Just a few days ago I was documenting myself for an upcoming video I’m recording with The Freelance Box – and I realized that branding goes hand in hand with online personas.
What is a persona? It’s who we are in real life, or what we would like our brand to be in real life transposed onto screen, onto web. In short: it’s our online avatar. This should be true to what we are in real life because:
- people / customers / fan base / readers would expect you to be so;
- it conveys more reliability and trust (and that’s a key to branding);
- it’s more fun to be yourself!
It means being comfortable sharing the uncomfortable, being a little bit vulnerable and allowing yourself to let that show.It’s not just about being unpolished though, it’s also about the fact that you are allowing yourself to be seen. Truly seen.How can you be more three-dimensional in your marketing in your writing and your video content? Tell stories. Share your inner thoughts. Be your goofy self. Develop and cultivate your own style.
That’s why storytelling is so crucial.
Think of this amazing (and very vintage!) Barilla pasta ad, or Chanel with the first-ever male protagonist for number 5 or my beloved Nespresso.
Apple as usual is avant-garde in what they do and they proved it with this 1984-esque ad. Google did something very nice that always brings me to tears, I admit.
So why is storytelling so important for us as freelancers?
Branding Strategy Insider puts it very clear in this list:
These are priorities that play on the minds of consumers:
- Is the brand desirable both aesthetically and functionally?
- Does the brand’s image and reputation fit with who they are? Is this a brand they will be proud to be seen with?
- Is the brand well made?
- Is it well supported across a range of channels? Can it be easily accessed?
- Does it respond?
- Is it made by a company that behaves ethically?
- Is the brand interesting? Is it in the news? Do people talk about it?
- Who’s the brand associated with? Who speaks for the brand?
- Are they someone the buyer admires?
- Is the brand consistent? Do consumers get what they think they’re getting?
- Is it easy to find? Is the choice set manageable and not overly-complicated?
- Is it priced right?
For this reason, we need to make sure they choose us over someone else. And we tell OUR story, that’s half way to the goal. All these elements are summarized by Jon Ham, chief creative and innovation officer at Momentum Worldwide, for ADWeek:
The most powerful way to persuade someone of your idea is by uniting the idea with an emotion. But we need to recognize that it demands insight and skill to present an idea that packs enough emotional power.
We can sell “things, or “products” or we can sell so much more—something with meaning, with insight, with a goal.
Find a spin and tell your story is ultimately the bottom line.
So, how do you spin stories for your product or service?
Forbes gives a nice hint for this – and I adapted to translation:
If your company offers the best deal, why is that?
My adaptation: If you’re a translator, maybe you should talk about your love of words and languages when you were in school. Everybody started somewhere and somehow and everyone has a story of their own.
How can you do storytelling?
- be yourself
- be conversational
- be human
- use videos, graphics, contests, quotes, images, real life examples
- find inspiration: Pinterest
- find something you’re passionate about and tell the truth
- don’t be afraid to show you’re vulnerable
- look at big examples: they all started from a small story.
Here’s a nice visual summary from QuickSprout:
Some more inspiration?
- Nice online course: in Italian http://www.ninjacademy.it/corsi/corso-online-in-corporate-storytelling.html
- Beginners’ guide to online marketing http://www.quicksprout.com/the-beginners-guide-to-online-marketing-chapter-3/
- What is corporate storytelling http://www.thecorporatestoryteller.com/storytelling.html
- Kevin Spacey and House of Cards http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2013/08/corporate-storytelling-lessons-kevin-spacey/
- Storytelling and trends http://www.marketingweek.co.uk/trends/brand-storytelling-narrative-theory/4007279.article
- Why you need to embrace storytelling http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/why-agencies-and-brands-need-embrace-true-storytelling-152534