(Your brand actually has 3 main parts. In this article focuses on the two 2 most obvious. We'll nail the 3rd part next time.)

#1: THE STORY: Your brand has many moving parts. There's the logo, slogan, mission statement, bio, history, website, photos and advertisements. These are all parts of the story. They sit on top of the brand, attempting to keep old customers close and draw new ones in.

#2: THE STUFF: Then there's the customer's experience as they consume your products and services. This is the actual STUFF they get. If you're a gas station, you sell gas, sodas and those silly cigarette lighters shaped like a corvette. All STUFF. And there's more. You have restrooms, lighting, floors, coffee makers and cashiers. This is all the STUFF a customer sees.

While STORY is influential, the STUFF is most important. A great story can definitely change a business. It can excite, engage and inspire. But too many labor under the delusion that all they need is a great STORY, and business will boom. But your STORY must be a reflection of the STUFF. Bad STUFF will sink a great STORY.

Big ads can broadcast all day long about the new fancy gas station in town, their amazing cleanliness and spotless restrooms. But if customers arrive to find soiled toilets and overflowing sinks, the story vaporizes.

Worse yet, the STORY becomes a lie. The gas station and its marketing team become liars. And once we know it they lose all credibility. Next time around when they lure us in with stories of amazing donuts, even if they've got the best in town (amazing STUFF!) we won't know it because their STORY is no longer trusted.

Luckily, you know the secret. You know how to avoid the delusion. STORY can't fix STUFF. A STORY can't clean the bathroom stall or scrub a sink.

The great STORY gets repeated when it's reflecting great STUFF! So you make life simple, throwing out all the fancy meetings and expensive advertisements. You sit back on your work ethic, coasting back to basics. And before long you're beating them all because you're the one willing to tell your STORY with a mop.