This article is an excerpt from my new book, Founder Brand, which is available now on Amazon. This is just a little taste before you buy the full book 😉
The goal of marketing is to make sales easier. I say that because good marketing builds awareness, trust, and credibility—and having those things makes it much easier to sell your products and services to your dream customers when they need them.
Today, there are more ways than ever for businesses to do marketing. You can start a blog, a podcast, a newsletter, a YouTube channel, a Substack, a Patreon. You can be active on Twitter. And LinkedIn. And TikTok. You can speak at events. You can host events. You can do field marketing, channel marketing, and partner marketing.
There are literally dozens of ways to market your business today. But I’ve found one that is still overlooked and, most often, completely ignored.
It’s a marketing strategy that I used to help Drift become one of the fastest growing SaaS companies of all time and achieve over a billion-dollar valuation. It’s a marketing strategy that I used to help Privy get acquired by Attentive for nine figures.
What is this amazing marketing strategy? Creating a founder brand. And the first step to doing that is to create a framework for your founder story. If you have no idea where or how to start, don’t worry. I’ll walk you through the six questions you need to ask yourself to build your story.
The Power of Storytelling
Stories are passed down from generation to generation and spread throughout the world. Many of the most commonly recognized childhood fables even cross cultural and linguistic borders, such as the basic story of Cinderella appearing across the globe in a multitude of cultures.
Stories may be factual, such as The Diary of Anne Frank, or they may be completely fictional, such as “Rumpelstiltskin.” No matter what, though, they all have the purpose of teaching, inspiring, or entertaining us.
The same is true of the stories used in the building of great brands. We know the stories of founders such as Steve Jobs and how he co-founded Apple. That particular story was so gripping and engaging, it led to books and movies. But he’s not unique: anyone launching a business has a reason for doing it, and there is a story that can be shared.
The importance of storytelling for a founder building a brand cannot be overstated. In our noisy, busy, technological world, humans are spending more time with screens than with humans, and a story is a way to connect with other people, albeit virtually, at a deep, almost primal, emotional level. It is the quickest and easiest way to build relationships with a large audience and to make them feel empowered and connected to you and your brand.
Target Your Story to the Right Audience
The key to using storytelling in your brand is to know how to tell your story and target the delivery of the story to the correct audience—to the niche that wants the product or service your business provides.
To see the power of a story and the connection it makes with a potential audience, go on YouTube and search for Steve Jobs’s iPhone Keynote Address from 2007. In that example, as well as countless others, Steve Jobs showed that beyond everything else, he was a master of storytelling, and ultimately his role at Apple was to be the CSO, the Chief Storytelling Officer.
Follow the six-question framework, and you too will be the Chief Storytelling Officer of your company. You will be able to draw out your story and make it interesting and compelling. After all, the right story provides engaging content and context long before talking about any products or specs, and it works. Almost always, the founding story makes for great marketing content.
Why does the founder’s story matter? Because, as Erik Jacobson, the founder of Lemonpie, one of the top podcast production agencies for B2B brands today like HubSpot, Buffer, ConvertKit, and ProfitWell, says, “The founder is the person that people will resonate with the most.”
Frame Your Story by Answering 6 Questions
Your founder’s story goes beyond an elevator pitch. So, when you’re developing your story, you need to think about the whole story as it relates to your product. The founder is the leader of this movement, but the story must tie back to the company.
I’ve found answering these six questions to be a great framework for laying out the key ingredients in the company and founder story:
- What is the founder’s (your) backstory?
- What’s the problem your business exists to solve?
- Who’s the villain your customers are facing?
- What’s the solution that you offer?
- What are the benefits of using your product?
- What’s life like before and after using your product?
Simple questions, right? And yet, by answering them, the founder’s story becomes clear.
Bring Your Story to Life
What might this story look like in real life? Imagine a mother who was raising her kids, wanting to make sure they had the best nutrition. Day after day, the lack of healthy and tasty beverage options frustrated her.
Sugary drinks were everywhere, but her kids weren’t going to drink them. The solution was to develop her own line of healthy, yummy, kid-approved drinks that were easy to take anywhere. The benefits were clear: her kids were happy and healthy. Now, kids can be with their friends and have a great beverage option without destroying their health.
By answering those six questions, the founder’s story comes to life. As a result, other parents who are desperately searching for healthy, delicious drink options for their kids will instantly identify with the founder’s story—and her product.
So, take some time now to think about your own story. Answer these questions, dig deep into your own backstory, and before you know it, you’ll have created the foundation for your founder brand.
For more advice on creating your founder story, you can find Founder Brand on Amazon.