As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2020, the Digital Greenhouse invited a panel of media and marketing experts to discuss what makes a good story and how to make sure an organisation’s messages are heard in a competitive marketplace.
The panel comprised Nichole Culverwell Chart. PR, MCIPR, Director of Black Vanilla, Will Green, Business Editor at the Guernsey Press, and Aaron Walden, Commercial Manager at Skipton International.
Get the foundations right
Nichole kicked off the panel discussions by stressing the importance of laying the foundations of your businesses communications. Knowing what your story is, who your customers are and how to reach them is the basic groundwork every business needs to do first.
The story behind many businesses is not always given much consideration, and is often uninspiring or inauthentic. Nichole suggested that answering a series of questions will help to ensure a business gets its story straight:
- Who are you?
- What do you do and why?
- How are you different?
- Who is your audience?
- What do you want your audience to feel, think and do?
Knowing your audience is essential for clear communication, as you want to tailor your content to the interests of your desired customer. Nichole’s top tip for understanding the audience is to create customer personas and character descriptions that you can refer to time and time again.
Nichole then explained how to create your brand’s key messages, the simple sentences that you want people to remember and repeat about your business. She spoke briefly about a channel strategy, helping the GEW audience to think about their customers and how to use a mix of paid, earned, shared and owned channels to reach them.
She closed by saying: “Remember, having a positive reputation makes doing business easier. Your customers will make or break your reputation based on what you do and say, how you behave and how well your product or service performs. Keep that in mind and let that steer you.”
Black Vanilla’s new Bulb offering is designed to help start-ups and small businesses that want to connect with their customers and shout about their story. You can find out more here.
What makes a good story?
Will Green continued the panel discussion by outlining what makes a good story, consistently reinforcing that people are at the heart of every story. Making your story human is vital to ensure media pick-up and consumer readership – it needs to be relatable and engaging to encourage people to read on.
Will shared what he called the ‘mum test’ – would your mum care about the story, is there a strong enough human element to draw people in and connect with the piece?
He also highlighted the significance of facts, figures and growth when telling a brand story. Backing up statements with statistics will increase brand credibility and the trust between a business and its audience.
Will walked the audience through his practical points for putting out a great story, from pitching to confirming coverage, and ended his discussion with some food for thought about advertising and sponsored content.
Positive brand awareness
Aaron followed with his insights into positive brand awareness. His role at Skipton involves the coordination of the company’s CSR and sponsorship activities, all of which build trust by promoting a positive brand reputation that, in turn, attracts consumers.
Skipton International is involved in a variety of charity and sporting events, one of which is the annual Skipton Swimarathon. Aaron used this as an example of how businesses can proactively spread positive messages within the local community.
Aaron shared his top tips when getting involved with sponsorship opportunities. These included the importance of pre and post-event marketing, choosing events or charities that share your company values and ensuring your brand name is in the event title.
The main image shows left to right, Nichole Culverwell, Will Green and Aaron Walden.