What’s Your Story? 3 Books That Will Help You Find Your Brand’s Heartbeat

This is a guest post by Xhannon Fox, from the website MinuteMarketing. You can find the original post here.

Whether you’re developing your personal brand or selling a product or experience, you need to get in touch with your story. With so many options out there, people don’t just buy because of what you’re selling, they buy from you because of YOU.

Think of all the companies that have recently been embroiled in controversy, not because of their products, but because of a stance they took that didn’t resonate with their consumer base. Chik-fil-A and CEO Dan T. Cathy’s opposition to same-sex marriage. The #DeleteUber campaign that happened with Uber appeared to send drivers to JFK airport during a taxi driver strike against President Trump’s Travel Ban. Chik-fil-A’s fried chicken sandwiches may be delicious, but they’re not the only game in town. Uber may be convenient, but they’re far from the only ride-share company available. While neither company suffered insurmountable losses on the business scale, the resulting PR nightmares were the direct result of the new marketplace where consumers care more about your story and image than they do about your product.

But how do you become a company like Apple or Disney, whose story is something consumers believe in so much, they practically buy every product and experience the company puts out without question? How do you achieve a level of consumer loyalty that borders on fanaticism?

You get really clear on your story and your why.

What makes you you? Why should consumers choose your brand over a competitor? Why should they work with you? Why should they buy your products? Why should they choose the experiences you’re offering?

If you’re struggling with any of the above questions or aren’t sure how to deliver a compelling narrative about your company, I’ve compiled a list of three excellent books that will help you on your way to discovering the heartbeat of your story!

Book - The Storyteller's Secret

1) The Storyteller’s Secret: How the World’s Most Inspiring Leaders Turn Their Passion Into Performance by Carmine Gallo

From the publisher: In The Storyteller’s Secret, Gallo explains why the brain is hardwired to love stories – especially rags-to-riches stories – and how the latest science can help you craft a persuasive narrative that wins hearts and minds. “The art of storytelling can be used to drive change,” says billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson. And since the next decade will see the most change our civilization has ever known, your story will radically transform your business, your life, and the lives of those you touch. Ideas that catch on are wrapped in story. Your story can change the world. Isn’t it time you shared yours?

Quick Take: I love that this book has tons of concrete examples of people whose stories you can research for yourself. It also has lots of great tidbits to help you in crafting your story and inspiring you to think differently. (Full Book Review Forthcoming)

Start with why

2) Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

From the publisher: Sinek starts with a fundamental question: Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike? Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their success over and over?

People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers had little in common, but they all started with WHY. They realized that people won’t truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the WHY behind it.

START WITH WHY shows that the leaders who’ve had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way — and it’s the opposite of what everyone else does. Sinek calls this powerful idea The Golden Circle, and it provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with WHY.

Quick Take: Sinek takes a slightly different take than Gallo on the topic of story, focusing instead on how great leaders used their why as a way to inspire others to take action. Sinek’s TED Talk is one of the most popular TED Talks ever – you can watch it here. (Full Book Review Forthcoming)

Chasing Relevance by Dan Negroni

3) Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage, and Maximize next-Generation Leaders in the Workplace by Dan Negroni

From the Publisher: There are more than 83 million millennials in the United States, representing 36% of our workforce. By 2025, that number will grow to 75%. If millennials are not your employees yet, they will be soon-as well as your biggest customers. Our ability to attract, train, manage and retain this next generation of leaders is critical to the future success of our businesses. But a huge and damaging connection, communication, and understanding gap exists between non-millennials and millennials in our workplaces. Why? Because millennials are not a problem that needs to be fixed, they are an opportunity that needs to be embraced. We must all find relevance in bridging the gap to create next-generation leaders in all of us by: – creating powerful, authentic relationships – promoting behavior that creates a culture of openness, delivering value and shared purpose – teaching real-deal skills and increasing individual accountability to drive sustained results

That’s what Chasing Relevance is about: being better leaders by guiding those millennials and letting them guide us, having everyone be their best self by caring enough to connect. The choice is clear: we need to care more about millennials by pushing ourselves to be better leaders, coaches, and mentors. Because we love them, we need them and we want them to succeed. It’s time to stop chasing relevance and make it happen.

Quick Take: On the face of it, this book might not seem like it belongs on this list. But Part 1 is a gold mine for anyone looking to get in touch with and deliver their story in a powerful way. The questions that are clearly laid out for you to ask yourself will really help you discover your story and what sets you apart. Plus, part 2 is all about bridging the gap between generations…something almost all businesses struggle with. (Full Book Review Forthcoming)

So what’s your story? What makes your company or your brand unique?

