Story Time: How telling YOUR brand story can increase your sales
My 4 year old daughter is a bath bomb fanatic. The shimmer, the designs, the fizz, the way it changes the colour of the water – she loves them. For some reason, coloured water = pretending to be a mermaid. Much hilarity and showing of tushies while she lies on her tummy, away in her imagination as a mer-child sunning herself on a rock in the mid-Atlantic.
But unfortunately like her mother she suffers from eczema, and bath bombs can aggravate the condition. No amount of joy during bath time can outweigh the screeches of “I’m itchy! Itchyyyyyyyy, Mummy!” afterwards.
So I went in search of a solution. After much research about the difference between SLS and SLSa, parabens and emollients, I … did not decide to go into business making and selling my own bath bombs. I’d much rather support small businesses doing just that.
I turned, as you do, to Etsy. Trawling for “eczema bath bombs” only yielded a few results. Okay, “bath bombs sensitive skin“. Jackpot! Lots to choose from. Beyond weighing up the obvious (price, design, colours, scent), who to choose? And here I finally get to my point: brand story.
I narrowed it down to two sellers (whose names have been changed as I don’t want anyone to feel bad): seller MummyA and VeganQueen. Now, depending on your standpoint, you’re probably already forming impressions about these two sellers in your mind, favouring one over the other. Or maybe you still have no particular preference.
Both sellers’ products are natural, skin kind, colourful and promise to smell good (one of the hazards of online shopping. If it smells like feet, too late, you’re stuck with it). MummyA‘s are fairly plain in design, but VeganQueen has some cool shapes that would appeal to a 4 year old wannabe mermaid.
MummyA‘s Etsy bio tells her brand story: Mummy to little Ava, who is the focus of her business and her whole world. Her profile pic is of her, smiling at the camera, with Ava.
VeganQueen‘s Etsy bio is … blank. Her profile picture is of her, unsmiling, looking away from the camera.
Who did I buy from?
If you guessed MummyA, you’re correct. I knew exactly why I was doing it, working in the field that I do, and I had a momentary sympathetic pang for VeganQueen, who may be losing sales but not know why.* But many customers would have subconsciously been turned off and clicked away without thinking twice, or questioning their own thought processes.
Personal branding guru Dr Natalia Wiechowski – my fabulous client and Woman I Admire Greatly (is WIAG an acronym that could catch on?) – says this often: people buy from people. Whatever your brand or business name, if you put yourself, your personality and your soul into your business and your personal branding, then people will ‘click‘ with you more. They will relate to you. And that connection will make them want to invest in you.
Now, some people might not gel with my personality. I’m a bit of a kook, I’m a cynic, I speak my mind far too often and my excitement for something regularly gets in the way of me explaining myself properly (#IntrovertProblems). But that’s ok, you can’t please all of the people all of the time. And I’ve realised over the last year that while I can definitely do ‘corporate’, it’s not where my heart or my personality lies. I love collaborating with fun, playful brands, who want to work with humour and joy. And I’m seeing more and more apparently poker-faced ‘corporate’ brands wanting to embrace that style of personality. The world is – now more than ever – a pretty depressing place. Why not inject some life into even the mundane stuff?
And that’s where my joy lies too. I’m pretty stoked to have discovered that I can match my ‘spirited’ style with a range of differing clients, from banks and bookkeepers to edutainers and retailers. It’s been a great year of working with some utterly amazing clients, and I can’t wait for more in 2021!
*Yes, I put in a little sympathy order with VeganQueen too. How could I not?