Never forget where your story began…

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Never forget where your story began, whether that was in the garden shed at the bottom of the garden or your spare room, we all started somewhere.

By telling your story and not forgetting to keep harking back to the how, when, where and what you keep your authenticity as a brand.

Geoff Mead founder of Narrative Leadership Associates says “Stories involve specific events that happen to particular characters, so narratives that veer towards generalities, explanations and abstractions, or which insist on telling their moral or meaning, have abandoned storytelling in favour of advocacy. They lose their extraordinary ability to stimulate both the feelings and imagination of the teller and the audience.”

Your story is unique to you and should be used as the foundation of the business from which to create the values and vision, not just when it comes to creating your new promotional campaign.

The fact that you started your business from the back of a van when you were sixteen, or in your parents spare bedroom when you were twenty two shows how far you have come and should be something to be proud of. Play with the elements of your story, for example a sketched illustration of that van which is motif behind the receptionist in your brand new city office.

Happy storytelling!

More reading: https://www.marketingweek.com/2016/02/28/why-brand-storytelling-should-be-the-foundation-of-a-growth-strategy/

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Hanging on the telephone

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It’s no secret that I like people.

I’m what you’d call a people person, someone who will gladly natter away to a stranger about the joys of Vale de Lobo or The George at Stamford (two holiday destinations I rate highly by the way!) on a train journey or while waiting in a queue…

So when one of my clients asked if I would like to make outbound calls to their dormant clients, I jumped at the chance! No seriously, I’m telling you, that’s fun for me 🙂 After some quick successes in reawakening these sleepy clients, I have now been crowned with the title of Client Engagement Officer! Huzzah to that!

This is a sign of things to come for The Storyteller… although I will imminently be taking some time off to create a little baby storyteller, I intend to return to work next Summer bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to build up this area of expertise. I will be offering this service to all clients and prospects so to help them keep their clients engaged with their business through a little light conversation from time to time. – Oh how this form of marketing is still so valuable and effective.

All hail the telephone!

 

Building Brand You

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We’re not very good at this are we? As Brits we tend to be far too humble to toot our own horn and blow our own trumpets about how good we are.

Scrap that! Take a leaf out of the American’s book and become more accustomed to selling yourself!

Whether you’re looking to go it alone with a business idea or just looking for a change in career, creating a compelling personal brand will help you succeed. 

All an employee or future client has to do these days is type your name in to Google and voila, they’ve got your digital footprint at their fingertips, from Facebook profile to latest tweet! So, go on, google yourself right now and consider is that what you want to portray?

Otegha Uwagba, founder of Women Who recently wrote the following tips for her Red Magazine feature:

  1. Find your niche (Consider what your strengths are/ what people praise you for?)
  2. Be vocal about your values (What motivates and excites you? Is it looking after our planet or collaborating for example?)
  3. Get social (Likely to be the first thing that people stumble upon, and a quick and sure route to establishing your self brand.)
  4. Tell a story (Ah! Yes, people love a good story and would rather hear your tale than facts. Your story is unique to you, so rehearse it and tell it.)
  5. Do the work (This is what will make you. Don’t forget building your personal brand is just the icing on the cake!)

What will you create?

Feathers and Diamantes aren’t everyone’s taste

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I recently gave a talk to small business owners on brand storytelling. To explain one of my points on what you should be posting as a small and upcoming brand, I use the following analogy:

Imagine if you will, you are pootling (my word for wandering) around town and come across an independent boutique; you walk in and the bell on the door dings and the windchimes chime. So much for going unnoticed?! You’re spotted immediately by the overdressed owner as she pretends to busy herself with some piece of tat.

Anyway, as you make your way around the postage stamp sized shop with the owners’ eyes firmly on you, you soon realise there’s nothing for you there. Why? Because it is filled to the rafters with THEIR taste! You know, the bling notepads, the feather calligraphy pens, the overpriced soaps which you are supposed to choose and slot in to the so conveniently placed paper bags.

My point? The shop owner has stocked her shop with items SHE herself likes, with not so much as a thought for you or I. This the same as if you are a small brand posting social media content, it’s not all about you and what you want your brand to be. Think about your audience and what they might want to see and a little you is fine – you are after all part of the brand, just not the latest snap of what you had to eat on your weekend away at Bamburgh!

Keep that balance, 80% the brand, 20% you is a good benchmark.

