Characters property of DC Comics

Now that you’ve identified your superhero brand, what happens next?

You give people a reason to keep coming back and get excited about this new superpower on the block.

Superheroes do that by releasing new stories all the time, new adventures that show how their skillsets and beliefs can solve problems again, and again.

Nothing builds up trust and enthusiasm like seeing stories of success.

So what stories do you tell as a superhero brand?

Here are the three we’ll talk about.

  1. Your Origin Story – the first film in your franchise
  2. Customer Success Stories – the episodes of your own Netflix series
  3. Brandscaping – an expanded universe, networking with similar heroes

And then I know you’ll have questions, so let’s unpack them in the comments.

1. Your Origin Story

Origin stories swing from being simple and fun to bold and dramatic. They usually hinge around a point of transformation.

Here’s an overview:

  • Life was a certain shade of normal for this person, until a terrible situation drove them to take action, or an external force changed their ability to respond to the world. After seeing success, or failure based on their actions, they clarify a response method, and set themselves up as a guardian of good and normalcy for others.

As a brand, you don’t have the luxury of creating your story from scratch for maximum Hollywood effect.

But you do have the freedom to decide what elements from your life you use. And you should focus on telling your story to fit the immortal template of the Hero’s Journey:

  1. Who were you initially?
  2. What happened that drove you to change?
  3. Why did you accept your new normal?
  4. What do you do now?

Answer those questions, and voila, you have a fantastic Origin Story to use on your ‘About Page’, or your Facebook description.

A little while back, I stopped in at a hipster little cafe off Main Street, Front Royal. I was a regular for their Royal Fog, an Earl Grey tea with a head of foam, sweetened with honey and flavored with little blue flowers. Some trade secret.

Anyhow, one day I asked the barista how Happy Creek Coffee & Tea came to be.

What was its origin story?

(I may or may not have all the details, but that doesn’t matter).

He thought for a minute, pouring the hot water over the leaves. Then his eyes brightened, and he told me how the owner used to work in a government agency, it might have been the FBI.

Every day, because the food at work sucked, he would bring his own, home-cooked meals. They would be boxes of fruit, oatmeals, granola, etc.

Naturally, the rest of the office noticed, and he expanded his lunchbox to share more with them. Pretty soon, he was bringing in meals for everyone. That’s when he realized that his dream of opening a cafe and providing a certain kind of food service was starting to happen under his nose.

He quit his job and started a gluten-free cafe that sells hand-ground coffee, and home-made goods.

And it’s awesome. But I digress.

I couldn’t believe that this story wasn’t on the Happy Creek site I was used to seeing. I thought it was amazing. It’s exactly the kind of thing I’d want to know about, and share with a friend over my next coffee. Which I did.

It’s not only short, but it identifies a clear problem, one man’s opportunity to respond to it, and how he built a system to create an ongoing response that people loved.

So what’s your origin story?

Writing it down is the first step to being clear about who you are, and why you do what you do. If you are clear about it, then you can be sure that others will also be clear.

And if you can tell it in an interesting enough way, then they will likely turn around to their buddy at work and go ‘Hey, did you know that Peter Parker quit his FBI job to start a cafe…’

2. Customer Success Stories

You’ve identified your story. That’s the first film in your new franchise. You’ve established the universe, the problems, and the specific response that you are uniquely qualified to deliver.

And it’s all interesting enough to a particular niche who love that kind of response, and are equally enthusiastic about why you do it.

Now starts your transition from storyteller, to storymaker.

Each time you help a client, you’re helping them through their origin story. Will they let you tell it?

What if you keep telling these stories of real people struggling with real crises, and how your unique set of abilities stepped in and saved the day?

These case studies, reviews, or customer success stories, are perfect material for your blog. They’re the next issue of your superhero saga. They’re perfect for an email sequence.

The more dramatic, the more memorable. The more they’ll share, and the more your audience will come back looking a new episode.

Gather them, tell them, and showcase your customer – with their permission, of course.

In the same way that learning about a new superhero piques interest, and seeing a swelling stack of new stories to read through sparks excitement, seeing how your brand’s repeated ability to save the world through multiple occasions it the best way to establish trust.

Nothing breeds trust like repeated success, and happy customers.

 

So here are the benefits to telling customer stories;

  • You build up a body of proof that backs up your claims.
  • You have an arsenal of examples that you can use at any time to engage and interest people in conversation.
  • Your client gets additional promotion by being featured on your site and social networks.
  • Your client will likely share their story with their friends, family and network, bringing you additional exposure – and a referral you couldn’t ever pay for.

In the same way that learning about a new superhero piques interest, and seeing a swelling stack of new stories to read through sparks excitement, seeing how your brand’s repeated ability to save the world through multiple occasions it the best way to establish trust.

Becoming a team does not mean that they ever lose their distinction, or their unique powers. In fact,

working as a team is the perfect way to showcase everyone’s particular ability to respond to problems.

That’s one of the key reasons why you should nail your brand and your origin story. It stops you from morphing and merging with other people. Discover your distinction, and make it the superpower that makes you unique in your landscape.

3. An Expanded Universe

The massive franchises that have taken the world by storm in the last decade are nothing new. At least in the story/comic world.

Establishing individual heroes works for a while, but pushing the boundaries of what’s possible means rubbing up against other heroes and teams doing the same thing.

What happens then?

They usually team up to form super-powered partnerships, that can tackle bigger badguys, and slam-dunk the smaller ones to leave more time for surfing.

These teams like the Justice League, the Defenders, the Teen Titans, or the Avengers, share a common ‘because’, a common ‘why’.

Becoming a team does not mean that they ever lose their distinction, or their unique powers. In fact,

working as a team is the perfect way to showcase everyone’s particular ability to respond to problems.

That’s one of the key reasons why you should nail your brand and your origin story. It stops you from morphing and merging with other people. Discover your distinction, and make it the superpower that makes you unique in your landscape.

Dominic is Enable’s design and brand specialist. He thoroughly enjoys helping businesses find meaning in their brands and define their distinction. Coffee, cooking and binge-researching are his hobbies. When not building websites, he is delving into projects to find the boundaries of his imagination. He hasn’t found them yet.

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