Storytelling. It’s something we’ve done as humans since our earliest days. It’s part of how we learn to be good people and also how we learn about our past. It’s a loaded word, to be sure. In very recent history it’s been adopted into talking about branding. In fact, I think it’s been tossed around so much it’s lost a little of its clarity. You might find yourself wondering what exactly it means and how it pertains to your small business. Is it only for big brands or established businesses?
Brands are not just a logo or a color palette. In fact, that statement is on the first page of the branding workbooks each of my clients receives when we start our process. It’s important to point out: anyone can have something beautiful, but what makes it meaningful and connective is when there is something beyond the “pretty”. That’s where storytelling comes in. Sometimes you have to dig deep to find it. It’s the way your brand sounds, acts, works and delivers – all tied up in the pretty package. The design details, the words, the color palette, and the logo – all of these elements are just part of the story.
Your story is what the beauty is built on.
For example, an interior designer comes to me wanting a new brand and website. I could probably whip something up that looks pretty and is functional. But does that serve a purpose for the client beyond the first impression? No. It’s the story we help them tell that will last. It’s the story that helps the brand move beyond what’s trendy today and be relevant tomorrow. So, how can you tell a story if you don’t’ know who you’re talking to? Digging in a discovering that the interior designer has a unique style or process, is popular with a very specific type of client, or has another part of their life that lends itself to making them excellent at their craft – these are all pieces of the brand story puzzle. Giving them the words and clarity to then tell the story – that’s where the magic happens.
Don’t get me wrong. I am the first to click on a beautiful design and I make my living creating them for my clients. But as I move into 2016 with new plans for Grit & Wit, one thing has become super clear: We excel in finding the stories for our clients (yes, I am saying “we”, because I will be offering expanded strategy and copywriting services this year) by peeling away the layers until the little beating heart of the brand is exposed. Why you do what you do. Who you do it for. How it makes you feel and how it makes your customers feel. That is what drives the design. If you take a look at the work on this site, you’ll notice that there is a range in style and solution for each client. That is because, to me, the story is the most important. Just as people have different lives, each brand has a different story to tell, resulting in a different expression. Through a little digging, we’re able to find what makes them special and use it to drive forward. This year I want Grit & Wit to focus more on this part of the process to continue to create classic, lasting brands that feel unique, personal and look amazing.
Trends will come and go, but we always love a good story. What’s yours?
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