Employee vs. Entrepreneur: 4 Great Ideas to Foster Millennial Entrepreneurs Within Your Company Today

The American Dream was much different just a few decades ago. People wanted the good life: a big house with a nice yard, a shiny car, a family, luxuries, and rising to the top of the corporate ladder.

In 2017, things have changed.

Millennials (who will make up half the work force in the next three years) value independence over a corner office in an executive suite. Nine out of ten millennials say professional development and career growth is important in a job. However, to Generation Y/the Millennial, the appeal toward entrepreneurship is most attractive.

Almost two-thirds of millennials want to start their own business. Growing up seeing their parents and relatives getting fired, along with viewing cubicle life as boring, millennials see entrepreneurship as the answer to a stimulating career, a solid work life balance, professional growth, and independence. This begs the question:

Is working for the big man and a big company contradictory to millennial’s path to success if their ultimate desire is to be entrepreneurs?

All across the career board, you can see a pattern occurring. Millennials who work as trainers at a gym want to break off and get clients on their own and start their personal brand. IT consultants are wondering if they should continue working within a company, or offer freelancing consulting. Nutritionists and health coaches desire to become their own boss with their own clients and personal practice.

As a manager, this change can either be seen as a problem or as an opportunity. You can either think, Millennials are just going to stay for 3 months and leave my company. They are unloyal and not worth even training. Plus, they are ignorant about how difficult it is to start a company.

Or…

You can see this major industry shift as a HUGE opportunity and ask, How can I encourage entrepreneurial behavior within the company?

While the idea of entrepreneurship is sexy to millennials, the reality is starting a business is no easy task. This is where managers can thrive and become the rock star leaders that millennials need.

As a manager, you can play a key role in coaching Millennials to become inner entrepreneurs within the frame of your company. This is the ultimate win-win: creating intraprenuers. Millennials can have the opportunity to develop, innovate, and experiment, all the while contributing to the wellbeing and growth of your company’s mission.

Create the Space for Millennials to Experiment with Passion Projects

From the get-go, make it transparent to your millennial workers that they have the opportunity to grow and innovate within the framework of your company. Create a culture that promotes a healthy balance of freedom and structure.

A great example of this is what Google did with their “Genius Hour.” Employees were allowed to use 20% of their workweek to explore projects of their choosing, as long as it benefited and contributed to the company. Gmail, AdSense, and Google Glass are just a few examples of successes that resulted from the allocated time for self-directed experimentation.

Welcome New Ideas, Feedback, and Input

Millennials want feedback. They want acknowledgment. They want praise. They want constructive advice. They’re just too scared to ask for it. Less than 20% of millennials say they routinely receive feedback, according to Gallup research.

As a manger, it’s up to you to create a welcoming, friendly work environment. Make feedback a two-way street. Create an open door policy and make it clear to your millennial workers that they can ask you questions—whether popping into the office, texting, tweeting, or calling.

By empowering millennials to feel confident and comfortable with open communication, they will feel permission to innovate and come forward with new ideas. They will see you, their manager, as someone they can trust.

Create Incentives

Whether it is in the form of stock options, chances for commission, or special perks, make it clear that millennials can succeed beyond just means of salary. Millennials value independence, flexibility, purposeful work, and growth opportunities. If you can provide these incentives, millennials will want to work for your company and contribute to its growth.

Emphasize Structure and Safety

Unlike if millennials were on their own starting a personal brand, they have the luxury of support and safety that comes with working for a company. Emphasize that millennials can be intrepreneurs and still grow and take risks. Explain that working within your company is the perfect place for them to learn and grow, without the very real risk of messing up on their own.

By emphasizing entrepreneurial opportunities and the safety that comes along with being part of a company, millennials will feel empowered to take risks and innovate within your company.

Take action TODAY and create the opportunities for millennials to become Intreprenuers within your company. Allow the space for millennials to work on passion projects and innovate within the company. Embrace new ideas, provide feedback, and promote a culture with open communication. Create incentives while also showing the upside that comes with working in a company.

The workplace is changing, and it’s up to YOU as a manger to adapt and view the shift as an opportunity to be embraced.

Need help getting started? Let us help you stop chasing relevance and make it happen. For more on working from the inside out, check out Part One of Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage, and Maximize Next-Generation Leaders in the Workplace TODAY.