“People do not buy services and goods, they buy relations stories & magic” – Seth Godin.
Depending how you landed here, you may have seen this quote eloquently sitting centre stage on our home page. For Emily and I, this quote resonates deeply and is something we use as a mantra for each project we embark upon. Take a moment, think of your favourite brands. We’ll hedge our bets that they’re at the forefront of your mind for an emotive reason, because their story has navigated its way into your subconscious. At Stories Studio, we help brands cement their story into the minds of their customers through content that enables, entices and enriches their senses.
In this day and age, all the information we could ever need lies just a few tiny taps away. Your potential customers have access to all your (and your competitors) products information and pricing. Therefore, you are competing on product quality and price. The key is to offer your audience more than just your product or service, successful lifestyle brands overwhelm your own rationale. Brands that provide value to their customers will always stand superior. But, brands that dedicate time, effort and budget into intentional, inspirational storytelling will soar.
Take for instance Veuve Clicquot, the brand boasts an impressive 421k followers on Instagram. Veuve are spreading an important message; Champagne is more than a drink reserved for toasts at big birthdays or New Year celebrations. It is to be enjoyed at all times, in all eventualities. Be it poolside, fireside, seaside. On top of a mountain, by a lake, in a forest. With your morning croissant, your lunchtime sushi or to get you through that intense game of jenga. In no situation is it ever unbefitting to pop open a bottle (or two) of Veuve Clicquot. How do I know this? Through Veuve’s ongoing stream of lifestyle content. Veuve are using content creators, influencers and models to demonstrate the copious ways their champagne can be experienced. Veuve are not just selling a bottle of champagne, they are selling a lifestyle.There’s a lot you can learn from brands like Veuve, who have recognised the importance of content creation – arguably the tool for visual storytelling.
‘As a designer I’ve often questioned what makes a good brand? And for me the answer is lots of things, BUT at the forefront of it there’s a few things that any good brand just can’t live with out; audience knowledge, passion, consistency & exposure. And I say and emphasise ‘live’ because good brands are alive, they are receptive and versatile, they create tools to inspire their audience to design the lives they want.’
– Emily, stories co-founder.
Branding, has always been the world’s first perception of your company; what is does, its ethos. With many brands now being discovered through social media, Instagram is taking on this role. With logo’s being squeezed into tiny circles (display pictures/profile pictures) and content taking centre stage, it’s crucial to pay close attention to your brand’s behaviour. Content creation has fast become one of Stories Studio’s most popular services. As a designer/marketer duo, we have a deep understanding of brand values and coherently showcase this in our work, in a way that a photographer may not. The aim of each shoot is to create desire through photography. To form a real life situation in which a product or service can be experienced and enjoyed. A great example of this, is our most recent shoot for Ponderlily. Ponderlily create purpose filled goods for purposeful living, with the most recent addition to their collection being a Travel Planner. Naturally, we created a scene that embodied the very essence of travel, with the intention to not just demonstrate how the planner could be used but to inspire adventure.
So, you just take some pretty pictures, write a cute caption and post it on Instagram? No. Well, yes. But, not before you have identified your target audience, gained a strong understanding of their behaviour and written a solid strategy. Persona building, research, objectives, SMART analysis, research, messaging, personalisation, research. Traditional marketing tactics are essential to your content strategy and until you have formed a clear understanding of how you can connect, engage and convert your audience into a customer, you will be walking blind – never a great idea, especially barefoot.
Content creation looks glamorous, easy, and to passers-by watching Emily and I balance two incredibly delicate prosecco glasses, multiple baguettes, strawberries, a bunch of flowers, copious linen napkins, decorative cushions, croissants, rapidly melting brie and the biggest grapes you’ve ever seen on the side of a rock, directly above the deep blue sea – a little strange. Content creation, behind the scenes, is not as glamorous it looks. It’s time consuming. It requires extreme focus, attention to detail and more props than a primary school nativity. Content creation requires a fitting location, the props to match, the perfect light, a skilled stylist/photographer and a patient assistant to add four grapes into shot, only to remove twelve approximately seven seconds later. A content creation shoot is only ever as good as the planning that goes into it.
Emily and I have had many calls, emails and DM’s from founders who have been left feeling disappointed and exasperated about their product shoots. I would like to point out, this is in many cases through no fault of the photographer. Hiring a photographer does not mean hiring a stylist – scenes often need curating, shopping for and most importantly assembling. In our experience the best work is created when the two work simultaneously together. If you are in the process of launching/re-launching your business and require photographs for your website or you are a brand that requires content that converts for your social media channels – we strongly advise you think very carefully about your approach. Often shortcuts aren’t really all that worthwhile. Cutting corners won’t give you the edge
Don’t lose sight of why you are investing in content creation. It is not just for the sake of updating your Instagram and it is absolutely not a waste of budget (if you’re going about it the right way). It is a strategic solution to engage your customers’ senses, thoughts and hearts. As we have seen from successful client campaigns, content creation enables customers to feel empowered, secure, safe, relieved and confident. And, let’s face it – an emotive investment is undoubtedly the beginning of a great relationship. Content creation, should be at the heart of every brand strategy. Be careful not to fall into the trap of being on a follower number frenzy. Seek out the figures and deliverables that truly provide value to your business. Engagement is key, and by the way – engagement should be measured on quality not quantity. Two engaging, conversational, real comments on an Instagram post is of so much more value than thirty comments that are quite clearly not from people wanting to invest in your business (beware of the bots).
Please just drop us an email firstname.lastname@example.org and as long as we’re not balancing on another wobbly rock at the edge of the Balearic sea, we’ll be straight back to you.
Photographs in this post were taken for Hattingley Valley Wines at Sa Caleta beach, Ibiza. Hattingley Valley Wines are an English Sparkling Wine brand; you can read more about the work we have done for them here.