Everyday there are more new ventures and nonprofits disrupting with a purpose, to fix how things have been done so far. Growing up working on big established consumer and media brands, I worked with marketers to develop creative that moved the needle for them.
With the budding brands that are innovating in a noisy and fragmented media space, it's a brand story that feeds the website, the pitches, the social media plan, the content strategy that supports sales, customer relations, media awareness and everything.
I am constantly reminded how, for startup founders and people in innovation, creating your own story seems so much simpler than it is.
Uber founder Travis Kalanick reflected at an event after he suffered media blowback last year, “As an engineer, it’s often about ... making stuff and letting the work speak for itself. But if you grow like we’ve grown, you’re like a black box, you’re not telling your story and people fill that box with whatever gets clicks. You need to learn how to tell your story."
What he said. Storytelling matters more than ever. For people who want to tell a better story, I turn the table so they look at audience engagement. Getting inside the heads of the people you're trying to reach gets you outside your own head. You stop chasing people and start pulling them to you.
Inside your head, there's a compelling story why your solution is a no-brainer that's often at odds with what it looks like to the rest of the world. Ever since I've been in the innovation space, I've seen entrepreneurs look at their solutions as bright shiny objects in their hands with a beauty that's self-evident. Many aren't clicking with specific audiences and I hear that people (whoever they are) just aren't ready for this (whatever it is). The biggest challenge usually is, putting themselves in the places of the people who have the power to say 'yes,' who can make the difference in a sale or getting a solution integrated into an organization.
Examining the most pressing problems the people they're trying to reach are managing, and having empathy for them, is a lens shift that changes how brands look at those they're trying to connect with. It helps them be audience-centric and care about solving the problem for those who can help them achieve their goals.
In audience segmentation sessions that I've facilitated with clients, I've seen that breakthrough 'ahah' as teams shift gear to look at their own clients – and their offering – in a different way. These insights are so valuable for the narrative that ensues and the content that positions them in a much more relevant place for their market.
Brenda van Ginkel
Every great brand that's making a difference to people or the planet deserves to stand out and be noticed. I write about creative direction and brand strategy for entrepreneurs and those supporting them, packaging concepts with messaging for growth and audience engagement in a crowded, noisy digital space.