods while travelling to far off lands?
When it comes to your business back-story, we say: share, share, share! The tales of the ups and downs of life are normally far more interesting and engaging than hearing about the smooth-sailing of a straight-A student with the 100% perfect educational and career backstory.
Getting close to your customers….
At The Dirty Apron & Co., we frequently remind you of the importance of creating customer avatars (NOTE: if you want to find out more, watch this space for our upcoming ‘customer avatar’ feature!). Interestingly, one method of accurately capturing your customer avatar, is to truly get to know and to get close to your customer base.
And, the best way to do this…? We maintain that honesty and authenticity are key to nurturing the very best customer-brand relationships. For example, if you’ve ever shared a cuppa or a glass of wine with a friend you’ve just recently met, you may have found that sharing a little-known or unexpected fact about yourself can do wonders for the bonding process.
It can be amazing how letting your new friend get an insight into your past achievements, your regretful mistakes and your future hopes or fears can create a newly-established bond that regular weather-based chit chat could never achieve!
The same goes for communication with you customers; while no one likes an over-sharer (yes, some details are best kept to yourself!), revealing nuggets of info that uncover the ‘real you’ or the ‘real brand’ behind your business will certainly help you further brand engagement among your customer base. This, in turn, will promote trust and create even stronger brand loyalty.
Time to Get Real…
So, ready to start drafting your brand story? We’d like to share our Dirty Apron & Co. five top tips for getting real with your customers:
1. Be Truthful:
Even though we’ve been emphasising the importance of a great back-story, we don’t expect you to deliver an impressive brand narrative at the expense of truthfulness! Don’t create an exaggerated just because you think it’s what your audience wants to hear. So, don’t fake it! Telling fibs won’t do you any favours in terms of cementing all-important trust.
2. Let Your Customer Be The Hero: Remember to make your customer the hero of the story.
Of course, your brand story should explain the evolution of your brand from a personal or insider perspective. However, that doesn’t mean that your target customer can’t play a starring role! Customers unconsciously seek out products that can make their lives better; therefore, it’s helpful to focus on a brand story that illustrates how your business solves a problem they may have.
If you can put your customer base at the centre of your brand back story (How are you helping your customer? What problem are you solving?) then you’re well on your way to driving engagement and boosting sales.
3. Avoid Stock Photography:
Stock photography certainly has its place, but when you’re trying to strengthen the authenticity of your brand it’s normally best to give stock photos a miss.
Get out your smartphone or digital camera and start taking behind the scenes photos and videos of yourself and your team. Even if your own material isn’t top quality, don’t worry – the raw feel of your pics and vids will give them a ‘documentary’ feel!
4. Aim for ‘Relatable’:
Perhaps the events in your personal or professional background that led up to the establishment of your business weren’t particularly glamorous or particularly outstanding. Allow that to work as a positive – build a stronger connection with your customer base by outlining obstacles, challenges and achievements that any of us could relate to.
Maybe your brand story will never be exciting enough to inspire a big budget movie or a major book deal about your journey to success. But that’s okay… When it comes to making buying decisions, people tend to make purchases based on feelings first and facts second. Your honest, ‘everyday’ experiences will help you connect with your audience in a way that larger corporations will never be able to achieve.
5. Evoke Emotion:
Connected to the point above, we’d also urge you to pack your unique brand story with an element of emotional force.
Again, this is all about connecting with your audience. You need a story that resonates with your customers and that doesn’t go unnoticed – there’s no point revealing your carefully thought out brand story if it’s going to be easily forgotten within a few hours.
For a more memorable brand narrative, think about how story elements such as hope, inspiration, disappointment, false starts, persistence and strongly-held ambition can be woven into your storyline.
With so many food brands to compete with, how will your products resonate with your customers? How will your brand stand out on the shelves?
Story-telling & Social Media:
In conclusion, here’s some final helpful advice for those of you who want to kick-start the story-telling process via your social media accounts:
Your brand story should literally flow through everything you do to promote your business; you should have a short form and a long form version of your ‘story’ for the following:
‘About us’ statements on your social media platforms
The ‘About us’ section on your website
Your verbal intro statement when meeting someone, i.e. ‘your elevator pitch’
Your daily calendar of social media posts. For example, if you’re using our clever 2019 Social Media Menu, you should, where appropriate, attempt to customise posts so that they subtly incorporate your brand narrative.
Reminder: We have designed especially for foodies a full 12 month calendar of content (each day of the month with a suggested post!) which features:
20 food-related quotes
20 inspirational/fun quotes
40 national food days, e.g. world chocolate Day
12 celebrated holidays to put on your menu
30+ posts curated for customer engagement
for more information on The Dirty Apron & Co 12 month content creation menu designed specifically for food businesses.
In addition, your short or long version brand story should:
Connect to what you write in social media posts
Permeate to and from your personal brand e.g. if you’re speaking at industry events or being profiled as part of a media interview/newspaper feature, try to reference your brand story where possible.
Feature in your product packaging and other marketing materials
Remember: Every real-life and social media interaction counts; every interaction should contribute towards bringing your brand story to life. Keep connecting with your customer and client base and continue maintaining customer engagement at every opportunity.
With a smidgen of imagination and a dash of creativity you’ll quickly find that competing with the larger mainstream brands is not as insurmountable a task as you may have first expected!!
Keep it real!
If you have any questions, make sure to ask inside my Facebook group, Bite-sized Marketing Morsels with The Dirty Apron & Co. This is one of my favourite places to hang out! On this sounding board, I get personal and raw while introducing you to other food industry movers-and-shakers, bringing mini-trainings right to your feed for delicious results.
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OWNER - THE DIRTY APRON & CO.
The Dirty Apron & Co. is a one-stop shop that turns delicious dreams into reality. Rachel and her team are specialists in food marketing for retail or wholesale food businesses, cafes, restaurants and caterers.
They are passionate about all
things food, and have the know- how, experience and industry contacts to help new food businesses get started.