 

We Heart Holly

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Holly Willoughby started her TV career in the noughties. From Surprise Surprise, to Dancing on Ice to The Voice, Holly has become the nation’s sweetheart.

With her net value calculated at $8 million dollars some 2 years ago, she is a brand in herself.

Part of the prestigious James Grant Management agency, home to Ant and Dec and friend of mine, Andi Peters, Holly is now looking to launch her own brand this Autumn, Truly ‘A new lifestyle brand’ which has already seen a hugely positive response. Find out more: http://www.truly.co.uk/

So, what is it about Holly that makes us love her so much?

She is likeable! Her curvy frame, infectious smile and totally down to earth manner is makes her approachable, she is wholesome and represents the best friend we’ve always wanted. She also makes us aspire to be more like her which we feel is achievable!

Look out world, for one very successful brand who knows exactly who its target market is!

The fastest growing language, emojis

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Today is World Emoji Day, I know I know, there’s a day for everything these days isn’t there?!

However, since the arrival of these little storytelling conduits, by mobile internet employee Shigetaka Kurita in 1999 we’ve come to rely on them quite somewhat.

Emojis started their life in Japan in the late nineties but didn’t become popular in the UK until 2010 onwards, when our technology caught up, forming what is now a global language of its own. In fact it is the fastest growing language than any other ancient form of communication, including hieroglyphics!

Emojis are now a huge part of our popular culture, not only that, but they are a conduit to the way in which we tell stories both personally and professionally on a daily basis. 72% of 18 – 25 years find it easier to communicate via emojis as opposed to text.

Although these little colourful character are enabling generation y to communicate and the rest of us for that matter, is it not also stopping them from getting a proper handle of the English language?

Are you currently using emojis in your business? Emojis can be a great way of adding weight to your copy. However, I would be inclined to use emojis more if you are targeting a younger demographic such as a beauty brand aimed at 13-19 year olds. Remember your audience.

Mind the gap

mind the gap

When I decided to go it alone two and a half years ago, it was scary but I soon heard myself saying “Why didn’t I do this before now?”

I cannot tell you how often I speak to nine to fivers who say “I’d love to go it alone, but I don’t know what I’d do..?!”

“That’s simple.” I reply.

Consider what you are passionate about, whether that’s food, fashion or folk. Find the gap in the market and identify the pain (read more: http://blog.folksy.com/2015/09/14/how-to-find-your-niche)

McDonalds recently launch McDelivery when they recognised the pain of their customers having to travel to get their fix. Though a little behind the times, Deliveroo and others have been quite successful at this for some years now, this is McDonalds identifying the pain and creating a solution.

So stop coming up with excuses, get that pen and paper out and be creative, what will you do?

 

NEOM or Neom

neomI often talk about the importance of a name when it comes to a brand.

Nowadays, when brand strategists are working on the creation of a brand and its values, they are often thinking of the consumer’s purchasing and searching behaviours as it were.

SEO experts are enrolled to help brands capture every search term possible for their brand, they will even go so far as to list misspelt terms such as ‘Dacebook’ or ‘Faxebook’.

So, when it comes to the small (and lovely, might I add?) wellbeing brand based in Harrogate, NEOM they’ve got more than they bargained for choosing that four lettered brand name… Neom is also the new name for the yet-to-be-built fairy tale city in the sand in Saudi Arabia. Currently being searched tens of thousands of times in the UK, thus creating unforeseen brand awareness and sales for the wellbeing brand.

Now that’s a good name!

The next gen of entrepreneurs

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I am delighted to have been asked to be on the Careers Panel for the Ahead Partnership careers briefing at Hanson School, Bradford next week.

The Ahead Partnership does incredible work within the community, helping to connect both educational bodies to enterprises.

Put it this way, when I was at comprehensive secondary school the careers advice was, let’s just say lacking. It consisted of two sessions a year, an hour long each where I was given a questionnaire to fill out. If I answered mainly A’s, which is what I did, I was told I would be a baker! Really? Me? Someone who would rather order my favourite curry house takeaway, I don’t think so.

The point I am trying to make here, so ineloquently, is that times have moved forward and I don’t think ‘being an entrepreneur’ was ever given to me as an option when I was at school. Hence, why I jumped at the chance to pass on my pearls to these Hanson school students.

Let’s hope I help to inspire the next generation of Richard Bransons!

Find out more about what they do: http://www.aheadpartnership.org.uk/