To successfully build your social impact brand, storytelling needs to be your top priority.
The speed of digital communication means that companies are no longer in full control of brand perception. Other forms of communications, such as third party reviews and tweets ranging from critics, employees, and top CEOs, have a role to play in forming the company image.
Unlike the days before social media, companies are judged not just by the perception they try to create, but also by the realities of what they say and do.
Fundación Ideas para la Paz (FIP) is an independent think-and-do tank started by a group of Colombian entrepreneurs with an unwavering yet complex vision for the future: building a peaceful and secure Colombia.
Another way to define your vision of the future is with a brand vision statement. In their blog How visionary is your vision statement? Mighty Ally says a vision statement should be one part strategy, one part narrative.
Visual storytelling is an underutilized tool for social innovators seeking to communicate the value of their business, product, or impact to a wider audience.
Jordan Bresler Muething and Sky White are part of the team at Argodesign, a product design consultancy. They work with clients around the world to design, develop, and communicate bold and innovative ideas through strategic design and visual storytelling. Jordan and Sky believe design is a key tool that helps mission-driven businesses showcase their stories authentically and resonate with their audience.
At Argodesign, their visual storytelling is shared through “interactive stories” that communicate the problem their client faced, the process designed to solve that problem, and the solution Argodesign developed to meet that challenge.
Prior to Argodesign, Sky worked at littleBits, a company that designs electronic modules that snap together with magnets and other STEAM-based educational tools for kids. The founder, Ayah Bdeir, is a Lebanese Canadian woman who wanted to make inventing just as cool and normalized for girls as it is often perceived for boys. Looking at the marketplace for engineering toys, the team realized the products in this space were perpetuating the narrative that engineering is a boy’s domain – the colors, the packaging, the fonts were all branded for boys.
LittleBits decided to be part of changing that narrative. Leveraging visual storytelling techniques, they created a gender-neutral brand story, making the act of invention accessible for everyone. They crafted the story to feature a young female inventor and geared their brand colors, fonts and packages to resonate with young girls and boys equally. Decisions like choosing colors that were bright, vibrant, and inviting for all genders paid off, and soon they saw more girls taking an interest in their products.
Once you know the story you want to tell, how do you make sure it breaks through the clutter and reaches your audience?
When the global pandemic hit, Argodesign recognized it was a pivotal time for brands to stay relevant, get creative, and survive the uncertainties. They also knew they had to break the mold, too. The team felt compelled to offer their bold perspective on the importance of innovation in the context of the pandemic.
They used visual design in the form of a creative newsletter to communicate their vision that “innovation is imperative.” Their July 2020 Newsletter featured images of airspace innovation throughout history and challenged readers to think about an innovative future despite the uncertain present. For Argodesign, this was their most authentic idea, delivered effectively using visual storytelling elements that were meaningful to their audience.
Reflect on the six steps above and consider how the core elements of your brand shape the stories you tell about it: