When you start crafting your brand story, YOU are your biggest enemy. This is what I’ve found after working with clients and speaking to entrepreneurial friends, and it’s why I read and fell in love with a book about Disruptive Thinking (Disrupt by Luke Williams).
I honestly don’t care who you are or how unbiased and humble you think you may be. Over time, you’ve developed certain preconceptions and notions and personas you share with others, so when you go to an event, for instance, or sit down with someone like me in a meeting, you dive into your story.
Only it isn’t your story. It might be what you think your brand story is. It might even resemble 90% of it, but most people overlook the juicy bits that make all the difference. Because the reason brand storytelling stands out and is an ever growing beast, is that it delves into REAL shit.
The problem with this is, the real shit doesn’t exist on the surface. It lives deep below and it’s why disruptive thinking matters. I first researched this area and read books like Disrupt in order to come up with a few cool tasks and tools. But this isn’t what happened, for it made me look at how I work in a new light.
This is how…
WHY DISRUPTIVE THINKING MATTERS WHEN CREATING YOUR BRAND STORY
Disrupt by Luke Williams is a solid book, and if you want to learn more about disruptive thinking, it’s one I recommend. But you don’t need to read it in order to appreciate why disruptive thinking matters, and by the end of this post you’ll understand why.
When I read this book, I learned that everyone (you and me included) slip into these preconceived notions in most areas of life. You act one way around your parents, another near friends, and a complete stranger when you’re surrounded by strangers.
We ultimately stereotype people and situations in order to make sense of them, and to help other people make sense of us and what we do (the dreaded elevator pitch). You take the same approach with your business, so when you create your values and mission and vision, you form ideals based on what you think people want. What you think is right. What makes sense, and what makes you feel comfortable and happy.
This isn’t where your story lies. Your story differs to everyone else, and there’s no definitive hiding place where I can say, “Look here and you’ll find everything you need.”
It doesn’t work like this, but what I can promise you is:
If you look on the surface and assume you’ll find your story, you’ll be disappointed each time.
A STORY ABOUT GUY WHO MAKES NOTEBOOKS
I once had a meeting with a guy who makes notebooks. I’d met him through a friend, and I knew his company made books of various types. I wanted to customise a few for Tick to the Tock’s launch, but within minutes I learned just how big his operation was.
They make, create, and sell A LOT of these little notebooks around the world, so I do what I always do in situations like these: sit back and ask a lot of questions.
Stating numerous stats and figures, and offering me the same old speal he’s know doubt spewed ten-thousand times before, he told me about his factory and cost of these little books, and how they’re better and stronger and of a higher quality than his competitors.
Interested to an extent, I listened to his story and knew there was a fine tale to be had. But he hadn’t touched on it yet, which told me one thing: He never shares his true story with his customers… staff… anyone...
And then, as I neared the end of my coffee, he said something that caught my attention:
“You see, all our paper comes from the Lake District. It’s sourced in a lovely old mill that uses the same techniques as it’s always done. It’s amazing up there, and the paper’s unlike anything else…” He continued, a spice to his tone and dance to his hands.
BULLSEYE! Although a passing comment he mentioned some twenty minutes into his story, I leaned forward and perked up. “That’s amazing,” I said. “What makes the paper so much better than anything else? How do they make it? What do they do…?”
And the next thirty minutes slipped past as I learned all about paper, and the real hook within his story.
HOW DISRUPTIVE THINKING FORCES YOU TO DIG DEEPER – AND BE BETTER
At the time I didn’t do any disruptive thinking per se, but as soon as I read Disrupt by Luke Williams, I thought about this meeting with Mr Notebook – among many others.
I realised people, by nature, don’t know their own story, and although you have 99% of the answers, you don’t ask the right questions. This is why disruptive thinking matters, and it’s how it transforms your okay brand story into a roaring success. Because if you don’t ask the right questions, how will you ever appreciate the correct answer?
It’s not to say the notepads and factory and his staff weren’t part of his story, but the juicy bit that sets it apart (and in my opinion, the whole story hinges on) is paper: why this particular type of paper matters… why it’s so great… the story behind it, its people, and past…
Yet had I chatted and moved on (like most would do), I’d never know this. Which means the majority of people who come across Mr Notebook never will.
It isn’t that disruptive thinking magically transforms your story into something exciting. It doesn’t produce dragons and wizards, for crying out loud, and it won’t give you any real answers at all. BUT it does fore you to dig deeper, think different, and start asking the RIGHT questions.
Once you ask the right questions, you begin to uncover the REAL shit that matters.
HOW TO DISRUPT YOUR BRAND’S STORY WITH DISRUPTIVE THINKING – IN 5 MINUTES!
If you want to delve further into how to do this, I encourage you to sign up to my FREE 30 Day Brand Story Course. It takes you through the dame Discover + Create + Share Process I take my clients through, and disruptive thinking plays an important role.
But if you want to do something RIGHT NOW and in 5 minutes, do this:
Assume that what you think your brand story is, is wrong!
Like I say, some of it won’t be. You know your business and story better than anyone else, and you do posses 99% of the answers. But when I say you ask the wrong questions, and have done so for a long time, I mean it. Everyone does. You do. I do.
You’re too close to your world, which means you inevitably create pre-conceived notions about this and that. Maybe you’ll get lucky and stumble across the right formula. It does happens, but will it happen for you…? Probably not.
Instead, assume your wrong. Instead, assume everything you think is right is a mere footnote to your real message. Or as I like to say, those aspects you think are important are your story’s supporting actors. You must now figure out who plays the starring role.
This is your first step. Without accepting your preconceptions are wrong, you’ll assume you’re right. This means you’ll never embrace disruptive thinking, and whether you work with someone like me or not remains pointless. Because you have to be on board with it, as the whole premise of disruptive thinking means getting you out of your comfort zone.
It asks you to answer questions you don’t want to and that you think are irrelevant
It means doing weird shit in order to find the real shit.
It requires a dive into the unknown, which scares the hell out of folk – myself included.
But if you want your real brand story to shine through, and the tale you share to matter, connect with your audience, and help you stand out in this ever increasing chaos… it’s important. It begins with disruptive thinking, and to an extent it never ends.
So there you have it, I hope you’re ready to assume you’re wrong and dig until you find what’s right. I’d love to hear your thoughts, so be sure to say hello on TWITTER or FACEBOOK as that’s where this convo continues. And if you ever have any questions about disruptive thinking or brand storytelling, let me know. But there is a free course that awaits you, so I hope you’ll check it out.
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