Being a startup is not easy. You have multiple challenges. You wear many hats. And while juggling all these, you need to tell an inspiring, exciting story about your product/service and your business. Even when you have the money, the ad agencies often do a less than desirable job of telling your story on your website, through Facebook posts or through tweets. And when they do get it right, they charge a bomb!
Frankly, if you can do your own storytelling, we advise you do that. There is no better way than a founder doing his own story-telling in these connected times. Your passion, your domain expertise and your voice are the best advertising for your business and your vision. The world will sit up and listen.
But if you don’t have the bandwidth or the skill sets, the next best thing is to hire a Specialist Startup Storyteller.
“Who’s that?”, you would ask. And how do you choose one? There is no one way or right answer to this question. The person who can do this job for you may not actually work for an agency or wear the designation of a copywriter.
So, we suggest you look out for these 5 qualities.
1. The person must have had some startup, entrepreneurial experience. That helps. They can then quickly get under the skin of your business. And that will make all the difference.
2. They should think beyond Smart Taglines. Smart lines are good to have. But you need to communicate (a) the relevance of your business/ product, (b) the utilitarianism of your product/ service, © your dedication to customer service and many such important micro details – on which your business hinges – which smart-alec-ness alone can’t solve.
3. They should know and tell your Brand Story. We live in an over-communicated world. Consumers are drowning in brand messages. The only way people will remember you, buy your products and share it with their friends is – if the experience is good and if you have a compelling story. This person needs to be your brand storyteller!
4. You need a social butterfly. The traditional copywriter with his head buried in the past, or hung up on a line and a big ego is as good as dead. Brands must listen and participate in the social conversation. Not just tell. Consumers are chatting up about everything. They are knowledgeable about the product and brand. They are ahead of the curve. So as a startup brand, you need a guy who is in the know and who can strike a conversation with consumers on fb, twitter, youtube, quora, everywhere-internet.
You need a very curious, very interesting person – who is interested in your business, the business of business, other brands, people, culture, context – who will strive to make your brand loveable. You will need a really good listener and not just a careful crafter of clever lines & talks.
5. You need a helpful guy. The future of marketing will not look like marketing. It’s about connecting, helping. Getting inputs from customers. Making cross-connections with other related, even unrelated brands.
The Storyteller must try and help your customers. They must not define their job as copywriting alone; but how it helped real people trying out your very real product. And resolved few issues in real time and apologised for the real errors which your brand made. In a real voice not a fake one.
Whether you are Ola Cabs or Oravel.com, this storyteller will pitch in with cab or room solutions. Answer in real time to feedback on fb and twitter. And often in a human voice not merely from a standardised script
The world of marketing communications has changed. We need to make an effort to change our story or be willing to perish doing things the old way.
Are you ready for the change?
(image credit : shutterstock.com)
Manish Sinha is the Co-founder and COO of Oravel.com and also curates the neighbourhood brands – CinnamomStays.in and www.tikdam.in. He is part of the NextBigWhat Practitioner Network and writes regularly about branding, storytelling and businesses with a soul.