Would you hire an ambulance driver to repave your driveway?

My parents did.

Two days before Thanksgiving in 1980, my mother broke her ankle.  She tripped on something left on the stairs while she was descending and carrying a laundry basket that blocked her view.

My mother is an overachiever and this was no simple break.  A neighbor called for an ambulance which came and took her to the hospital where she had surgery soon thereafter.

Many months later, my parents were soliciting bids to repave their driveway.  One of the bidders smiled when he came to meet my parents.  “Do you remember me?” he asked.  He then let them know he was in the crew that ferried my mother to the hospital that day.

It was a genuine and factual comment, but it was also smart business.

He got the job.  To my parents, he wasn’t an ambulance driver whose day job was driveway paver.  He was part of the rescue team for my mother.  My parents were grateful for his help and were eager to thank him in a meaningful way.

It was a powerful lesson in branding and marketing to me.  Who you are, and the history you have together, matters to those who would hire you and your company.  And emotional connections often trump qualifications.

You might feel your company is the best at what you do or produce, but the disturbing news is that people don’t necessarily buy on claims or even proof of superior performance.

People buy from people and brands they know, like and trust.  Why?  Because knowing, liking, and trusting takes the risk out of the purchase decision more than claims of being the best.

Knowing, liking, and trusting someone all involve emotional connections.

How do you market your brand in this environment?  By building relationships with your target audience.

The thought of trying to build relationships with thousands of people may be daunting.  But there are many ways for you to begin and warm those relationships without individual personal contact.

A great place to start is the About Us page on your company website.

Prospects go there to find out who the company and brand are to begin to know them and to decide if they like them.

A successful About Us page tells the brand’s story which:

  • Includes both the company’s history and its brand values.
  • Conveys that the company’s management is dedicated, smart, and hardworking without saying those words.
  • Provides opportunities to connect emotionally to your audience – your geographical location, your background, and the causes you support are a few ways you might connect.

Consumers today feel that the brands they patronize and associate with are a reflection on them.  They want to be part of a team they feel good about.

An About Us page that just contains fluff or is a regurgitation of the company’s products is a missed opportunity, like one of my prior employers unfortunately.

By contrast, prospects come away from a well-crafted About Us page with a positive first impression of the brand and an interest in learning about its offerings.  Customers who visit the About Us page feel good about the brand with which they do business.

  • Gesswein’s story lets readers know that the company is family-owned, has grown wisely and evolved with market needs, and values its customer relationships.
  • Ivory soap’s About page tells the story of how the product got its name and how its “99 44/100% pure” slogan came to be, connecting with those who like religious references and showcasing Proctor & Gamble’s early ingenuity.

You don’t need a long history to have a successful brand story to share.  Brands in Adolescence (like Google or Spanx) or even younger brands (like Susan Harter Mural Papers or Blurb) can do this well too.

Like the ambulance driver’s comment to my parents, good brand stories need to be genuine and factual, but not necessarily long.

Now go to your website’s About Us page and make sure it is an approachable, likeable story.

Because inquiring minds – and wallets – want to know.

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