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EPISODE 51: Core Brand Stories: The Influence Story

by Sep 14, 2021Messaging, Podcast

In this episode we will cover:

  • What a business’s Influence Story is
  • Why the Influence Story is important
  • How to craft a powerful Influence Story

Here it is—the final episode in our core brand stories mini-series. Today, we’re talking about the Influence Story.

{And no, this has no relation to the influencers you find all over social media.}

Audiences are often looking for transformation in their lives, even if that’s just in something as simple as making a task more convenient. But entrepreneurs don’t always realize what elements of their business are truly transformative to their audiences. So, the Innovation Story is about nailing down those special benefits, exploring how your product or service creates long-lasting change for clients and customers.


In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • What an Influence Story is
  • The importance of the Influence Story
  • How to craft a powerful Influence Story

Ready to dive deeper into Influence Stories, or have questions about any of the other core brand stories? Join us in the Polaris Writer Lounge to learn more!


Learn More:

Profit First by Mike Michalowicz

Polaris Writer Lounge

Kula Cloth



Welcome to the Brand Your Voice Podcast, where we’re digging into how you can create personality-driven content that connects and converts. I’m Jessi…

…and I’m Marie. We’re the co-founders of North Star Messaging + Strategy, where we support business owners in outsourcing content without sacrificing authenticity.

Every brand has a unique voice that sets it apart. We're digging into how to capture the way your brand communicates from the words you use to the stories you tell. So you can create more compelling content that strategically helps you meet your business goals.

