Tag Archives: passion

This Is How Powerful Signature Stories Attract More Business

book cover Creating Signature Stories, signature of Picasso, What's Your Story written in chalk

 

Powerful signature stories come from telling stories with a strategic message. They are powerful because they attract more business to you. This post features the book, Creating Signature Stories: Strategic Messaging That Persuades, Energizes, and Inspires by David Aaker.

Why Stories?

Stories are much easier to remember than facts. They also apply meaning to facts. They tell you why you should care about something. Stories make your messages come alive. Stories allow you to gain exposure, activate social media, and be remembered.

Communicating strategic messages can be difficult in this age of information overload. Stories provide interest, add authenticity, and raise credibility. The story’s heroes and plot become the focus. Stories provide a way to break through distractions and disinterest. Audiences take notice when stories are told.

Signature stories are an enduring asset continuing to provide direction. A strategic message to your audience. Stories are narratives that portray actual or fictitious events and experiences. Signature stories grab attention, support a strategic message that clarifies or enhances the brand vision, customer relationship, organizational values, and/or present and future business strategy.

Criteria of Stories

Stories stimulate work-of-mouth communication both personal and via social media. Signature stories must meet four criteria:

  • Be intriguing or fascinating: the story needs to grab attention
  • Be authentic: authenticity means the audience does not perceive the story to be phony, contrived, or as a transparent effort to sell
  • Are involving: means the audience is drawn into the story, empathizes with characters, the plot becomes important, and it encourages a cognitive, emotional and/or behavior response
  • Have a strategic message: connects the brand to the signature story

6 Ways Brands Can Connect Their Message to Stories

According to Mr. Aaker, there are several ways the brand can connect their message to the signature story. I list the book’s example along with a way for hospitality businesses to apply the same method.

  • Brand as hero: when you recall the story you recall the brand
    • Example: Blendtec company has popular “Will it blend?” videos with unusual items to put in a blender (one of the most popular was them blending an i-pod!)
    • B&B Application: have a photo contest on Facebook, encouraging followers to post pictures related to a theme (such as nature) and offer one free night’s stay for two at your inn (or some other meaningful reward) to the picture that best captures what you are looking for (be sure to specify the rules in advance and you may want to appoint outside judges to determine the winner)
  • Brand surrogate as hero: the hero can be something very close to the brand
    • Example: Budweiser Clydesdale stories (horses are an accepted symbol of the brand)
    • B&B Application: tie something related to your name into your advertising and/or logo (Rosemary House Bed and Breakfast in Pittsboro, North Carolina has an image of rosemary spice in their logo, the herb of friendship and remembrance)
  • Story reflects passion of customer base: a shared value
    • Example: the Molson brand demonstrated their passion for hockey by building an ice rink in the mountains
    • B&B Application: share pictures of projects (renovations, gardening, etc.) that you completed at your inn in social media (and mention how beneficial staying at your place is for people who also like to work hard)
  • Supporting programs that carry brand name: events that have special meaning
    • Example: Avon’s Walk to End Breast Cancer (featuring personal stories about the event)
    • B&B Application: become a sponsor of a local event so your name is listed in its promotion (it’s more meaningful if you have a personal connection to the event)
  • Prominent display of brand as a story sponsor: putting the brand name on the story
    • Example: the Always brand is prominent during their stories
    • B&B Application: become featured in a magazine and share stories of people in your local community who make a difference in the lives of others (and share how you came to know this person)
  • Adjacent communication: stories featured alongside the brand
    • Example: Charles Schwab commercials played alongside the “Person Who Changed My Life” stories
    • B&B Application: (with each guests’ permission) write a blog post featuring meaningful stories told to you by your guests (you do not have to share their last name) and connect it to your inn

Benefits of Telling Signature Stories

Powerful signature stories take stories to the next level. They are persuasive, inspiring, and they stimulate others to act. Signature stories elevate brands and they persuade without lecturing. Signature stories can help change the conversation when a brand is in a crisis. Signature stories are vehicles to promote the strategic message. Aaker states that an organization must be story friendly.

Do you use storytelling to promote your hospitality business? If so, please comment below.

 

The Power of Visual Storytelling: Twitter

visual storytelling Twitter

The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand is a fantastic online marketing book for businesses.  Authors Ekaterina Walter (@Ekaterina)and Jessica Gioglio (@savvybostonian) do an excellent job of giving practical advice that businesses can apply to better market themselves online.  This particular blog post focuses on what the authors tell us about Twitter.

 

Twitter is an innovative marketing tool as well as a keen way for businesses to connect with their audiences and provide quality customer service.  In fact, of all the social media platforms, Twitter is currently the most popular with Fortune Global 100 Companies.

Super Twitter Statistics:

  • More than half of all links shared on Twitter are images
  • Over 460,000 accounts are created every day
  • 20.6 million adults in the United States access Twitter at least once a month
  • 177 million tweets are sent every day
  • 24% of Twitter users check Twitter at least once a day
  • 54% of Twitter users are male and 46% are female
  • 46% of users are aged 18-34, so a high percentage of young people
  • 67% of users more likely to buy products from brands they follow on Twitter

Smart Twitter Capabilities:

  • Companies that use Twitter gain twice the number of leads each month that their non-tweeting counterparts
  • Twitter cards make it possible to attached media experiences to tweet that link to your content
  • Tweets that link to participating websites can be expanded by users to show a whole range of media
  • If you add the code on your own site, you can determine what sort of content will be shown by a Twitter link
  • Users interested in a particular offer or promotion will be able to fill out a field on the card
  • That field links their existing information, allowing them to quickly register

