I don’t really think I have to say anything more than Cinderella and we are on the same page. Regardless of which interpretation you choose to go with (be that Grimm or Disney), the common association is the glass slipper. That shoe that ultimately changed her life. But you see, that’s where I have to politely disagree.
In my mind, the absence of a direct support system for Cinderella was the ripple. That’s how the stepmother and evil stepsisters came into play–which then led to the fairy godmother, the enamored prince, wedding, etc.
How does this tale possibly play into your business and/or personal brand? Well, what do you consider the beginning of your business’ story? Is it the moment you came up with your concept? The moment you started offering your product or service? Perhaps it’s the moment you received your first bit of press.
I say your story begins that exact second the problem you’re trying to solve was created. Someone had an issue and didn’t know what to do. Without a solution available, they continued to struggle. One person became two. Two people became twenty. Twenty people became thousands and suddenly it came to your attention down the line. The difference was that you also started to ask, “What can I do?” Soon, your question became a challenge, and in turn, a business.
Why can it be useful to look at your story this way? Because you now have a personal history that is also relatable. It’s not just you standing on a soap box saying, “I have a solution to our problem.” It’s the chance to say, “We’ve been dealing with this problem for years without a solution. Do you remember when it first started?” You highlight specific examples and build what a call your “library of stories.”
That’s an instant community because you’re creating a two-way communication channel from the beginning. It’s not just tossing out current promos, the next big event, etc. It hits on the transparency that’s a hot issue right now, but not in an unethical way. You aren’t lying or putting actors in to put a positive spin on the business. You are just telling your own story. There’s no lie involved.
This is a tradition that started well beyond yourself and continues on to the customers who don’t yet know your paths will cross or even the businesses that will surface to take your work another step forward. You can then translate this across platforms in unique ways. Especially with today’s technology, there are numerous pop culture franchises making great use of this.
So as you move forward with your business—regardless of how long you’ve been established—focus on the support instead of the shoe. This also goes for establishing a strong personal brand. Curious as to how you can do this today? I’ll see you at the @Midwest conference this September to share some easy ideas.