To tell other brands’ stories, you need to get good at telling your own.
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
When businesses hire an advertising agency or marketing firm, they do it because they want results. The more successful your current clients are as a result of your efforts, the more likely you’ll be to sign new clients based on the strength of your work. While that may sound simple, you know from experience just how much work has to go into crafting successful marketing campaigns.
Of course, to even get that far your agency will have to be able to market itself. You build your brand based on the work that you do for clients, and it’s up to you to decide how that work is presented. If you want to bring in new business, you need to get great at telling your own brand story. Here are a few strategies to do it.
1. Define your target audience.
The very first thing you should do to improve your brand story is deciding exactly who you want to tell it to. While you may take on clients from a number of different industries, it’s difficult to refine your image and improve your brand story without a specific target.
This may limit your appeal in some sectors, but the increased business from your target audience should more than make up for it. Remember, the riches are in the niches!
This target can be as broad or as narrow as you like, but it should define your preferred clientele fairly well. Think about the various types of clients your agency has worked with and which ones you have enjoyed working with the most. Use this to narrow your focus to certain industries, making adjustments to your target description until you have a fairly solid definition of your ideal clients. Once you have a concrete target demographic in mind, you’ll be able to craft your brand story to better appeal to them.
2. What does your audience care about?
If you know who your target audience is, refine your brand story by focusing on the things your audience cares about. If your target is heavily invested in manufacturing, build your brand story about how you can increase product placements and order size. If you’re focused on human resources or worker placement, build up your successes in increasing the popularity of staffing firms. Whether it’s the hospitality industry, hotels or hog farmers, shape your message and your story around the things that will best appeal to those within your key demographic.
3. Appeal to your audience’s motion.
Which is more interesting: a story someone tells about their first pet or a story someone tells about three hours of crunching numbers to locate a missing dollar in the books?
Related: How to Create a Marketing Plan
Unless you have a semi-obsessive fascination with accounting, you likely picked the first option. If you want to really appeal to your target audience, make an appeal to emotion instead of (or alongside) an appeal to logic. Here are some ways you might do that:
Tell a joke, or at least use content that has a bit of humor to it.
Focus on success stories, especially if they involve success against all odds. Everyone loves an underdog!
Treat your brand story like an actual story, drawing in potential clients the way an author would draw in a reader with prose instead of a deluge of facts and figures.
Use unconventional, happy imagery in and around your brand information to make your agency and its employees more relatable; add pets or other unexpected factors to the mix if possible.
Keep in mind that these are just examples; you don’t have to check off all (or even any) of these suggestions to make an emotional appeal. The goal is to make your agency more human and relatable to the decision-makers at your potential clients. What do you think is fun and interesting about your workplace? There is a good chance others will find the same things fun and interesting, too.
Related: Need a Business Idea? Here Are 55.
4. Hone your message.
Learn from your successes as well as your failures. Don’t be afraid to ask new clients (and even old ones) about what attracted them to your agency. Find out what really worked for you, what didn’t, and how you can finetune your brand story to draw in even more of your target audience. You don’t have to make big changes or shift your direction with each new client, but be willing to take constructive criticism and make small adjustments as you move forward.
That’s probably one of the biggest keys to telling a better brand story: Realize that you’ll never tell the “best” brand story, no matter how many changes you make. There will always be room for improvement, and you’ll learn new things from every client your agency takes on. Hopefully, you’ll learn enough to get as close to the best version of your agency as you can get.