A Data-Centred Approach to Brand Storytelling with Andres Lopez-Varela

A Data-Centred Approach to Brand Storytelling with Andres Lopez-Varela

the branding lab podcast

Tune in as we explore what it takes to build a truly strategic, heartfelt brand.

THE BRANDING LAB PODCAST

Developing A Data-Centred Approach to Brand Storytelling

By Yvonne Ivanescu

creating a sticky brand

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There’s no point in embarking on a content strategy unless its impact can be measured. You can shape your brand story around quantifiable unique audience demand. If you do this then you are going to have a much better chance of cutting through the noise and getting people to do what you want them to do from a marketing and commercial standpoint instead of having a generic or non-specific kind of brand story. 

Your best customers come from your audience because they’ve been primed by your content in a way that sales messages simply cannot compete with.  

In this episode, Andrés and I talk about the importance of data in brand storytelling; the difference between customer and audience personas; the three questions that you need to ask when building your audience and how to best serve you audience depending on their customer journey. 

DATA-CENTRED APPROACH TO BRAND STORYTELLING 📄🤗

Andrés argues that with data you can create a brand story that is not so much about you but about your audience and how your brand aligns with their lives, their day-to-day priorities, their aspirations, objectives, hopes and desires.

The data moves your brand story from being about generic kind of principles, like, the world’s best technology brand or the world’s best winery. Instead it creates something very specific that can anchor your brand in a meaningful way and that your audience can latch onto. And so, if you have a data centred approach when you’re putting together your brand story, you are able to differentiate yourself and craft a much more interesting story. 

You will be able to press real life buttons, rather than those more kind of conceptual, generic ones. 

Let’s look at an example: A winery 🍷🍷

If you are opening a winery, you probably think that what is going to make you stand out is your wine region and your winemaking philosophy, but in reality, that’s pretty much the same strategy that all the wineries implement. There is nothing special about that. But what if you go deeper, what if you ask your audience why they love your wine. Ask them why are they coming to your specific winery? What are the things that make you unique in your audience’s eyes? This data makes the brand story real, tangible, and very specific.

A TWO-PRONGED APPROACH: BRANDING & PERFORMANCE ✌🤨

There’s no point embarking on the implementation of that content strategy unless its impact can be measured. What you need to know is how to measure things. But what you really need to focus on is the combination of these two elements:

▶ branding activities

▶ direct response, such as commercial sales, promotional activities.

If you just do a brand activity on its own, then you’re going to end up with a really expensive hobby. However, if you are just focusing on performance-driven marketing, then nobody’s going to remember you and nobody’s going to differentiate you from competitors because there’s nothing to differentiate you other than the product that they bought once.

In this sense, what smaller brands and entrepreneurs should realize is not to be too hyper-focused. This hyper-focused lens might mean that they Because then they get into the customer persona and they’re like, no, this is exactly who I want. I don’t want anyone else. I’m not going to be sharing on this group or with these people because they don’t have a, B, C, D E I have all the traits that my customer persona has.

A BRAND DOES NOT EXIST WITHOUT AN AUDIENCE  

Once you’ve defined your customer personas, you should immediately develop your audience personas. Wait, what are audience personas? They are similar to your ideal customer BUT they may not be exactly the same. 

They may have some different attributes or values. They might be wildcards to a certain extent when it comes to them connecting with your brand, but they are related in the sense to that ideal customers. Instead of pointing to a person who is exactly the kind of person who is most likely to buy your product [customer persona] you are instead pointing to a group of people who are interested in a topic or subject matter that you or your product are an expert on, and in which you can provide leadership, guidance, and expertise.  

For example, your ideal customer may have ten traits, but a group of people in your audience may only have three of those ten traits, while another group may have six of those traits. When you serve a broader range of people there will be some crossover in terms of values and traits. 

Smaller brands and entrepreneurs should avoid being too hyper-focused on their ideal customer. 

You want to remember that your audience is interested in specific topics, and subject matter Yes, your customers will come from that audience, but also it’s very likely that there will be audience members who, although they won’t buy anything from you, they still can play a critical role in advertising your brand. For example, they can share your message or your content with their own communities — an endorsement can be just as valuable as a purchase. 

CONTENT DEMAND RESEARCH: HOW TO CRAFT YOUR AUDIENCE

When conducting content demand research as a way of identifying a brand’s audience, Andrés asks three main questions:

▶ what are the questions and problems people are seeking answers for online? In other words, what are the challenges and obstacles that people are looking to overcome in their life related to your area of expertise/product? 

▶ what kind of content triggers my audience to complete the behaviors that are important to me commercially. Once you have a website or social media channels you can use analytics to understand what type of content resonates best with your audience. 

▶ what topics or areas of interest are valuable for my audience. This is where you want to go and look at the media sites, publisher sites, social media sites and follow content creators.

These three questions are valuable for any brand and for any business owner who wants to try to understand their audience beyond just understanding their customer.

MORE FROM THIS EPISODE 🎙 🎧

Andrés and I dive a little deeper into these three questions and how entrepreneurs can really understand who is part of their audience, from a data-centered approach. We also look at two specific examples and chat about how brands can craft different messages depending on their customer journey. 

