In RIUH Talks’ first episode of 2021, that took place on 8th May, themed “Navigating the Social Media Jungle”, the panelists of the virtual talk included the founders of Brand New Waves, Coffeeboy Club, Mulazine, and content creator Izlia Izelan.
Social media is an incredible tool in forming amazing connections, building relationships and creating conversations. And, for the most part, it’s free.
Whether your goal is to build your own community, integrate into an existing community, or both, adopt the approach that social media is your vehicle to get there.
“Go where your target audience is and create content both for them and what works for the social media platform itself,” is advice from Izlia, who has worked with brands such as Bellapizo, Anaabu and Whimsigirl.
But before you, as a brand owner / creator, should think about which target audiences to reach out to and assimilate with, you should first determine who your brand is. One of the first things I do when I start working with a brand, is what I call “brand humanisation”.
Humanising your brand can help you steer away from the traditional, and often robotic, marketing techniques and focus on being more relatable and engaging.
I’ll talk you through the steps to building your brand’s persona, but before that, let’s put into context why it’s important. I am a strong believer, through my own professional experience, that this method can help make a brand stand out.
Storytelling is one of the many ways we as humans communicate. It helps create an engaging environment where people feel comfortable enough to express their own ideas and opinions. Humanising your brand allows for more opportunities to share your brand’s story and connect with the right people; like attracts like.
As Adam of Brand New Waves put it, “Once you have a strong brand for people to connect to, people will look for you.”
As a social running club, Brand New Waves has created a space where runners (aspirational, newbies and seasoned) can meet for group runs without feeling intimidated or judged, and have also injected the club with an extroverted spice.
#2 Building Relationships
The wonderful thing about being confident in the brand persona that you’ve created is that like-minded people will naturally flock to you. Your vibe attracts your tribe.
And in order to do this, people need to feel like they’re talking to a human when they engage with your brand. Which is why you may have see sign-off’s using first names in customer service conversations:
Hi skincare brand X, I’m not sure which serum best suits my skin type. Could you help me out?
Hi lovely! Thanks for reaching out. Of course we can. What are your skin concerns? Looking forward to hearing from you. Sending you good vibes, Brandy
I, as a consumer, love this. Bring on the Brandy’s of the world to help make my purchasing process and life easier. (Even if it’s actually 10 members of the customer service team, all signing off as her.)
“Success in the social media world shouldn’t be a snapshot assessment, rather, focus on growth and continuity,” as the Coffeeboy Club guys (Byrzoid and Dan) have pointed out. For them, it’s about creating an ecosystem that their multifaceted lifestyle brand can flourish in.
It’s a conscious, consistent effort to consider all of your brand’s touchpoints on social media (your IG profile name, your bio, your highlights, your tone of voice, your visual style), to create something one-of-a-kind and special.
#3 It helps keep you consistent
Humanising your brand will also keep you in check when it comes to all your branding efforts and initiatives. Just as you might ask yourself this question at a crossroads, you can also apply this to your brand - “Is this something I would say / do / wear / etc.?”
It’s about building authenticity and staying true to what your brand stands for; it’s purpose for existence.
Mulazine has carved a nostalgic niche for itself by keeping it real. “From a friend to a friend talking about something real. Our headlines for our posters are a reminder, a nudge, everything in one,” as pointed out by its founder, Alia.
Now that we know the why, let’s look at the how.
This is a quick fire, mind-mapping approach I use every time I am creating a brand. I essentially want to turn it into a person. It’s a highly visual, very energetic and truly productive exercise. Make sure you’ve set up a space that won’t allow for any interruptions and let your imagination flow - artist at work.
Step 1: Get a blank piece of paper and get ready to scribble as fast as your brain churns out key words
Step 2: Write your brand name in the middle and circle it - this is the human you’re about to manifest and make come to life
Step 3: Let’s think about the basics
Step 4: Childhood
Step 5: Socialising
Step 6: Aesthetics
Step 7: Communication style
And keep going with the flow. You can continue to branch off from each section to delve deeper and deeper. You can even take a rest then revisit again the day after. It’s a process that you can own, and however it works for you is the right way. You’ll know when you’re done.
There was once I had 5 pieces of A3 size paper from doing this exercise - that’s how far my mind went with making this particular brand come to life.
From here, look at your scribbles, absorb them and visualise this human you’ve created. This exercise should provide you with clarity on how to approach your social media content - from creating to communicating.
What I like to do is go through my mind-mapping sheets every 6 months for every brand to see if it needs a refresh. Afterall, just like humans, brands are organic and ever-evolving.