Darcy Jacobson- Buildium- Brand Storytelling

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<p>Brand storytelling</p> <p>Brand storytellingLeveraging transparent storytelling to compete &amp; winwww.buildium.com</p> <p>Buildiums contact info</p> <p>Darcy Jacobsen () - +wendy.troupe@buildium.com I'm not sure what we did here or how you'd like to portray it?Darcy Jacobsen () - +pernilla.kaiser@buildium.com is magical. That is all.Chris Masterson () - https://youtu.be/pUikdqQrmOg It's here, unlisted. Only people with the link will be able to see it. Might take a few minutes to process on YouTube before it will embed.Darcy Jacobsen () - I only see an embed from YouTube option, not Wistia, +chris.masterson@buildium.comDarcy Jacobsen () - Or here on Google drive: https://drive.google.com/a/buildium.com/file/d/0B8noX_1swGZTX0txb214MzJtaGc/viewDarcy Jacobsen () - The video is here: https://buildium.wistia.com/medias/q0zcusjc3dDarcy Jacobsen () - +pernilla.kaiser@buildium.com This is the more recent image for the video thumbnail. Wendy wants it to play from the doc.</p> <p>Everyone needs a brand.In a big data world, brands provide a shorthand placeholder.</p> <p>Volvo = safetyGoogle = dependable answers Target = style on a budget</p> <p>They allow you to claim an area of the marketplace.They allow you to own an area of the customers mind.They allow price premiums, easier movement into adjacencies, greater internal alignment, and increased customer loyalty.</p> <p>Were going to talk a little about something most of you are intimately familiar with: brand. </p> <p>And in particular our journey at Buildium to re-establish control over our brand, update it, and focus it more closely on the new audience weve articulated. The audience we feel is going to drive us to our next phase of growth.</p> <p>So for claritys sake, lets begin with definitions. What are we calling a brand?</p> <p>People build them out of the random, memorable interactions they have with a brand (e.g. ad, article, WOM, experience, etc.)</p> <p>Emotions are more attention grabbing and memorable than facts.</p> <p>The more unified your theme the stronger your brand.</p> <p>The key to brand building is therefore the identification and repetition of an emotional theme that is supported by your brand experience.</p> <p>Brands are like birds nests.</p> <p>Brand cultures accumulate as various authors create stories that involve the brand. Brands have four primary types of authors: companies, popular culture, influencers, and customers.</p> <p>The cultural materials circulated by these authors come in three forms: stories, images, and associations. </p> <p>Stories and images are the more potent sources of brand culture. Brand stories and images have plots and characters, and they rely heavily upon metaphor to communicate and spur our imaginations. </p> <p>Think of brand associations as the emotional currency of these stories and images. We may forget the specifics of a product story but still attribute some characteristics to the brand (its for old people, often falls apart, etc.). As these stories, images, and associations collide in everyday social life, conventions eventually form. A common story emerges as a consensus view. That is the brand.</p> <p>Buildium had a brand.</p> <p>At Buildium we had a brand. </p> <p>We were the champion of the little guy, the folksy, bootstrapped company. </p> <p>We used language like: A small business serving small businesses.We talked about ourselves as growing from three guys working in a proverbial garage to more than 130 employees working in three countries.We were homey and approachable.This brand worked to attract 11,000+ plus customers. But customers look for brands that they can relate to, and as a result most of our customers were just like the brand wed created. Scrappy but small. </p> <p>Liam Shannon () - Sure. I will write a note to Nellie and see what she has.Darcy Jacobsen () - +liam.shannon@buildium.com Can you help us source some of the older brand pieces from the designers?Competitors were controlling it.</p> <p>Our competitors began to exploit that brand and use it against us. Pigeon-holing us as ONLY the brand of the little guy. As not as professional. As not as powerful. </p> <p>The problem with that was our research showed that those slightly more upmarket customers had a much higher LTV for us, as opposed to the starter companies we were attracting such a high percentage of.</p> <p>And many of those mid-sized firms were seeing us as a sort of starter-wife, if you will. Someone to graduate from.</p> <p>Folks seem to enjoy Buildium since they are going from spreadsheets to their first management software [...] you may hit a limit with Buildium and start to look elsewhere for something more robust.-Rob Boese</p> <p>Appfolio seems to be for bigger players. You can start with Buildium.-Ahmad Hijazi</p> <p>I currently use Buildium [] If money was no object, I might have gone for Appfolio instead [...] I dont think Appfolio would make sense until I had 100 (properties)</p> <p>-Dawn Brenengen</p> <p>Customers began to reflect what they were hearing from competitors, this very close reframing of the brand we had. </p> <p>We needed a brand takeover.First, we set out to understand ourselves.