“I don’t have a story.”
That’s what I hear from people when I meet them at events. Even the most inspiring people you can possibly imagine just don’t find themselves interesting or worthy. Fact.
You see, we never see our own stories – just like we very often don’t value ourselves as much as we should. To us it’s just ‘normal life’. It’s just ‘us’.
But that ‘normal life’ is what makes you so very unique, and is so, so different to everyone else’s ‘normal life’.
I feel passionately that small businesses need to wear their story on their sleeves, and shout it loudly and proudly, to stand out in the crowded marketplace.
But why should we do this?
People can’t connect with a product
No matter how beautifully shaped a piece of metal is, it’s just that. A cold piece of metal. It’s the STORY behind that piece of metal that makes it valuable to us.
For example take a ring I recently bought from Align Jewellery. I bought it to symbolise the start of a new chapter for me, starting the Jewellery Spot blog. You see, Kate (from Align) was one of the few people I asked about starting a blog when I first thought of the idea. (I don’t think even she knows this, as I haven’t actually told her!). I also know Kate was an architect before she was a jeweller, and by buying her ring, I was buying into a bit of her story.
And very often it’s YOUR story that becomes infused with the product that makes people want to buy it. It’s not about price. It’s not even just about how beautiful your product is. A big part of it is that people want to buy into your brand and your brand values.
People buy from people. So you need to show a bit of yourself out there.
It helps you stand out in a saturated marketplace
Let’s face it, in the end there are only so many ways you can solder a jump ring. And no matter how beautiful your designs are, you face stiff competition from the sheer number of jewellery designers out there.
So how do you differentiate yourself from the crowd?
Well one of the ways is to infuse your branding with YOUR story. This will not only create an authentic feeling brand. It will also set you apart from the competition, as no-one can be the unique mix of ‘you’ that you are. You will attract the right people for your brand and will repel the people who are wrong for you.
Sounds scary? Don’t worry! This is a GOOD thing. The wrong customers for your brand will just waste your time and their’s. The power of a good brand is that it appeals to your perfect customer and instantly repels the ones who aren’t a right fit.
The last thing you want is to try to be something to everyone. If you think of brands on the high street right now that are struggling, I bet they’re the ones without a strong brand identity, who try to be something to everyone. Am I right?
Your brand (and I’m not just talking about your font and colour scheme) is the most effective copyright!
Of course it can be hugely upsetting when someone steals your designs, and that can never be right. But if you infuse YOU through your brand, then someone can’t steal that! They can steal a product, they could even steal a logo style and brand colours. But what they can’t steal is the essence of you infused throughout your brand.
Why do people still buy Cath Kidston products, when there are so many copies out there? Most of the time people would never know! They do it because they buy into the Cath Kidston brand. The same goes for Alex Monroe’s iconic bee necklace. There are so many copies out there. But Alex Monroe is still selling a heck of a lot bee necklaces. That’s because people buy into him and his values.
When you’re you. Visibly you. And you put yourself out there, you take your brand to the next level. This DOESN’T mean oversharing. NO, no-one wants to know if you’ve had an operation on your in-growing toenail that day. You don’t need to become a Youtube sensation or share every detail of your life. No, it’s about taking the parts of you which resonate with your customers and sharing those parts. Just like a stone has many facets, so do you, and you become so much more real to your customers if you share some of them.
So what’s your story?
“Yeah, yeah,” I hear you say. “I get it. But what’s MY story?”
Well that’s for you to work out. It’s the things that sound really interesting when you talk to other people about your life, it’s the quirky obsession you’ve got with pancakes. It could be the fact you love your dog. It’s the things that make you light up like a Christmas Tree. It’s basically any of the things that make you human. If you really don’t know, think back to a job interview or a time you met a stranger. What were they really interested in?
I actually had a job working summer seasons on stage as a campsite entertainer. I sang, danced, acted, wore gloriously elaborate costumes. Don’t get me wrong, it was amazing. But for me, it became just a job (I did absolutely love it, but it was a hard slog). However, I found when I came and looked for jobs people absolutely LOVED hearing about it. People were so intrigued. I also was in Panto, which again people found interesting!
You often lose sight of the unique things about you, because you’re so caught up in the business of life. But please, please remember that you have a unique story and in order to create an authentic connection with your audience you have to share it.
If you’re still not sure how to portray your story, take a look at the photos on this blog post. What do they tell you about me?