Hit play on the episode above for the full conversation on learning the importance of data in brand storytelling as well as a robust conversation on the importance of creating a customer persona AND an audience for your business. 

RESOURCES 🖇📄

◼ Follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn

◼ Follow Andrés on LinkedIn or visit his website. 

◼ Listen to another episode: Finding Your Business Why Your Brand Purpose with Yulia Stark

The Art of Brand Storytelling with Cassandra Le

The Art of Brand Storytelling with Cassandra Le

the branding lab podcast

Tune in as we explore what it takes to build a truly strategic, heartfelt brand.

THE BRANDING LAB PODCAST

The Art of
Brand Storytelling

By Yvonne Ivanescu

What is brand storytelling? And what do you exactly need to know before you hire a copyrighting studio? Brand storytelling is when a brand or a business has a specific story that connects to their ideal audience and that allows them to use those stories to emotionally connect with their community. Why is it important? Well mainly because marketing in this day and age needs to incorporate a more emotional side — human-centered marketing.

WHAT IS YOUR BRAND STORY? 

Cassandra Le, the founder of the Quirky Pineapple Studio, a brand strategy, and copywriting studio. Cassandra has been creating content and experimenting with branding and social media. Since she was 13 years old. She and her team helped mission-driven service-based business owners, share their stories and create engaging content to help businesses grow their community

In this episode, Cassandra and I talk about the importance of brand storytelling; the difference between storytelling and brand messaging; and what businesses should know before they even think about hiring a copywriting studio.  

BRAND BRAND STORYTELLING: THE NOVEL 📚📖

Brand Storytelling is pretty similar to a regular story,  a novel. It needs to be broken down into what Cassandra calls the story connection timeline, which has seven parts: 

Prologue

Beginning

Middle

Conflict

▶ Resolution

▶ THE END

▶ Epilogue

The prologue in a novel is setting the scene and giving people a little bit of backstory into what’s going to happen. It’s really just to give people a little bit of backstory into what’s going to happen. Cassandra, for example, has been creating content since she was 13, and that is part of her story but not her current story now because as humans our stories change and we evolve. 

The prologue sets up the scene of. The beginning of Cassandra’s story would probably be when she took blogging more seriously and started diving into actually creating strategic content or content to get affiliate ads or paid ads — it then evolved from there. 

After the beginning then you get to the middle, which is like the meatier side. This is when you’re in it. And you’ve figured out your why and you understand what you’re doing, who you’re helping, how you help.

And then there’s a conflict. Because all good stories have a conflict and that could be okay. Something happened in your life or within your brand journey that was a problem for you or your ideal clients. And then you found a solution for it.

For Cassandra conflict came after she realized that she was creating so much content to the point where she was burnt out and none of her content was necessarily strategic. So she came up with an editorial calendar and planning out her content based on marketing strategies and her quarterly goals. And with that came the resolution to her problem/her conflict. Her solution is what she now teaches to her clients — how to strategically create content. From there she moved into the transformation stage, which is what happened after the business boomed. 

And that kind of became the resolution to my problem, my conflict, which is now actually what I teach a lot of our clients, how to do, because they come in with so many ideas they’re overwhelmed and they’re looking for a solution. Which is a solution I created for myself. And then we get into the transformation stage, which is what happens after the business boomed.

Then there is the end. But don’t think of it as the end, but the epilogue, which is, your plans or vision for your business.

IS YOUR CONTENT STRATEGIC? 🧐🤨

Strategic content doesn’t need to be anything too complicated. Strategic content has a purpose and makes your target audience take action on something. So this means there is a clear call to action and its purpose is to guide the audience member to make their own educated decision.

This all connects back to copywriting. 

It is not convincing someone. It is not manipulating someone. It is educating someone so that they can make the best decision for themselves. In the end, it really is about connected to brand strategy right into your brand storytelling. You need to understand all these pieces before you even consider writing or creating your first piece of marketing material. 

SO WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY?

If you are creating content without a clear brand message, then most of the time. No matter how much content you produce, it will probably not convert unless you have awesome paid ads and funnels, and automation. But usually, only really big types of companies have this type of budget. If you do not have this type of budget then you need to rely on strong organic and strategic content. If you don’t have a clear brand message and communication strategy then no matter how much content you produce, it probably won’t connect to your audience in the way that you are want to because your message is unclear. 

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BRAND MESSAGING

& BRAND STORYTELLING 👀❓

Cassandra always tries to lay down the brand’s message first, which is a mission statement or, the goal purpose, the why of their brand, who they are, what they do, who they help, how they help, why they help. 

She then focuses on the story. This is because you can’t really shape or figure out the story that you want to tell until you understand what is the message that you want to actually share. 

Once you understand the brand message, it’s often followed by the story and an understanding of who your ideal clients are, what they need, what are their goals, their vision, and then the services or packages, programs, products that you offer. 

MORE FROM THIS EPISODE 🎙 🎧

Cassandra and I talk more about strategic content and then we discuss what is the difference between hiring a content writer versus hiring a copyrighter and what you really need to look at and what are the type of questions you need to ask when trying to craft your brand message. 

Hit play on the episode above for the full conversation on storytelling, strategic content, hiring a copywriter, and what you need to be able to produce branded content that your audience wants and needs.