</p> <p>If we wanted to expand our reach and shift our mix to embrace those more mid-sized, professional companies, we needed to take back control of our brand. And that began with some soul-searching.</p> <p>Embody the brand.Align company culture to customer value.DedicatedCommittedGenuineResponsiveDrivenAlive</p> <p>Focus on customers firstBe helpful and supportiveCommunicate openly and honestlyBe nimble and flexibleTake initiative and work hardBe passionate and have funOur core values</p> <p>Our brand values</p> <p>The first thing we did, and this began last August as part of our own internal employer brand project, was to understand who we are. In a somewhat commoditized industry we understood that one of our biggest differentiators was our support--our people--so for us, more than for many companies, it was critical that we start there. We embarked on an exhaustive and unflinching exercise to understand who we are, and who we want to be. </p> <p>That became our revised core values, which were just unveiled to the company at large in January. </p> <p>Then we looked at how those core values informed our brand values. </p> <p>Next, we set out to understand our customers.</p> <p>Once we had a clear sense of what value we bring, we wanted to understand what our customers are really all about--and in particular that ideal customer that I mentioned earlier. </p> <p>What are our hypotheses?*Align company culture to customer value.Todays buyers aspire to be professional (therefore the need for a more professional image).</p> <p>Buyers wants a solution that they can trust to help them grow.</p> <p>Buyers are looking to identify with a brand that understands them.</p> <p>Appfolio is perceived as the best in breed solution and has portrayed Buildium as entry level.</p> <p>A simple, straightforward and transparent pricing model builds trust.</p> <p>Buyers are easily distracted on buildium.com. </p> <p>*Based on remote unmoderated user testing of 14 users completed in Q415.</p> <p>Based on our research, user testing, and our own SWOT analysis, we identified a key set of hypotheses to guide the brand evolution.</p> <p>So what do Buildiums customers &amp; prospects care about?</p> <p>Connecting with people</p> <p>Simplifying their work</p> <p>Growing their businessKeeping property rented, and keeping tenants and owners happy.Staying organized and in control of tasks, so they have time for what matters.Building a profitable and thriving business for the future.</p> <p>Part of this process was also isolating what our target customers care most about. </p> <p>Then we created a new story.</p> <p>But as you know, it isnt enough to simply know what your customers pain points are. If pushing the button were that simple, our jobs would be very different. Marshall McLuhans hypodermic needle theory isnt quite the way things work.</p> <p>This couldnt be just an evolution of messaging or websites or look and feel. This was the development of an emotional narrative--a story, that would resonate with our target customer segment, and ally them with our brand. We needed to inspire them, we needed to make them feel, before we could impact their behavior. </p> <p>Stories are hardwired into our DNA.</p> <p>When we process information Brocas and Wernickes areas of our brains light up. When we hear stories, our whole brains light up. </p> <p>We actually experience the emotion and the sensory triggers as if we are there. </p> <p>Our brains experience neural coupling. Our brain waves begin to mirror those of the tellers of the story.</p> <p>We begin to think of the story as our own. </p> <p>Our brains want to turn information into a story.</p> <p>We think in narratives all day long, no matter if it is about buying groceries, whether we think about work or our families. Our brain will make stories out of limited information (Brene Brown - We are neurologically hard wired for story...and the brain rewards us for that story, whether it is accurate or not). We are always looking for cues about how to relate or not relate to information, and how to feel about information. </p> <p>If you are not telling a story about how your brand relates to your audience, they will turn it into a story about how it doesnt.</p> <p>And something amazing happens to our brains when we do tell stories. If we watch a powerpoint presentation or read something with boring bullet points, it activates two parts of our brains called Broca's area and Wernicke's area. They are the language processing parts in the brain, where we decode words into meaning. And that's it, nothing else happens.