The Strongest Connections Come From Telling Your Story

Your brand has a story to tell and an audience of customers waiting to hear it.

learn more about Israel Idonije

By Israel Idonije

Courtesy of Terrence Holt

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

This column is part of a series formed from a partnership between Entrepreneur and NFL Players Inc. Click here to see the other columns.

Your company provides a service or product, delivers a solution and/or improves some aspect of your customer's life, but at the end of the day you are dealing with people. The question is, are you connecting with them?

Connection is the heart and soul of any business. One of the best parts about being in the NFL was the many genuine relationships I made over the years. An important part of connecting in any relationship is being real. When sharing the things I've learned, I'm happy to tell both the mistakes and the successes.

Throughout history, stories have been at the core of connecting people. Telling the brand story of your company and your product builds relationships and effectively engages your target audience in a way that only you can do.

Your audience is overloaded every day from marketers competing to keep attention on their brand. The way to stand out is by sharing your brand's unique story. However, keep in mind the focus should be on the self-interest of your target audience, this means sharing what is in it for them.

Related: Storytelling Could Bring Your Brand to Life and Strengthen Your Marketing Impact

Ask yourself why should people care what your company has to say? What value do your customers get from your product or service? Why would they want to be part of your world?

When someone feels connected to a company or brand they are more likely to become a customer.

Brand storytelling is developing interest by being authentic, engaging and subtle. Start by answering these six questions:

  • How and why your company came to be?
  • What was the inspiration?
  • What is the history of your product/service/innovation?
  • Who are the people in your company?
  • What motivates you each day?
  • What is your corporate mission?

Related: From Bedtime to the Boardroom: Why Storytelling Matters in Business

Each of my ventures originated with a passion or a core belief. Athlitacomics started because I wanted to tell the origin story of our world's greatest athletes. What was the true source of their athletic ability? With that question in mind, the journey of creating The Protectors began.

I felt comics would be a fun, unique and powerful way to tell the story because I have experienced first hand how impactful comics are.

I think back to when I got my first comic books at thirteen and how they pulled me into reading while improving my reading comprehension. I went from a kid that hated reading to riding my Kuwahara to my neighborhood comic shop so I could spend my paper route money on Spiderman comics

Melding the two worlds of sports and comics seemed so natural to me. Our Athlitacomics team has done it in a genuine way with The Protectors and Sports Heroes. The Protectors is a fictional story about athletes, their purpose, and the true power behind their abilities. Comic legends Ron Marz and Bart Sears helped craft a cosmic superhero story about life, about choice, and about the opportunity for each of us to do more and be more.

We developed our Sports Heroes as an NFLPA licensee specifically to offer fans new options for wearable and collectible merchandise of their favorite NFL players.

As an athlete I had some incredible experiences. The Protectors and Sports Heroes have been a fun and engaging way to share some of those experiences with both comic enthusiasts and sports fans. I not only develop stories as my product but also tell the story of my brand to my fans so they can engage with me and know how important they are in the development of what we offer.

Related: It's Not You, It's Your Story: Why Branding Matters

Israel Idonije

Founder and CEO of ATHLiTACOMiCS

This author is part of a series formed from a partnership between Entrepreneur and NFL Players Inc. Click here to see the other columns.

Israel Idonije, an 11-year NFL veteran, is the founder and CEO of Athlitacomics, one of the first companies to offer a high-level blend of comic content, merchandise and properties that showcase professional athletics and super-heroic mythology. Idonije's entertainment company develops creator-owned and custom, commissioned art and stories to appeal to both sports fans and comic enthusiasts.

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