And if you choose to outsource that content, you'll be able to do so with confidence, knowing your brand voice is in good hands and you can reclaim your time. We're so glad you're here and hope you enjoy this episode.
Hello, Marie here for my final flying solo episode for the series. Five episodes I've been doing here about core brand stories. So we've talked in the last four episodes about four core stories that we at North Star like to extract from our clients, the origin story, the why or the purpose story, innovation story, and expertise. And we're wrapping up today with the influence story.
Influence sounds like something else these days because of the word influencer. So this isn't about how many Instagram followers somebody has or how awesome they look posing and that shirt. It's about what are the messages that your client shares that really change the way somebody thinks and behaves long-term.
So I want to come down to an essential principle here, which is, I feel like audiences are often looking for transformation in their lives. They're probably not going to always call it that. It could just be something really simple, like convenience, but if you're a busy person, you know how transformative convenience can be. But the things that are transformative about a brand, aren't always on their radar. And oftentimes that's not what they actually think it's transformative. If you've ever had that experience of somebody coming up to you and saying like, well, that thing you said changed me, and you were like, what, what thing did I say? I don't, I don't even remember saying that because you're just like talking. That's what it's like for so many brands. They're like, what? That's the thing? That's the thing that you hung on to? They were like shocked half the time, but here's the cool thing. You, as the writer have a chance to guide your clients because you can connect the dots from 30,000 feet that they cannot see because they are, you know, nose down driving on the road.
So I want to share an example of an influence story, essentially. I was reading this book by this guy that you've probably heard of a bunch of people listening to our podcast named Mike Michalowicz. This book, Profit First, you probably have also heard of, or may have heard of, because it's pretty big in the entrepreneurial sphere. But when I read this book, the thing that stood out to me was not actually the concept of taking your profit first. Yes, our business now does that and we are a profit first business, but the message that really stuck out to me is one that I've applied in a lot of different ways. And I suspect that if I cornered Mike and told him like, this was the sentence, actually it's two sentences. Um, that changed my thinking in multiple ways of my business and multiple ways of my life. He might be surprised. So I want to read, I'm going to really paraphrase this because it's like two pages of this book. If you have this book in the hardcover it's pages 30 and 31, if you ever feel like checking out. And also if you're curious about it, it's in the writer show notes for you.
So it says how many times did Spock stare into captain Kirk's eyes and say that is highly illogical. Well, just like you, captain Kirk was a human and humans are not logical. We are emotional beasts with monkey brains. We like shiny objects. We stuff ourselves. When there's free pizza, we buy 12 pounds of cat food because it's on sale even though we don't have a cat. Okay, well maybe that's just me. But we also know to trust our gut, to go with our instincts, take shortcuts and be inventive on the fly so we can move on and get more things done. If you were Spock the relentlessly logical Vulcan on Star Trek, you would follow all the accounting instructions necessary to pinpoint your numbers. On a weekly basis, you would study your income statement, tied into your balance sheet. And of course do your analysis of your, of your cashflow.
But I strongly suspect to your captain Kirk. And that's a good thing because you're the perfect person to lead your corporate ship to profits at warp speed. As a human, you likely have certain tendencies. Chances are you log into your bank account every few days, or maybe a few times a day to see what your bank balance is. You probably make good gut decisions based on the balances. You see a lot of deposits and you feel good business is cooking. We'll take our clients out for bottomless Margheritas, but, here we go, no money. And the panic sets in need to start making collection calls set the sell, that foosball table. Sell all the chairs sitting is bad for you. Anyway, I have good news. Those people designed profit for. So you don't have to change yourself at all. This is a critical point. You've always had an opportunity to change yourself and read your financial statements, but only Spock and accountants can and do that. Most entrepreneurs revert to checking their bank account balance and going with their gut. Established habits die hard. So why try changing your habits instead use a system that works with your existing habits. Those are the two sentences that made me go WHAAA? Let me read that again. Let me read that again. And established habits die hard. So why try changing your habits instead use a system that works with your existing habits.
This is so simple, but it has changed everything for me, not just how we do money in the business. It changes everything. It's changed how I buy groceries and how I meal plan. Because going from not meal, planning to meal planning is awful. Unless you have something that allows you to go with your existing habits, something that works with your existing habits, that compliments them, right? And so you could probably think of some examples for you too right where this happens. Messages like this is exactly what I'm talking about with influence stories.
Now, Mike, isn't talking here about that time that he was the captain of a star ship at his loyal, you know, Mr. Spock told him that's a logical, you should do this instead until finally, Mr. Spock was like, okay, I'm going to create this system that like, he didn't have to tell a story about himself. He didn't have to steal a story about real people. He just gave an example, right of this is something from popular culture, probably gonna resonate for you. And this is a great example of what we're talking about here. You're the captain Kirk, you're not the Spock. So just lean into it and be yourself. Be Kirk, right? Maybe not all of Kirk, but this aspect of Kirk, right? This is exactly what I'm talking about, about an influence story. It changed the way I started thinking about habits forever. It changed the way I started behaving around habits forever. So were the messages that your client has that starts changing the way others think and behave forever? That they always think, ah, yeah, Mike said this, what would Mike say? Mike would say this right? Or whoever client is that, that's what always resonates for them.
Here's the tricky thing. Your client may know this and they may not. So I want you to do couple of things. One, I want you to interview your client and ask them questions. But secondly, you may have to your view, your clients, audience, or read through their testimonials to get some of these nuggets of wisdom. You may even want to suggest for your client how they can change their testimonial collecting process so that they're asking some questions that lead to these influences. And here's the thing they may say, oh, that's the good stuff. That's the stuff I have to charge for. I don't want it to be giving away all my knowledge bombs for free online, through my social media. No thank you. And you know, at the end of the day, they're the client and also you, as the writer can say, okay, or you as the writer can say, okay, I just also want you to know that part of the, if it, of working with you is they get all those knowledge bombs in the moment directly tied to their situation in a curated format, as opposed to just random things on Instagram that, you know, they'll learn from it, they'll start to trust you and then they'll start to work with you, right.
So I think we need to, we encourage our clients not to hold it too close to the chest or be too greedy. A lot of the stuff I'm teaching you here is stuff that, yeah, I mean, we only, until now, have been training our team on these questions and how to handle these stories and how to ask for them. But what do I have to lose by sharing it with you? Nothing. You're not my client right now, most likely. And what I can do is help you help your clients so we can make the world a better place so that we can have better communication. Right? So invite them to think about what's the worst that happens if you share this. Somebody learns something and changes their behavior in a positive way. Cool. That's cool. Right? That's the worst that happens. Actually, maybe the worst that happens is everybody ignores it and like moves on with their day. In which case everything is status quo. Like there's nothing bad happening here. Right?
So anyway, some questions that you can ask your client and you can ask them also to ask their clients their success stories. So you get some of these testimonials coming in, ask them to share a specific example of what they know to be the long-term impact of their services or their products on their clients. One of the previous episodes in this series, I was talking about Kula cloth, which is a piece of hiking gear that is specifically for liquid waste sanitation. It's a pee cloth, right? So maybe some of the longterm impact of using Kula cloth, as opposed to toilet paper in the wilderness is X percent less littering in a certain area, right? Like you're going to use this much less toilet paper, which, A, not only is littering, but B most people's toilet paper is deforesting, virgin forest and trees in Canada. So this is good for the environment that we're using this reusable resource, right. That could be an example.
You could also ask them to share a specific example of the long-term impact on a specific person, not just the community or the world at large, but like for them specifically, what has been a piece of impact, and this is totally valid. What is a specific example of the long-term impact of your philosophy or your way of doing things on you, the business owner, right? Like they themselves are probably the biggest believers in their own product or service. So why, why do they believe in it? How has it helped them?
And then I think this one's really helpful. Can you share an example of a time when you gave your client an aha moment where you kind of saw their eyes light up and you realized they're getting it. Yes. Yes. And maybe even the next time you talked with them, you could see that they'd internalize this lesson. What was that lesson? What did they learn? What are they thinking about differently? Now, again, sometimes they'll know it, sometimes they won't and if they don't, it's time to go to their clients and figure that out.
So my homework for you today is to interview your client, record them, ask some of these questions around their influence, the way they influence their audience to think and behave differently. And if needed, take it to their clients and their customers. Find out how they're thinking differently now that they've had interactions with the brand. And if you're looking for any support for yourself as a writer, I want to invite you to join the Polaris writer's lounge. This is a free community for writers by writers, where we talk about things like this. We talk about best practices, the challenges, the successes of being a writer professionally. And I want to invite you to join this community. It's a small but growing community. And I want to encourage you to come join us. You can check it out st northstarmessaging.com/Polaris, P O L A R I S as in the north star. And we're going to just jam on all these topics so that we can all learn from each other.
All right. Well, I hope you've enjoyed this series on our core brand stories. If you missed any of them, please check out the last four episodes where we talk about the why story, the origin story, innovation, expertise, and here, of course, you've listened to influence. Hope this has been helpful for you. And I hope it let's do some really interesting conversations with your clients. You get to know them better than ever, and they trust you more than ever. Thanks.
Thanks for joining us for this episode of the Brand Your Voice podcast. Make sure to visit our website, northstarmessaging.com, where you can subscribe to the show on iTunes, Spotify, and more.

If you found value in this episode, we'd love for you to leave us a review on iTunes and share it with your friends. Thank you, and happy content creating.

For additional content strategy and branding tips, check out northstarmessaging.com/blog. Also, please tag us on Instagram and let us know you’re out there! @northstarmessaging 

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