Nonprofit Performance 360 Issue 13

Member Engagement


The Art of Storytelling in Branding

the forerunner for news and entertainment, brand engagement has become the new marketing battleground. In less than 280 characters, the ability for consumers to build, destroy, and interact with brands has reshaped the standards by which business is done. So if you want to truly compete, become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Do not grow complacent in the identity of your brand. You may have to learn a new language, or hire a social media manager and content creators. Whatever is needed, be willing to rise to the challenge and tell the story along the way. Do not rely on old tactics and the if-it-ain’t-broke engagement method. Be willing to bring value to consumers before a purchase is made. After all, the miniature fingerprints left behind will be tomorrow’s brand ambassadors. Jawansa Hall is the creative director and owner of Blackwater Branding, an advertising and branding agency located in Lynchburg, Virginia. Awarded the 2018 Marketing Agency of the Year by the readers of the Lynchburg News & Advance, he has helped some of Lynchburg’s most respectable businesses redefine their brands.

Lately I’ve found myself cleaning miniature fingerprints from the television screen. Though it did not take long to figure out that the prints and streaks belonged to my three year old, it wasn’t until I caught her in the act that I realized her logic. From playing various puzzles on my tablet, she’d begun to associate swiping with monitors and screens.To her, the television was just a much larger iPad.To her, a flat panel screen equates the need for interactivity. Her actions reveal a much deeper message that every business owner or nonprofit leader should understand: there is a new normal when dealing with today’s consumer. No longer can we simply buy a billboard or post an ad in a newspaper. Due to social media, the new consumer wants to experience consistent brand engagement. Without a clear strategy pinpointing your brand’s voice, purpose, and story, you are building a wall between great ideas and 75% of the global workforce: The Millennial. By 2020, one in three Americans will be Millennials.This sobering truth means that businesses would be well-served to take note of their priorities and personal beliefs. As a brand developer, the biggest advice I continuously share is the importance of

clarity within your brand’s story. We are constantly deciding on what to drive, wear, eat, and interact with. Do not wait for another demographic or business to decide who you are. Make sure that the story you want to tell gets told, and that there is a belief system attached to it. Before you decide on Pantone colors, creative logo design, or a fun catch phrase, put your energy into controlling the narrative. With that being said, if your logo or color plays a commanding role within your brand, please include these components inside the story. More than anything else, what matters to every consumer is the feeling that you are given in the presence of the brand. Begin to view your brand not as a monetary transaction or just a service provided, but as a living/breathing person. If your brand had friends, what would they be like? Where would they hang out? What are their values? How do they talk to one another? Do they speak like scholars, or swear like sailors? Each component is helping to shape the narrative of who you are and why you matter. To the online consumer, what you do does not matter as much as why you choose to do it. With social media being

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