Marketing genius Seth Godin once wrote, “Great marketers don’t make stuff. They make meaning.” Creating a brand isn’t just about selling products; it’s also about selling a story and lifestyle that customers want to be a part of. Having a strong story and personality for your brand can help spark a human connection with people, and that can turn into sales. Find out how to tell a strong story, how it connects you to customers, and why it matters.
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Have a voice
Have you ever had a friend tell you, “this totally sounds like something you would say”? Make your brand voice that unique! Having a voice sets your brand apart and makes you identifiable. Use a consistent, genuine tone in your social media posts, your About page, bios, blog posts, product descriptions, etc. Get creative! Look at artist Jake Lawrence as an example; he has a consistent voice not only in his Artist Shop descriptions and social posts, but also in his comics.
Post with a purpose
Everything you post on social media – both your own posts and the things you share – gives people an idea of who you are and what you’re about, further adding to your story. Use your social media posts as an opportunity to build and enforce the narrative. The Story of Telling puts it this way: “Your story isn’t just what you tell people, it’s also what they believe about you based on the signals your brand sends.” This is why it’s crucial to share things that 1: you know your audience will enjoy and 2: are relevant to both you and them. The ART+marketing Medium account does a great job of this by sharing content that all shares a similar theme. You know exactly what you’re getting when you follow them.
This isn’t just blog writer bias. A recent Hubspot article stated that 85% of bloggers say their blog delivers solid results. Starting a blog gives you another place to use your voice and enforce your brand in a shareable way. Cartoonist Christine Nishiyama does this well, crafting relatable articles that feature her own illustrations on Medium. Her articles are personal yet relatable; we can all put ourselves in her shoes, connecting the reader with her as a person while also getting them interested in her work! Connecting on a human level is your foot in the door to further interest.
Know your audience
One of the best ways of developing a voice that resonates with your audience is knowing your audience. Are you appealing to an outdoorsy crowd? A crowd with a dark sense of humor? A crowd that likes positive, feel-good messages? The reason sharing your story works is because, in the end, it’s not about you – it’s about enforcing a story that customers can see themselves being a part of and that they want to buy into. The Story of Telling put it best when they said, “Creating a brand story is not simply about standing out and getting noticed. It’s about building something that people care about and want to buy into.”
Use your product descriptions to insert a little personality into your online store (not to mention, boost your SEO with keywords). Give each design a little backstory, cute narrative, or just include a funny/meaningful description. For charity Artist Shop owner Coup Tees (run by Ben the Illustrator), design descriptions are crucial. He uses them to describe the artist behind each design and the charity they’re donating to:
About page & bios
Your site’s About page and your social media bios exist for the sole purpose of storytelling; communicating to viewers who you are, what to expect from you, and where else to find you. Don’t take these sections for granted! Fill them out to give people an idea of what you’re all about.
Let people in a little bit! Show off pics of your workspace, of your cat sitting on your tablet while you’re trying to draw, WIP sketches, fanboy/girl about a show you’ve been bingeing lately, let people know when you’re really excited about a piece of art or an event you’re working on, etc.! Artist/speaker/podcast extraordinaire Andy J. Pizza shares a ton of his sketches and photos of events he runs, but he’s also not shy about sharing relatable struggles and stories and letting people into his process – both artistic and personal. And that helps people connect.
Be a person!!
Telling your brand story is about telling a story that others can connect to and will want to be a part of. We connect and make friends with people who are similar to us, who help us grow, add to our lives, and above all, who are genuine. By enforcing your brand story you build a brand people will buy into to enforce their own. Be human, be genuine, and be a person who wants to connect.
Other helpful sources:
- “The Beginners Guide to Online Marketing” – Quicksprout
- “Brand Story” – The Story of Telling
- Seth Godin
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Featured illustration by Katie Lukes
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