7 Tips to Promote Your Brand with Engaging Storytelling

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At the heart of effective brand building will always be engaging storytelling. Storytelling enables your audience to understand why you exist not just what you sell. Consumers will struggle to build affinity with a product or company, but a great story can help solidify certain qualities that the brand represents and who has a better story than Fair Trade? Whether it is a social media campaign, print advertisement or thank you card there are ways to use storytelling to convey a strong identity. As Fair Traders we have so many stories that sometimes we forget to tell them.

#1 Think About Your Hook

brandingstoryA good story will contain a hook that draws people into the narrative. Across all types of media, people are attracted to stories of underdogs and triumphs over adversity. Another common story is of a journey or quest to achieve a major goal. Alternatively, adding some humor can work, with a strange situation or a happy accident that helped in the building of your business.  It’s rare that a Fair Trade business started with a lot of analysis and forethought — the serendipitous answer to “How did you get into this?” often makes for a fascinating hook. At Global Crafts Wholesale we recently launched a Thank You story telling our partners both how grateful we are and some interesting facts about how we got here.

#2 Study Others

There are really only a limited number of broad narratives you can use, but they can be shaped with their own characteristics. Studying a variety of sources, including similar brands, television shows, movies, and novels, will uncover a host of ideas you can adapt. Your story should be personal and unique, but don’t be afraid to draw inspiration from established sources.

#3 Develop Brand Personality

Personality is integral to brand development, with customers reluctant to trust a faceless organization. A brand does not have to be built around an individual person, but an ethos, identity, or outlook can give something to believe in. The company founder may have an interesting story that can be developed or you can tell the story of the artisans you work with.

#4 Target Different Media

There are numerous outlets for promoting your brand, so look to tailor the message for the specific platform. Videos can tell a longer story, making use of narrative, visuals, and slogans. Social media and print ads have less space to tell a story, but you can still achieve a lot in an image. Various aspects, including color, font, logo, and design, all convey something to the viewer, so look to develop styles and threads that can run through all your promotional work.

#5 Authenticity

As Fair Traders we have lots of stories, so it’s easy to be authentic. Being too creative will lead to problems. A false or exaggerated story will eventually be found out as your brand grows, but most audiences can sense a problem before this happens. Look for authenticity in your storytelling, avoiding a disconnect between the company and the message. Of course, your story will need to be crafted for it to become memorable, but at its core it should be authentic.

#6 Avoid Overt Marketing

There are occasions, such as a promotion on a shopping channel, where heavily promoting products will work. However, where you are attempting to build your brand over the long term, avoiding overt marketing will prove more successful. Focusing on the story of your brand, the emotions associated with a purchase, and the benefits of your products will help to make sales, but will stay with your audience far longer.

#7 Be Memorable

A good story is hard to forget. Over time, whenever a person hears your brand being mentioned they will recall the emotions expressed through your advertising. Memorable branding can deeply embed an idea about your business, whether that is a feeling of solidarity, fairness, luxury, inclusiveness, quirkiness, or any other powerful emotion.

Using these techniques, creating a compelling story is easily achievable, especially for those of us fortunate enough to work across cultures, improving lives through Fair Trade. Your story can be developed to build your brand across a variety of platforms. Many purchases are made for emotional reasons, so the ability to tap into these emotions can help you create a sustainable business.

Kevin is a co founder of Global Crafts. Prior to starting Global Crafts in 2002 Kevin was a VSO volunteer in Kenya from 1999 to 2002 teaching Computer Science at Kisumu Polytechnic. In a past life he was a chef for 8 years before returning to education to get a degree in Sociology, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and a Msc in Computer Systems.

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