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Storytelling in Design: How to Identify It and Bring It Into Your Brand

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Storytelling in Design: How to Identify It and Bring It Into Your Brand

We're hiring for a few positions so I spent about 4 hours yesterday reviewing resumes, portfolios and LinkedIn profiles. I stopped at the ones with big brand experience in their portfolios and looked at the ads.  For the most part the ads...looked like ads...with a big famous brand logo on them. "Okay, this is someone who knows the system, who is capable of creating for our clients."

But the few that really caught my eye were designers who were able to tell stories. They highlighted their love for storytelling in their portfolios, even in their approach to creating their own portfolios-- how they told their own stories of who they were, what they did, and why they loved design. It was an entirely different approach to design and self-identity, which made me feel like I was breathing different air. 

Behind every design is an amazing story. Great brands don't hire designers and say, "Design us an ad that tells a story." Storytelling is part of the way the brand THINKS. It's part of brand DNA. Designers follow brand guidelines when creating. Therefore, storytelling must be derived from brand guidelines and brand visual centers that emphasize storytelling. Here are some steps to bring a storytelling approach to your brand:

Write a Brand Manifesto: Great writing is something we can all get behind. The Declaration of Independence is a great example. "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...inalienable rights..." We each see something powerful when we say those words. Brands are no different. A brand manifesto conjures up an emotional connection. It defines the purpose of the brand--the why, when and where for audiences. Most importantly it creates a bridge from POV to visuals that a great designers can feel and manifest visually.

Create a Visual Center...No Really Do It. Brands need more than visual guidelines that align folks on font types, logo lockups and colors. Great brands that tell great stories need visual centers that show more than use cases. The visual center is where the manifesto and brand values marry the visuals. The story, mood, and purpose of the brand appears with photos, drawings or other stimulating visuals.

Change Your Creative Process: If you're looking at this and wondering why storytelling isn't a big part of everything that is produced, take a step back at the creative process. Is your creative process designed to prioritize storytelling? Does your creative process take into account the hard work that's been done on the visual center and brand guidelines. Are sales goals and deadlines preventing the creative process from actualizing? Take all of these things into consideration and map the process to the importance of storytelling.

If you'd like more info on how to bring better storytelling to your brand, we're happy to help. Yaaas!  Feel free to reach out to us directly. 

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How Brands Use Microsites to Win Millennials

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How Brands Use Microsites to Win Millennials

Millennials are connecting with brands completely differently than any other generation. They, and others who have adopted Millennials behaviors, are your audience. 

But 84% of Millennials do not trust traditional advertising. Eye-opening stats for any brand. "Yawn. Alright cool, but why microsites," you say.

STATS DON'T LIE: 

  1. Only 1% of Millennials believe that a compelling advertisement would make them trust a brand more
  2. 84% of Millennials state that user generated content on company websites influences their buying decision
  3. 95% of US Millennials in the US think friends are the most credible source of product information
  4. US Millennials prefer social content sharing
  5. 48% of Millennials state word-of-mouth influences their product purchases
  6. 42% of Millennials are interested in helping brands develop products and services

Done correctly, microsites don't have distractions that exist on the main site, enabling visitors to focus on the content, where they find real conversations and actively engage in calls to action. Microsite experiences elevate branding, provide a clear, trusted reason for repeat visits, increase the online footprint and are often a preferred part of the Millennial buyer’s journey.

Focus on trust. To overcome trust issues and improve brand communications, microsites are a beautiful place where brands can host two-way conversations and curate brand and user generated content from social media or anywhere else. Trust is found in conversations. Trust is found in peer-to-peer discussions. Trust is found where audiences discover authentic stories of people who reflect their experiences and stories. In building a mircosite, brands are building communities for their customers to explore, learn more and develop affinity for a brand.

Sephora, one of our clients, has done a beautiful job of creating such an experience with their Beauty Board. Beauty Board works as an experience that aggregates and curates social media content and direct submissions from users through the interface. Here, the Millennial audience can see what works for others, what others have to say, which products are popular, and tell their own stories as well. It is a perfect example of how a great brand can build trust and community--THE foundational elements to engage Millennials. 

Microsites also create a playground for consumers to explore and get a sense of the deeper meaning of the brand and it's personality. McDonald's has put a lot of hard work into appealing to Millennials in response to increasingly negative awareness around their brand. They've set up numerous microsites that target different ethnicities, cultures and consumers of all types in the buying journey. McDonald's delivers curated content to reshape brand image. 

If building greater rapport with Millenials is important to you, consider a microsite to generate conversation and build trust. It's a lot easier than you think. For more insights and direction, reach out to me directly at desmond@mintyfreshdigital.com

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