Savvy Twitter Strategies:

  • Develop your company’s voice
  • Tweet around several key passion points
  • Provide company news and updates
  • Offer unique deals to your Twitter followers
  • Give your clients (and potential clients) excellent customer service
  • Know what you want your followers to associate with your brand
  • Give them reasons to follow your company
  • The photos and videos you share should integrate with your overall strategy
  • Show a more relaxed side to your brand
  • Each tweet should be able to be understood on its own
  • Mix up your content
  • Ask questions to spark conversations
  • Use links to articles, photos, videos, and blog posts
  • Retweet your followers
  • Find out what your followers are interested in and share that
  • Use hashtags (#) to join in bigger conversations on a topic or start your own (#)
  • Use calls to action including RT (retweet)
  • Consider the locations and time zones of your audience
  • Use Promoted Tweet or Trend features to support your key messages

Given the popularity of Twitter and its capabilities, it makes sense for businesses to follow these social media strategies in order to promote their business and provide excellent customer service.  A special thank you to authors Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio for letting me share some of the content in their book.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Fun Bed and Breakfast Retreats

fun bed and breakfast retreats

I went online to BnB Finder to search for bed and breakfasts and to my pleasant surprise, I found some fun bed and breakfast retreats. These retreats include a board game tournament, a night walk, private art classes, and a literary weekend.  Typically, most bed and breakfasts do not offer these kinds of special retreats which makes these bed and breakfasts all the more attractive. Read on for more retreat ideas that you can apply to grow your own B&B business.

 

In Saugatuck, Michigan (near where I grew up in Holland, Michigan) at Sherwood Forest Bed and Breakfast they offer a Monopoly Tournament from November through April. If the entire B&B is booked, they promise to organize the “hippest” Monopoly Tournament ever played! The winner receives a complete set of Sherwood Forest Gear.  Lunch will be catered. This offer may expire at the end of this year.  Call for details at 800-838-1246. This reminds me of my Pinterest Board called Bed and Breakfast Games which features different board games and game rooms at various bed and breakfasts.

In the Saratoga Region of New York at Mariaville Lake Bed and Breakfast, they offer a Night Walk for a small extra fee.  This B&B invites guests to take a walk, guided by the innkeeper, to experience the full night sky. Guests will use a night vision scope and will be amazed at what they can see such as beavers working hard at their famous beaver pond. Advance notice is required and subject to availability and weather conditions. The offer may expire at the end of this year.  Contact the innkeeper for more details.

In the Hudson Valley Region of New York, at the Pine Bush House, they offer Stay and Paint private art classes with local artist Lana Privitera.  Originally from Spain, Lana graduated from the Fine Arts School of Zaragoza, where she majored in Fashion Design and Art History. Lana has won numerous art awards.  She is the current Art Curator for the Pine Bush Public Library.  A sampling of her work can be found on her website.

Currently, there are one day and two day Watercolor Workshops (four hours each) available and all tailored to suit individual needs, taste, and ability.  Supplies loaned by the instructor, but guests have the opportunity to purchase.  Guests receive one FREE double white mat and backing piece (plus an acetate sleeve to protect their “masterpiece”).  A list of art material suppliers as well as recommended art books will be provided.

Contact Lana Privitera at lanaprivitera@gmail.com or Barbara at barbara@pinebushhouse.com for detailed pricing! Discounts available if staying two or more nights.  This opportunity is available at least through June 20, 2015.

In lovely Vermont, The Governor’s House in Hyde Park offers Jane Austen Weekends full of literary-inspired diversions.  Quietly slip back into Regency England in a beautiful historic mansion.  Take afternoon tea.  Share your thoughts at a book discussion.  Attend an informal talk over desserts. Test your knowledge at the quiz brunch and possibly take home a prize.

Take a carriage ride or sleigh ride (depending upon the season).  Join every activity or simply spend the weekend watching the movies. Try English country dancing. Dress in whichever century suits you. Jane Austen fans unite!

Examples of bed and breakfast retreats, special packages, and events include:

Innkeepers are only limited by their imagination.  So get creative and think about what you have passion for. What interests, skills, experience, and talents do you have?  Innkeepers do not have to be the instructors.  In the Stay and Paint retreat example, the innkeeper has a professional artist and art curator coming to her inn. Arrangements can be made with the experts hosting the event if they are not the bed and breakfast owners or innkeepers.

If you are a bed and breakfast owner or innkeeper and have been successful with a particular retreat, package, excursion, or other event at your B&B, I would love to know about it.  Write about your successes to Kristi Dement below.  I promise to read every comment and reply when appropriate.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Kristi’s Promise to You

Kristis promise to you

 

Kristi’s promise to you. I am 100% dedicated and committed to my clients.  I love writing and I love bed and breakfasts.  If I say that something will be completed by a particular date, it will be.  Honesty, integrity, and respect are important to me. I keep my word and always strive to exceed my clients’ expectations.

 

I love learning.  That is why I write blogs.  I get to investigate whatever I write about to make sure I have the best and most attention-grabbing information for my clients’ audiences. Bed and breakfast owners can count on me to discuss issues that are important to their potential guests and it can range from their area’s attractions to each bed and breakfast’s history to the delicious breakfast they serve to the decor and amenities of their inn’s rooms.

I make it my passion to be passionate about my clients’ bed and breakfasts.  When you succeed, I succeed.  I enjoy helping bed and breakfast owners reach new business goals such as increasing and consistently full occupancy rates! When you need a blog with regularly updated fresh content or a greater social media presence, I have the friendly personality and attention to detail you need to get it done right.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography