What's my brand story then?
Why the power of brand storytelling can be the drive your marketing needs...and why it's time I came clean about my own story
While I talk to you about the importance of story and messaging, you may be wondering what my story is. After all, why am I encouraging you to talk about the story behind your brand when I’m not prepared to talk about my own?
I have been reticent, after all isn’t the internet awash with people’s stories - enough to last a lifetime?
But the reason why I love working on brand storytelling and conveying people’s experiences through the power of marketing is because I have my own experiences that defied expectations everyone had of me.
My life isn’t necessarily about creating something that will change the world or even perhaps how people think per se,
- but by defying expectations and realising that I had differences that set me apart from everyone else, made me more compassionate, more understanding of difference, and by and large more excited by those that also defied what was expected of them.
Whoever you are, if you have created a brand on the back of a personal experience that nearly broke you, your heart, your mind or your body, or a combination of all of these, then I am excited by the details. I want to know how you did it, what you intend to do with that newfound knowledge and experience, and how you think your brand and the power of your message is going to change people’s lives for the better, and how you go forward with your business.
It could be a small part of a greater hole in a much bigger story. That one tiny thing that resonates with those who’ve had similar experiences and matches your brand values and overall message. It’s powerful. Not all of your life story needs to strewn across your website.
But there could be certain gems there that could create a powerful narrative, providing context to your business and adding ethos, logos and pathos to your message (think Aristotle here - https://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-ethos-logos-and-pathos.html ).
Let me take you back a few years.
I started out as a shy, nervous child who was almost completely uninterested in anything other than books and reading, basically anything I liked I was interested in, anything I wasn’t I simply didn’t engage. In fact it might as well not have existed, and to that, include any science based subject, math, religion PE.
I especially hated PE.
Going to school was a nightmare, I hadn’t gone to nursery school before, but had gone straight into primary (junior or kindergarten) school where I screamed with persistent regularity each morning when my mother left me - stood forlornly in the registration queue where our names were shouted out like we were part of a battalion. This went on for several months and not just in the first few days and weeks.
I was bullied throughout that first year and this went on until the second or third. This went on into secondary school on and off, and to spare you the self-pity, as you can imagine, each experience was as painful as the one that had come before, and in between it was peppered with amusing stories and entertaining clowning around ,yes friendships were forged, some lasted, some didn’t.
Social life came before academia, and in primary school I was off-sick a LOT. Looking back now I think it was mostly due to acute anxiety. I was kept back a year, which was probably the worst thing that could happen to any child.
On top of that I was in a Welsh speaking primary school and I couldn’t speak the language. I learnt through the process of immersion, where you are basically thrown in at the deep end and left to fend for yourself.
I picked it up piecemeal each day in the classroom and playground. Having said that, I've never regretted being bilingual and I’m proud of both my language and my country.
Like most introverted geeks, I made people laugh and told stories. I loved stories, I wrote them in notebooks, on loose paper, I even wrote them on the back of toilet paper when all of the above had run out.
I would entertain people on the school bus once I got into secondary school (It was the only Welsh speaking secondary school at the time) and entertained with imaginative stories from the supernatural to fantasy.
Years go by, I had several jobs, most of which I hated. Then I had my daughter and went to University - twice. I trained as a teacher, worked as a secretary, a junior manager in information governance, I did all manner of other jobs inbetween.
I experienced poverty, hardship, loneliness and isolation.
It made me strong, resolute in the face of failure and hopelessness.
But being a mother was the most fundamentally life changing experience I’ve ever had and I loved it.
I loved being a mother, I still do. I was never maternal, and unlike my sister I hadn't planned to be a mother and wife, I had bigger plans, most of which never came to fruition. But being a mother was special. It’s not for everyone, but it was for me.
Years later I found out I was on the autistic spectrum. And it is here I feel the needle scratching to a halt. What?!?!
Yup, I found out that the odd one out was odd for a reason. And from that has come understanding of my experiences I had as both a child and as an adult and an abiding need to know and learn about the condition and how it impacts me and others on a daily basis.
Listen, it could have been worse.
I am a straight, white CIS woman - and that is a privilege afforded to me because of the society we live in, and although I identify as an autistic person, my life could have been much harder had I been, gay, black, trans or a combination of all those things - and autistic.
I won’t refer to what autism gives me as ‘special powers,’ because I believe this detracts from the daily struggles the autistic community goes through each and every day. What I can tell you is that I have a passion for stories, for defying expectations, for tales that speak of the inspiration behind amazing ideas that change how we think or act in our daily lives. I love the narrative, the structure, and how we can use it in marketing to sell, to engage, to elicit a reaction.
Selling doesn’t have to be dirty, it can be transformative, fun, engaging and worthwhile. If there’s a pain solution at the end of it it’s a win-win.
I love details and research is my secret sauce.
I have an ability to identify patterns, which comes in handy when you’re looking at analytics or any of the many fascinating aspects of marketing. I have what I would call ‘special interests,’ which can take me down the most fascinating rabbit holes and I love people.
I may be shy and almost incapable of engaging in small talk and parties, and social gatherings are my nemesis, buuuut
you are my special interest, people are my special interest.
People who become something bigger than themselves and want that for others. And I want that for you. In my private slack group the other day someone said that ‘you don’t have to be an expert to solve a problem you care about.’
I think I have developed an expertise in content marketing, conversion copywriting, and brand storytelling BUT the key experiences I’ve had in life are every bit as important. And if I care enough about the problem, I care enough to solve it.
Things happened to me and they made me stronger and better, it's never easy and sometimes it can feel like a Sisyphean task or more bluntly put, pushing shit uphill.
But my experiences inspired me to create my business, backed up by a will to succeed, an obstinacy to keep on trying and a refusal to never give up.
Let me be the one that helped you get your message straight.
If you or you know someone who’d like to work with me, then please drop me a message and we’ll talk, have a little chat to see if we’re a good fit, and if I can help you.
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