Jewellery copywriter, creative consultant and award-winning designer Siobhan Maher talks about the often-overlooked importance of storytelling in creating a successful brand.
Below, the two-time Professional Jeweller Hot 100 alumnus runs through the steps businesses should take in order to tell their story and begin reaping the rewards.
Amidst the turmoil of 2020 some brands found a platform for their voice. Some small businesses seamlessly navigated the switch online, bringing customers into their world with a compelling web or social media presence. Others harnessed a press and consumer push to spotlight the voices of independent businesses.
2021 will bring new opportunities to connect, and at the heart of creating a relatable and sharable brand is storytelling. If you are yet to get deliberate about constructing and communicating your brand story, 2021 is the time.
Define your niche
Storytelling starts with your customer; not your product, your process or you.
Knowing exactly where you sit in the market and who you serve is the first step of storytelling. Defining your customer allows you to construct a marketing strategy and brand voice that speaks directly to them.
There are almost countless ways brands can connect with customers, so defining your niche is the only way to make an effective and manageable plan to reach them. A social media strategy, for instance, is wasted time if that is not where your customers can be found.
Nothing builds connection more effectivity than storytelling – our brains are wired to respond and relate to narrative.
An authentic story builds the trust customers need to make a purchase. Once your niche is nailed it is time to construct a story, considering all the unique features of your brand and product.
Good storytelling crystalises the most relevant of these details into a compelling and customer-focused narrative. Just as you have created a distinctive design voice, outline a consistent tone to carry through all your copywriting and communication.
Find the feeling
A jewellery sale is made on a feeling. The thrill of owning an original design. A sense of empowerment or recognition at its message. Feeling the designer’s passion for what inspires them or falling for a sentiment-filled story.
If you communicate your brand story in literal terms – handmade, award-winning, geometric – then you are missing a chance to connect. A compelling story identifies how your customers want to feel and shows them how the jewellery will do that.
Sell your story to the press
Making overtures to the press can be daunting. But if you use your niche and story to target relevant publications, you will find they actively want to hear from you. While your email to that mainstream glossy might go unanswered, the same pitch might land you a full page in a niche or local publication, arguably in front of more responsive customers.
Getting clear about your story makes identifying these routes to press easier, and a compelling story give publications a reason to feature you. Just as vitally, having this clarity gives you the confidence to construct and make the approach in the first place.
Supplying retailers? Your storytelling is just as important to them. Having a distinctive story gives stockists a reason to carry your brand, because it gives them the tools they need to sell it.
It is hard to underestimate just how saturated the jewellery market is, with new brands and makers emerging each day. Even a strong design voice can be overlooked if the brand does not reach or connect with the right audience, making your story as important as your product.
Siobhan Maher is a jewellery copywriter and creative consultant. An award-winning designer (including two-time Professional Jeweller Hot 100), she is passionate about helping brands stand out and connect through original storytelling.