You may have noticed more and more brands use stories to share their vision, marketing messages, and ultimately sell you their products of late. Business stories are an ever growing big deal, and as a brand storyteller myself I’m chuffed to bits. But there’s a big difference between using stories for good and evil, and I come across both each day – I sense you do, too.
You see, although every business has lots of stories to share, and each brand story’s unique and wonderful in its own way, it isn’t as easy to wake up one day and say, “Let’s share our brand story.”
Everyone has the power and ability to share stories, but some people are better at it than others – or should I say, some people are more appropriate. Business stories are no different, so when a marketing department takes it upon themselves to craft their entire story, it’s time to worry.
Some marketers are great storytellers. For generations, advertisers have used storytelling in their communications. I don’t wish to say marketers or CEOs or Creative Directors aren’t capable of sharing epic tales because many are. But many are not.
Would you like to know a group of people who tend to be great storytellers? ARTISTS!
And I don’t mean painters or sculptors per se, because your brand story’s unique to you. Those business stories that exist within your four walls are yours to share with pride. It takes a special kind of someone to help, but lucky for you the term artist is rather broad indeed.
WHAT ARTISTS BRING TO THE TABLE
Let me state a quick disclaimer before we go any further:
Providing an artist/creative mind the complete keys to your castle may not be a good idea.
I don’t suggest for a second you hire a writer or painter or sculptor to head-up your brand story project. In general, leave that to the marketers and CEOs and Creative Directors, because artists tend to live with their heads in the clouds, which doesn’t always play well with budgets, ROI, business structure, and the like…
But this is why an artist brings so much value to your business stories and why you should involve them in your team, because they don’t give a shit about budgets or ROI or business structures…
The best business stories are those that tell the real story, and in my experience those deep in the middle of it (aka: YOU and your staff…) don’t do what it takes. You’ve built up too many preconceptions and cannot thrust aspects like ROI and budgets to one side, whereas an artist hones in on the real shit that matters.
Of course it requires you to rein them in and keep their heads out of the clouds (some of the time), but the fact you include an unbiased, creative maverick takes your business stories to exciting levels; the kind of levels you rarely reach when you only involve marketers and graphic designers and copywriters.
I say this with complete respect to artists, too, because I myself am one. I write novels. I dress like – and I quote – an 18th century magician. If I gave into my animal urges I’d do nothing but create and come up with ideas all day long. I’ve had to learn to manage this, because when someone hires me to craft and share their business stories, they expect me to find the balance between creativity, art, and function.
But that’s my role, not the rest of the team.
As a general rule, I don’t wish to hire the kind of graphic designer who does nothing but logos all day. I want someone who draws and designs for the sake of art, and who has a portfolio as eclectic as an old mans study.
I don’t want copywriters, but actual writers who like to write for the enjoyment of writing. You know, people like me who craft stories and poems and adventures.
And it doesn’t stop there, because there are many artists you can include – it is, after all a loose and lovely term, which we’ll now delve further into…
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT ARTIST FOR YOUR BUSINESS STORIES
I don’t know what you classify as an artist, but in my opinion it means pretty much anyone. I don’t stop my artistic search at painters and writers and musicians, because if someone figures out a way to turn what they do into an art-form, I consider them an artist.
For instance, most baristas are simple coffee servers, but some are artists. Some don’t just make coffee, they craft it and perfect it and find ways to place their signature into it. They are artists. I imagine they’d be useless at a place like Starbucks, where it’s about speed and efficiency and sticking to the rules… but perfect for cool hideaways that desire a creative touch.
Most chefs are mere cooks, but some are artists. They don’t just cook and serve food, they go above and beyond. This makes them an artist.
The majority of people you come across are not artists, but many folk you meet are. They’re the misfits who don’t just do, but add a splash of life here and a dance of happiness there. In your business, whatever it may be, there are mundane roles that are a certain persons art.
These are the folk you should look to involve in your business stories. So where do you find them?
WHERE TO FIND YOUR IDEAL ARTISTIC MIND
Some may already exist inside your business. What I encourage you to do is look at the people you hire and deal with, and the tasks that surround you, and look past the obvious. If someone goes above and beyond and drives you insane with their attention to detail and creative flair, but happen to create amazing results each time, they’re an artist.
Maybe they become the star of your video. Maybe they’ll make a better spokesperson or mascot than yourself. Maybe they’ll play a minute role, but a role that makes or breaks your business stories.
After you look inside your business, continue your search outside of it:
1: YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY
I assure you, if you take the time and care to look, you’ll soon realise your local community (wherever it may be) offers an array of meet-ups, gatherings, groups, committees, and so much more.
Painters, writers, musicians, hobbyists… you’ll be amazed at what sits on your doorstep, and how you can transform your business stories into something magical.
For example, I happen to live near a rather talented artist who forms her masterpieces out of ceramics (you know, what your plates and cups are made of). I also happen to live near a manufacturer of certain ceramic do-tads, so rather than simply write about them, take pictures of their factory floor, and create a video about how they make their plates, imagine if I invited my little artist buddy to get involved…
I assure you, whatever it is you do, an artist can help transform your business stories into something far more spectacular.
2: ONLINE COMMUNITIES
I’m sure you’re aware how big the internet is, and how much random crap exists on it. When it comes to forums and communities and groups, there’s literally something for everyone.
Instead of hiring a standard copywriter to create your About Page, how about you delve into a few writing forums, find someone who has a voice and style you like, and invite them to write your page instead. You can still hire the copywriter to edit it and perfect it and ensure it’s SEO friendly… but in a chaotic world where you desire to stand out and share your REAL story, don’t you think an unbiased writer with art on their mind could create something far more wonderful?
You don’t have to follow the same rules as everyone else. Copywriters are fine, but they’re not the only answer.
3: TOMORROW’S WORLD
Need a new spin to an old problem, look to your local schools, colleges, and universities.
You see, students haven’t had time to worry about ROI and budgets, so what they lack in experience they more than make up for with enthusiasm and creative craziness.
You could hire a graphic designer to craft your new logo, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t. But maybe there’s a talented artist at your local college who offers a style that aligns with your brand. Why not hire them to design your logo? Why not ask them to approach it in a way no other graphic designer would?
This is your brand story after all, and it’s unique to you.
YOUR BUSINESS STORIES NEED ARTISTS!
You come across business stories each day, and I imagine most of them suck.
I cringe at far too many, and it’s largely down to the same-old-same-old mentality. The whole point is to discover, create, and share YOUR story, so a cookie-cutter approach doesn’t quite cut it. This is why artists should play a role in business stories, because they provide a different insight and perspective.
Don’t hire them to oversee them by any means. Most WILL NOT make a good project manger. But whoever you are, whatever your business does, and wherever it is you live, there are artists who can help transform your business stories into something magical.
They may not be writers or musicians or painters or videographers. They may be so far removed from the standard view of an artist it’s hard to accept they are one. But artists exist all around us. When it comes to sharing your business stories, seek them out.
Include them. Invite them. Bring them into your process and let them add a special twist, because if you do you’ll share business stories that matter, and that are unlike anything your competitors can come up with. Go forth and seek out an artist or two, and when you find them let me know on FACEBOOK or TWITTER. I’d love to chat with you and learn more about your business stories.
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