Is Your Brand Story Forgettable?
Written by Gelaine Santiago, Peace flag house Content Strategist
Tell me if this sounds familiar.
You spent hours picking a gorgeous theme for your website. You wrote out your descriptions, toiled over your ‘About Us’ page, and even went through the trouble of hiring a photographer to take stunning product shots.
You’re bubbling with excitement to tell people about your business. You post on social media to share your story AND...
To many online entrepreneurs striving to make a dollar AND a difference, this story may feel all too familiar.
I should know. This story is mine.
Struggling To Get Noticed.
In 2015, my husband and I both quit our corporate jobs to create an e-commerce ethical fashion company. We envisioned a global marketplace featuring products made by artisans from all over the world.
“No one else is doing anything like this!” We told ourselves.
Of course, we were wrong.
We invested thousands of dollars into Facebook and Google ads, poured our hearts and souls into social media, did pop-ups and artisan markets every weekend.
Everyone who came across our brand thought it was a great idea.
Despite the positive feedback, sales were slow and loyal customers were scarce. No matter how hard we tried, our story just wasn’t sticking.
“This is lovely. Kudos to you guys!” people would say as they took our business cards and walked away, never to be heard from again.
This went on for two years.
What were we doing wrong?
Stop Marketing To The Masses.
Four years after I launched my first company, I realize now that what I THOUGHT was a unique story was not unique at all. Despite our initial assumptions, there’s no shortage of ethical, artisan, fair trade, minimalist (insert your choice of sustainable buzzwords here) brands out there.
What there is a shortage of?
Brands with a story that resonates.
As a content strategist for Peace Flag House, I get to meet many smart founders and purpose driven brands. But if you ask these founders WHO their target audience is, they’ll often respond with vague descriptors.
Instead of focusing on the community of people who will truly LOVE their brand, the majority of businesses get distracted. They attempt instead to appeal to everyone and capture the mass market.
In his book This Is Marketing, marketing expert and storytelling educator Seth Godin calls this your ‘minimum viable audience.’
Rather than making “average stuff for average people”, Godin says it’s more worth it to find 100 people who will truly LOVE what you do, rather than 1 million people who simply think “it’s cool.”
Finding My Community Of Uber Passionate People.
Eventually, we decided to switch directions for our company.
Rather than a global marketplace with products from all over the world, we narrowed down. As a Filipina-Canadian, I loved working with our artisan partners in the Philippines and the experience of reconnecting with my culture.
In 2018, we became Cambio & Co., an e-commerce fashion company working with Filipino artisans to celebrate Filipino craftsmanship, culture, and heritage. I began sharing my story of how I immigrated from the Philippines when I was young, how fashion helped me reconnect with my roots, and how we hope to inspire people around the world to wear their heritage on a daily basis.
The change was instant.
We had shrunk our audience significantly, but instead of the indifferent “oh cool” response we usually got, customers began tagging us all over Instagram.
Our online sales grew by over 500% within the next few months.
We stopped doing in-person events, and we even began to receive media attention, including a recent feature on Cosmopolitan Magazine.
All this because we changed our story and pursued only our most passionate audience.
What’s Your Unique Brand Story?
Finding your most passionate audience is tough work. It involves a lot of research, deep reflection, and courage to make some difficult decisions.
If you’re struggling, the first step is to research your market. Analyze your competitors. What kind of content are they sharing? What are the key themes they focus on? Who are they speaking to?
From there, ask yourself: What can I do better than the rest of them? And how do I turn this into a story that’s uniquely me?
There’s a lot of noise out there, especially in the online world. But as Seth Godin says, “if you have work that matters, then you can find people who care, without getting distracted by the nonbelievers.”
In the world of sustainability and ethical luxury, connecting with your most loyal tribe makes all the difference. Rather than trying to make the whole world care, what if you focused on empowering the people who will love your story the most?
How would that change your world? And the world we live in, too?
Darling, do you need help developing your unique story? We specialize in content strategy and storytelling for gorgeous brands who want to make an impact. Get in touch with our team - we’re lovely people.