Building a Community Starts with a Story

Why do we do what we do?

If you want to build a business, if you want to get to the gym a few more times a week, if you want your boss to notice when you do a good job – ask yourself, “Why?”

Maybe you say you want to build a business because you want to be successful. OK, but let’s dig deeper: Why?

Keep asking why, and you’ll find something very important. It’s all to feel a positive emotion or to avoid feeling a negative one. As logical as you might think you are, virtually everything you do has an emotional root.

And that’s what we’re here today to discuss: emotion.

With it, people will wait in line for hours to buy your newest and latest. Without it, you have to offer a bargain or be significantly better than the competition (and even those carrots don’t guarantee anything). So, it begs the question, how to you create emotion?

The answer is a story. What is a story?

It’s not catchy copy or a memorable jingle. Your brand’s story is your ability to communicate its values to people in a way that leaves them feeling more connected to it than before.

Discovering your values is equally straightforward and difficult. It too starts with asking the question, “Why?”

Why does you business do what it does? What does your business believe? Why does it believe that?

Chipotle could be just another burrito place. Yet, they aren’t. Instead of standing for something vague (like quality or value) or nothing at all (hey, we have burritos), Chipotle honed in on exactly what they believed in.

“Food with integrity” has been their mission since they opened their first store in 1993. They focused on environmental sustainability and responsible farming before that was the cool, fashionable thing to do. They did it because that’s what they were passionate about.

Quickly the story about Chipotle became clear: They were a socially conscious company, and wouldn’t you know – it seemed like their food tasted a little fresher and cleaner, too. Fast-forward to today, and that story has helped build the company expand to 1,500 locations.

So, how about it? Ask yourself the simple but difficult questions: What do you believe? What’s your story? What are your values? Why do you do what you do?

Talk to your customers by using feedback and conversational forms. What is their perception of your brand? Value both negative and positive reviews and treat them as an opportunity to improve your brand.

You may find it much easier to connect with people after you have those answers.