"Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was a little girl who wore a red hood everywhere she went.

One day, her mother sent her to her grandmother's house in the next village, with some goodies in a basket. In order to get there, the little girl had to go through the woods. And, in the woods, she met a big, bad wolf. The wolf wanted to eat her up right there, but there were some woodcutters not so far off who would have chopped him to bits, so instead, he started talking to her.

"Where are you going with all those nice goodies?" the wolf asked. Now, the little girl didn't know that wolves were scary, and had no idea that one would want to eat her up. So, she told the wolf all about her grandmother's house, and the goodies, and whatever else she could think of.

The wolf took this information and raced to the grandmother's house, where he immediately ate the grandmother up. Then the wolf got dressed in her clothes and climbed into the grandmother's bed, and waited for the little girl, who would be much tastier than the old woman.

Finally the little girl arrived. They had a nice conversation about how big grandma's ears had gotten, and her teeth, and how well suited the wolf's mouth was for eating up little girls. And, finally, he got to eat the little girl all up."

It may not seem like the story of Little Red Riding Hood has much of a parallel to your business's brand. But, a good brand can be a lot like a story. Instead of being a story of a little girl going on a journey, and overcoming different challenges, the brand is the story of how you take your customer from just learning about your business to becoming a customer.

"Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was a little girl who wore a red hood everywhere she went."

This is what the introduction to your brand should look like. Notice that instead of trying to tell you all of the details about what's going to happen in the story, this story picks out just a couple of important details. And, one of those details – the red hood – is a big differentiator for the main character. 

This is what the first introduction to your business – your main brand statement – needs to look like. Instead of trying to tell your clients every detail about your business and creating a confusing introduction, stick to the must-know facts – and if there's a differentiating factor in there, then that can be a big help.

"One day, her mother sent her to her grandmother's house in the next village, with some goodies in a basket. In order to get there, the little girl had to go through the woods. And, in the woods, she met a big, bad wolf. The wolf wanted to eat her up right there, but there were some woodcutters not so far off who would have chopped him to bits, so instead, he started talking to her."

Now, here's a bit of background – the situation that all this is set in. Plus, you've got the first problem statement – what big, bad wolf do you help your clients tackle?

"'Where are you going with all those nice goodies?' the wolf asked. Now, the little girl didn't know that wolves were scary, and had no idea that one would want to eat her up. So, she told the wolf all about her grandmother's house, and the goodies, and whatever else she could think of."

This section parallels how you should ask your clients questions about their needs, wants and problems, in order to uncover how you can really help them (not eat them up!)

"The wolf took this information and raced to the grandmother's house, where he immediately ate the grandmother up. Then the wolf got dressed in her clothes and climbed into the grandmother's bed, and waited for the little girl, who would be much tastier than the old woman."

Now, this is a bit extreme – you don't want to take the feedback you get from your customers and use it to trap them. But, you should write your brand statements and marketing packages to address their needs, in their words. And, think about who your best (tastiest) clients are – and how you can set yourself up to fill their expectations.

"Finally the little girl arrived. They had a nice conversation about how big grandma's ears had gotten, and her teeth, and how well suited the wolf's mouth was for eating up little girls. And, finally, he got to eat the little girl all up."

Again, tell your clients what characteristics make you stand out – this may be your personality, your services, your differentiators, or the type of client you specialize in serving. While you probably don't want to eat your clients all up, you do want to form a good business relationship with them, by letting them know what to expect beforehand. And, telling them what makes you stand out can make the job of sales and of working with them easier for you.

What does your business's fairy tale look like? And how can you create a story that you can tell to your clients to help you live "happily ever after" together?