Most entrepreneurs have an interesting and highly personal story behind their decision to launch their business, but many forget to share that story with customers. On New Belgium Brewing Company's tours, visitors learn the tale of founder Jeff Lebesch, an electrical engineer with a home-brewing hobby. Lebesch traveled through Belgium on his mountain bike in 1989 and returned home with a plan to open his own brewery. The name of New Belgium's signature Fat Tire Amber Ale is a reference to his mountain bike. In the beginning, Lebesch's wife, Kim Jordan (now New Belgium CEO), handled marketing and finances, and his neighbor, a painter, designed the iconic label art.
"It's a romantic story of a young man riding his bike in a foreign country and a young couple who made a sort of scary entrepreneurial leap to make a dream into a reality," says New Belgium spokesman Bryan Simpson. "That story is key to who we are, so we think it's important to share it."
A consumer can find out anything about your company, embrace this transparency and use it to your advantage. Transparency requires an authentic company, with character.
1. Find out your company DNA
What does your company stand for? What do you believe in? Who are your customers? Who do you want to be your customers? What is your benefit to society. As Guy Kawasaki says, have a mantra, forget mission statements but have a statement of purpose. Do all your employees believe in this? Do all your employees live this mantra?
2. Create the story
Once you know, make it easy to understand, is it an easily digestible concept? If not, make it easy. Easy to understand and easy to remember. Stories make people remember.Create a start, climax, end.
3. Communicate your story
Do not broadcast, communicate. Find people with a similar story, people who can relate. Talk with them and engage. These are the people who are/will become your consumer. These are the people who will spread your story.
Build your story. If you build it, they will come.