How to Infuse Storytelling in Fashion Marketing, pt. 2
Victoria B. Willie, Contributing Editor
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**This is the second part of a three-part series on fashion brand storytelling.
In the first part of this series, we looked at what brand storytelling entails and why fashion brands should consider investing in storytelling as a marketing tool. As we established, fashion brand storytelling goes beyond creating artistic designs that draw inspiration from culture, societal vices, or other elements. Instead, it focuses on using compelling narratives to connect with customers in a deeper and more meaningful way.
Like every successful brand that harnesses storytelling, if you adopt it for your fashion brand, you’ll experience more brand awareness, achieve business goals, and spur brand connection.
Now here comes the crucial question:
How do you incorporate storytelling into your fashion brand’s marketing?
How Do You Bring Storytelling into Fashion Marketing?
The best path toward bringing storytelling into your fashion marketing efforts is to make stories out of the following marketing assets:
What better way to tell a story than showing it? Television commercials give your audience a walk-in experience into your brand story. But let’s say you don’t want to interrupt a customer’s entertainment - no problem. Entertain and inform with film, video, YouTube or social media content.
The fast-fashion line, H&M wanted to show their support for sustainable fashion. They were able to reinvent the label through a campaign for clothing recycling titled “Close the Loop”. The campaign video not only embraced sustainable fashion, it also addressed issues such as body diversity and gender equality. And by leveraging celebrity endorsements, they were able to tell a sustainable story that showed their effort in preserving the environment through clothes recycling.
GOLF le Fleur, the fragrance and fashion brand from popular artist Tyler the Creator, makes an effort to be viewed as creative, artistic, minimal, and, above all else, a classy fragrance and fashion option for a new generation. Rather than run traditional ads, the brand produces short films with ad-spot run-times hosted on its YouTube channel. This allows the brand to simultaneously embody the creativity it identifies with as well as reach the target audience where it lives - online.
Most founders and in-house marketers are guilty of stuffing their About Page with self-adulation and jargon that neither serve their target audience nor achieve business goals. We know your brand uses the best high-quality fabrics, cutting-edge technology, and whatnot but can you please cut to the chase already? Why not make it more about your customers than about your business?
Your About Page is not where you use clever words to brag about your business. It's not where you slam the 'Our Story' title atop the page and applaud yourself for crafting a great brand story. It's not even where you use industry jargon to share your wins and sideline your customers.
Instead, it's where you:
• Introduce your brand to your customers
• Give them a clear view of your business.
• Share your company's achievements but place your customers at the center.
• Intrigue your target audience with a welcoming story that endears them to your business.
How do you do this successfully?
Tie the story to your brand essence. I.e, look within your brand and draw clues from there.
For instance, if your brand name draws inspiration from a historical event or folktale, tie your About Page to that. You can also tell your vision for your business in an imaginative way that endears your customers to your brand or narrate the eureka moment that led to founding your business. And no, you don't have to begin with "Once upon a time." You only need to spin your about-us around a narrative without sounding vainglorious or bland.
The underwear brand, Spanx did this so well with their About Page. They began with a short story detailing how their founder got the idea to start up Spanx and then proceeded to talk about the business.
Blogposts & Newsletters
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 73% of B2B marketers and 70% of B2C marketers use content marketing as part of their overall marketing strategy. From publishing articles to white papers, case studies, etc., content marketing yields results for businesses.
And if you want to take your fashion brand’s blog a step further, your best bet is to harness storytelling. Here’s one of my handy hacks for this:
First, introduce your article with a story. This could be fiction, a personal experience, a historical event, or any befitting anecdote that relates to the piece you’re writing. I did it for the first part of this series you’re reading. I also wrote a story-driven introduction for my article on Lagos Fashion Week 2022.
When crafting a story-driven introduction for your blog posts:
1. Pick a point of view. This could be first-person (I), second-person (you), or third-person (he, she, they).
2. Ensure the story or anecdote relates to the topic you’re writing on.
3. Don’t linger around your intro story. Hit the nail right on the head.
4. Tie your intro story to the goal of your article and the experiences of your ideal reader.
As Tim Metz, Content Marketing Manager at Animalz, opined:
"Storytelling is the holy grail for content marketers. Anyone — including robots — can write a listicle or keyword-stuffed what-is-X article. But stories, stories are works of art. They separate writers from mere marketers. They require creativity."
Your product descriptions should neither be boring nor limited to obvious details about your products. Instead, they should be persuasive. And that’s where storytelling comes in.
You can weave your fashion products around any story of your choice, strike an emotive chord in the hearts of your customers, and get them to buy. And to do this, you need to build a relatable scenario that mirrors a character who has a problem your product solves.
Ensure you use your audience’s language and paint a picture using their day-to-day experiences. Then provide as many details about your product as possible before adding your call-to-action. These details could be the weight, material composition, size, where it was made, warranty, etc., of your product.
Case in point, see one of the story-driven product descriptions The J Peterman Company uses to sell its products:
Story Ideas for Fashion Brands
To better execute storytelling in the aforementioned marketing assets, you need intriguing ideas. And in the final part of this series, I’ll share viable story ideas you can execute for your fashion business.
Wondering what these ideas are? See you in part three.
About Victoria B. Willie
The first time I wrote a story I was about six years old. It wasn't a story per se. It was a description (or better still, caption) that gave meaning to the caricatures my elder cousin drew on paper. From that moment till today, I've been giving meaning to things (and now businesses) with words.
But when I'm not helping businesses sell more via storytelling, you’ll catch me writing style articles for Svelte Magazine, designing fashion-forward pieces for my fashion brand, Ria Kosher, and telling wild stories that always come with a twist.