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A while back Andrew signed Elegant Marketplace up as a sponsor for a blog competition.  When he sent me the winning post I was blown away.  The topic was Designing for the Future: Trends We Need to Consider Now. The winner, Garette Johnson of Garrott Designs tackled the concept of travel centers as cultural hubs.  Think about the airport as a more than just a place where you are aggravated and standing around.

I asked Garette if she would meet with me, and she agreed!  Her talents and skills run pretty deep, by day she works in the fashion industry and is a trend analyst and brand visionary.  She is also an artist (you see some of her work in the video) and designer.  Together we thought that taking on the concept of Storytelling as it relates to building your brands identity and how you then get that idea onto various digital platforms.

Garette shares with us three very different brands: her own, the fashion house she works for, and a client who is an eldercare lawyer.  I think you will be impressed that the less “sexy” site, the eldercare lawyer, is really just as powerful at conveying a message as the fashion site.

Here are some highlights:

  • Storytelling is important for all brands and isn’t just a trend.  Stories connect humans and cultures.
  • Not all products / services are “sexy” but it doesn’t matter.  You are selling feelings to expertise, it doesn’t need to be boring, you need to think about what message you want to convey to potential clients.
  • Brand stories have many elements: emotions, customer experiences (which can be memories or case studies), calls to action and realistic solutions.
  • Garrott shares with us how one of her blog posts, which was a Sketch Journal of her summer holiday, resulted in her selling a good bit of her art work.
  • How to extract a brand story from a client.  Some questions to ask:
    • What is unique about their business.
    • Why / how was it founded
    • What is the problem / solution that the business addresses
    • Clients personality!
    • Business evolution (where were they, where do they want to be) – we didn’t touch too much on this in the interview – but it is important for you to know this because you may be designing a site for where they see themselves in 12 months, not where they are when they call you (i.e. do they want to move into e-commerce, do they want to attract higher paying clients, etc)
    • What is the clients emotional experience to the solution they are providing.
  • As your brand story relates to social media:  Using each platform slightly differently to meet the audiences in each environment.
  • I ask if the ship has sailed for businesses using Facebook (very interesting response).
  • Which social media platform is Garrott’s fav and why – I got an answer I didn’t expect!
  • Do you need to put a photo of yourself on your website.  Spoiler alert, yes – and all the ones I have with my husband or a glass of wine cropped out are NOT good for business.  2018 goal, photoshoot.

I really enjoyed the chat, and I am sure you will also.  Grab a coffee, feel free to add to the conversation in the comments below.

PS the watercolor is from Garette’s sketchbook!

EIleen Lonergan
Eileen Lonergan was an integral part of this company. Unfortunately, Eileen Passed away on the 31st of October 2018 after a short battle with Cancer. She leaves behind the legacy of the Divi Theme Users Group and hundreds of people that she helped through coaching, building outstanding websites and just being - accessible. We miss her every day!
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