Behind every great brand there’s a story to tell. And if you think about it, it’s the story that attracts that brand’s customers more than the product or service. Especially in a competitive market.

Take Nike, for example. When you think of them, you don’t think of the most recent pair of shoes or running pants - you think of perseverance, athleticism and confidence. You think of the “swoosh”. Why? Because they’ve been carefully crafting their story (and keeping that story consistent) for years. And they have to - Nike’s got tons of competitors itching to take away market share.

For years, articles have been hailing the importance of storytelling in business. Not only does a good story attract customers, it also attracts the valuable talent that you need as your business scales up. In a world where data reins king, a good story (using that data) helps you stand out from the herd.

So how do you get started? After all, you probably don’t want to start off with, “Once upon a time….”

Establish your brand voice

We’re talking about your brand here. Are you educational? Movement makers? Or are you conversational? Do you ignite people or inspire people? This is critical because once you determine your voice, it’s difficult to change.

When putting thought in to this, think about who you are as a business owner. If you are the main face that your employees and customers see, your brand voice should match your professional style, while being interesting to your audience.

Know your audience

When crafting your story, you must identify the audience. Are you speaking to customers and or prospects? Are you speaking to your employees? Most importantly, are these people all hearing the same story?

It’s just as important that you’ve engaged your employees with strong internal communications - after all, they are typically on the front line and they can make or break the relationships with your customers.

Keep the brand story consistent

Earlier we talked about Nike. They inspire people through a feeling of accomplishment that comes with exercise. Their website, print ads, TV ads and social media all feed into the same story of motivation.

As you plan your marketing and business strategy, keep your audience in mind and weave all the elements of your story together. If your story doesn’t make sense across your different channels, you lose your audience.

Stay Fresh

Once you have all the above established, keep your story updated. There’s a lot of ways to do this. Maybe it’s blogging, participating in conferences or local events, or just coming up with new campaigns to promote your products or services.

You don’t need to do these things every day (and you probably shouldn’t), but if you are regularly telling your story with fresh new elements, you stand out to your customer and build brand equity.  After all, how often do running shoes really change?