Every month, Danielle Nazinitsky at Soho Strut brings together neighborhood businesses and agencies in Soho to network and discuss how we can help our neighborhood thrive. This month, Kworq was excited to host the breakfast for over 10 brands. We thought it would be fun to share our story-driven approach to advertising with the retailers and galleries that joined us last week, so we put together a little Storytelling Bootcamp.
A SUCCESSFUL BRAND
Why do successful brands have such loyal customers? At bootcamp we talked about three brands (old and new) we love; REI, Shinola Detroit, and WildFang. Three very different brands with one thing in common: they have solid brand stories and identities that they live through and through.
REI is about experiences over things, by truly embodying that narrative they successfully sell those things you need for great outdoor experiences. We talked about their famous #OptOutside campaign and how every employee embraces their story – including salespeople who don’t ask you what you’re looking to buy but instead what adventure you’re going on.
Shinola Detroit is a brand that prides itself on fine American (Detroit) manufacturing which in turn helps build up the middle class. Their website and social media is filled with stories that reflect that mission – they produce videos highlighting the manufacturing process and allow their factory workers to tell their own stories. Their own CMO Bridget Russo says, “Shinola is about a community of people – everyone counts. We are inspired by one another.”
Wildfang was born out of rebellion. Two women who identified as tomboys were sick of buying men’s clothes that didn’t fit them properly. So they decided to make their own. Their imagery is fierce, badass, defiant. Their copy is honest and unapologetic. They sell clothing benefiting causes they passionately support. They live their story. This particularly awesome image is from a blog post titled #GameFace featuring young female athletes in anticipation of the Women’s World Cup.
Even though we preach the importance of story, we know in 2016 it’s a buzzword. Everyone talks about story because these times we’re living in are crowded. The internet is crowded. Our brains are crowded. We don’t want more meaningless content and advertisements thrown in our face. Knowing this, our bootcamp had three very important takeaways:
Customers align with brands that reflect their own values.
Branding is not a logo or marking, it’s the entire brand experience.
Story is a buzzword and finding it takes time.
FINDING THE STORY
Like we said, it takes time. Our bootcamp left our guests with a little bit of homework to do on their own stories. Brands like Rag & Bone, Halston, and David Yurman all left with a worksheet asking themselves and their employees four important questions to be answered. We even use this exercise to reflect on our own values and make sure we’re aligned as an agency. Self-reflection as a brand or company is invaluable. As an agency we have to know why we’re here in order to successfully sell our services to anyone else. As a brand or retailer (local or not) it’s important to know why you’re here as well – what makes you better than the rest? Once you know the answer to that question you can start convincing others.