</p> <p>But when we are being told a story, not only are the language processing parts in our brain activated, but any other area in our brain that we would use when experiencing the events of the story are too. When we read about action, the parts of our brain that control movement light up. When we read about smell, those processor light up. When stories touch our emotions, those parts of our brains light up. The motor cortex, the sensory cortex, the frontal cortex, they all light up. Dopamine is released. </p> <p>And this leads to a very cool phenomenon. A Princeton university study monitored the brainwaves of those sharing a story, and those hearing a story and found they actually synchronize. We experience mirroring, a phenomenon called neural coupling, where our brain waves match those of the teller of the story. </p> <p>The activation of these parts of our brains makes us absorb the story and experience it as our own. Our brains remember them in the same way that they remember something that actually happened to us.Thats the power of a story. To make someone feel it as their own and to connect to your brand in such an intimate, emotional way is to drive behavior.</p> <p>Emotional themes are logical.At the core of every great brand is an emotion-laden truth that the brand rationally answers.</p> <p>A great truth resonates with your unique target audience.</p> <p>Dove - You are only as beautiful as you think you are. Apple - Creative people think differently. Nike - Everyone can be an athlete.</p> <p>They allow you to claim an area of the marketplace.They allow you to own an area of the customers mind.They allow price premiums, easier movement into adjacencies, greater internal alignment, and increased customer loyalty.</p> <p>Part of telling that intimate, resonant story is to gain permission and credibility by beginning with a great truth. Every brand hinges on a core truth. Something that people cannot argue with. And they build their brand promise on that truth.</p> <p>Dove - you are only as beautiful as you think you are. Dove can make you think you are more beautifulApple - creative people think differently. Choosing our products mark you as a creative thinker.Nike - everyone can be an athlete. We help you find your inner athlete</p> <p>When you can tap into something your audience already believes, and then leverage that belief, through the validation of stories, you can claim that area of the market place. </p> <p>How this can work is we all have buckets in our minds--especially when we are actively or passively searching for a product. (Liams suitcase/Volvo analogy. safe cars, splurge cars, environmental cars)</p> <p>Visuals + words = telling a storyCreating stories that are unique, authentic, and inspirational--and drive behavior.</p> <p>So, how do you do that. Well, thats nothing revolutionary. Through visuals and words, in all their forms.But those stories must be authentic- to your voice and to your audiences experience. Unique to us, and inspiring. Something that will drive behavior.</p> <p>Ultimately all of this is about driving behavior.</p> <p>Brand story in content marketingCreating stories that are unique, authentic, and inspirational.</p> <p> PlanAudience StoryChannels ProcessConversation MeasurementSource: Content Marketing Institute</p> <p>This is the general recipe for approaching this in content marketing. (This is adopted from the Content Marketing Institute framework. Heres how we interpret it.)</p> <p>Plan - This is the fundamentals. What needs do we have as a company? What can we accomplish? What are the risks? What are our aspirations?Audience - Who are our core audience? What are their personas--attitudes, behaviors and beliefs. Story - What is our brand story? Note that the word story might imply a beginning middle and end of a narrative framework, but in content marketing it is rarely a linear narrative. It is more of a storytelling lens. It is about understanding the emotions with which your audience encounters your content, and moving them on a journey through it that evokes the emotion you want them to take away, and sets them up to engage in the behavior you want them to undertake. Your story is a multiple touch undertaking that must establish a strong emotional bond with your content that is predicated on trust--trust that you will help them to learn and to better solve for their own pain.Channels - What are the channels we are going to use to connect to them? Evaluate all possible channels, identify most important channels and double down on them, and test the others. Our mix is the 80/20/10 rule, where 80% of our content and channels are proven, bread and butter, 20% are moderate risk and testing, and 10% are higher risk--more money, more effort, less certainty. The goal is to move that 20/10% into the 80% if it works. (One major channel for us is new website)Process - How will we manage our team and tools? Who does what? What is the technology stack for marketing. What are we A/B testing in terms of timing, or audience, or content types. (Big one for us this year, Marketo and SFDC)Conversation - Create our content and listen. Ask for feedback, do social listening and monitor sharing (Hootsuite, BuzzSumo). Listen to the broader conversation as well not just our own content. Measurement - Prove out the effectiveness, adjust and iterate.</p> <p>Wendy Troupe () - Yes, it would be cool if we couldPernilla Kaiser () - Is this a graphic that we should brand?</p> <p>Here is the story we created.</p> <p>So here is...</p>