One of the first questions I ask anyone I interview is: “What’s your story?” I ask that for one reason: I find that sometimes it’s hard to see through the press releases, products or branding to identify the real USPs worth writing about in our magazine issues. You need to sell your story through PR first before your products.
HOW TO DEFINE YOUR STORY
A story should be at the centre of any brand’s communication with the outside world. It’s what makes you and equally your brand different. You may not be aware of it but your personal story might help you to stand out from the crowd. Moreover, once you have a solid story, you’ll be helping editors and journalists with content, and getting a better chance of being featured.
One of the best ways, I find, how to define your story is to identify TRIGGER POINTS. Here are some questions to help you with that:
1. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR JOURNEY SO FAR?
Trigger points: Any frustrations, breaking points, problems or challenges you faced. This is probably the most insightful resource for your story. No-one is like you nor experienced your life/journey therefore your story is unique. You need to stand up to your past and own it!! The most common trigger points I find through interviews are: genuine unhappiness, health scare or death, divorce, work-related pressures such as redundancy, stressful and unhealthy working environment, and relocating to another country. Most of these can be negative experiences that have so much impact on one’s mind that causes a significant mindset shift.
2. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF YOUR BRAND?
Trigger points: Why did you decide to start your brand, why does the world need it? What benefits your customer gain from buying from you? Remember, your personal interest is irrelevant, it’s more about helping your customers finding a solution to a problem. Did you have the same problem? Did you spot that there is a problem but you couldn’t find a solution to it, and hence came up with the idea yourself?
3. WHAT IS DIFFERENT ABOUT YOUR BRAND?
Trigger points: Using your personal experiences and passion clarify USPs that define the business concept. Find three keywords or a phrase that define your brand. Be careful with using words such as luxury, affordable or unique. I find those words overused and not specific enough. Think of words that represent your brand’s purpose.
For example, ESTILA’s phrase is: “empower through style and colour”. The meaning behind it is that style is about finding who you are, not who you think you want to be. Both style and colour are tools that empower you to be more confident. They both contribute to your purpose in life. And once you find your purpose you become unstoppable.
4. WHAT IS YOUR MISSION WITH YOUR BRAND?
Trigger points: Define how you want your customer to feel and what lifestyle or aspirations you want to create? Is there a long term plan you have with your brand? Are you helping a charity, the environment or anything or anyone else? Tell me why I need to know about it.
For example, Estila’s mission to is show women that you can achieve anything once you put your mind to it. We do that through the interviews with creative women who founded and run emerging labels and brands. These interviews are resources for inspiration but also they hopefully trigger ideas in terms of business strategies, marketing, selling and more.
SELL YOUR STORY THROUGH PR
Once you have your trigger points, USPs, purpose and mission narrowed down, you can write your story, which can be used as a framework for press releases, articles, blog posts or for micro-blogging on Instagram. It should be around 250 words. You can use the text for the following:
- Social media posts, tweets, profile and descriptions (using your keywords)
- Website – in particular on your about page, home page with your mission (statement), blog
- Content creation – creating various topics around your mission, purpose, goals for:
a/ blog articles
c/ list building content
- Pitching to press and collaborators
If you want to be part of a community that will help you with this, you can join our Atelier of Success, which is a private Facebook business group set up especially for creative lifestyle brands and artists. This is where I encourage sharing business knowledge and creating business opportunities through collaborations on pop-ups, trade shows, special promotions and social media exposure. If that’s something of interest, you can request to join here.