How to Build an Authentic Brand: 3 Tips from a Master Storyteller
In today’s world, authenticity is mission critical when it comes to brand building. It’s not enough to mass market your customers — dig deeper, get to know who your customers really are, learn how to speak to them, and you’ll see the long term impact that can have.
How does Beyoncé’s powerhouse publicist and master storyteller behind some of the entertainment industry’s biggest stars approach brand building? Read on for tips from Dr. Yvette Noel-Schure.
[Photo credit: Ben Esakof/Halo Creative for HubSpot]
BE AUTHENTIC AND KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
What’s the skeleton key to brand building in the eyes of a master storyteller? Authenticity. It sounds simple enough, but not many large brands are doing it these days, according to Dr. Noel-Schure.
“When it comes to branding, you have to know who you're speaking to and what you're speaking of. And for me, everything I do has to be authentic. The story has to be authentic.”
“If you can see a little fault, if you can see a little hole, it's not real,” she added.
She underscored that every single person has a story (something she learned while working for her grandparents’ business in Grenada). No matter if your client is a pop star or a tech company, the key to teasing those stories out and sharing them for maximum impact is: knowing the customer.
Authenticity may be the key to branding, but storytelling always starts with the customer. As a marketer, your job is to learn who they are. Ask yourself: Who is the customer? Who are you speaking to? What are the questions they’ll most likely ask and how are you going to answer them? By understanding their stories, you can build real and impactful relationships through your outreach to customers.
NO MEANS NEXT OPPORTUNITY
Reflecting on her decades-long career, Dr. Noel-Schure shared how she faced plenty of rejections from unsuccessful press pitches to the challenges that can come with promoting clients. Her response? No means next opportunity.
Her time as Beyoncé's publicist began with her work promoting the band, Destiny’s Child. When they first came on the scene, she approached multiple media outlets for coverage, but nothing materialized. What did she do next? She kept quietly hammering away, finding different angles and story lines to pitch. And again, getting to know her clients and their customers on a deeper level — staying persistent until she received a response.
“You just need one yes.”
When faced with rejections or challenges, adopt a mindset of resilience and view each setback as an opportunity for growth and improvement. Keep exploring different approaches, stay persistent, and most importantly, develop a deep understanding of your clients and their target audience.
BRING MORE PEOPLE INTO THE ROOM
Brands need to do more when it comes to inclusive marketing, especially in the tech industry, according to Dr. Noel-Schure. You can make a brand appealing to different markets while still staying true and authentic to who you are. “If you’re telling a full, authentic story, it becomes a global story,” she said. “We’re more alike than we are different,” she added. “If we find the things that are similar to us, that’s easy marketing.”
How can brands show up for minorities and women? Make products more available and have the right representation mix in commercials and marketing materials. Invite more people into the room and let a diverse group test new products and give opinions — if you market to the same demographic over and over again, your brand and business will never grow.
“Marketers are just a product of their own environment. So you bring all your prejudices to your marketing plan. But if you take that out of your head, and you try to be more like the consumer, oh, imagine how different things would be.”
By removing biases and gaining a deeper understanding of customers' needs and preferences, marketers can develop more effective strategies and connect with them on a meaningful level. This requires a shift in mindset and the recognition that we are more alike than different, uniting us as both consumers and people.
Don’t underestimate the importance of authenticity, inclusive marketing, and consumer listening in building successful and impactful brands. Be authentic, be inclusive, know your narrative and always be ready to share it. Dr. Noel-Schure left the audience with her work blueprint: “I live every day in business and in my personal life by being patient, passionate, and persistent. And I could not get anywhere in this world, in this business, without those.”
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