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“Everybody lives by selling something”, opined the novelist Robert Louis Stevenson. It’s hardly a revelatory statement, coming from the author of Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, two of the biggest selling books of the nineteenth century.
But it is true, and particularly relevant. You see, Stevenson recognised that to be a successful writer, if he was to persuade people to buy his books, he had to create a compelling, well-thought and engaging story.
The same is true when it comes to brand. A brand is a story; a story full of potential, packed with meaning, crafted with passion, and with the power to change people’s behaviour, perceptions, understanding and attitudes.
Stevenson, in common with all successful writers to this day, understood what makes a good novel. At its heart is a story that draws in its readers; characters will be identifiable, believable or sympathetic. There’ll be a gripping, attention-grabbing plot, timeline or situation. On completion, the reader will be imbued with a sense of satisfaction, wonderment or enlightenment. And if a reader really enjoys the novel, they’ll try further books from the author.
Your brand follows the same path. Your story begins with that ‘eureka!’ moment, the point at which you (or your company) made your product discovery, realised your service offering, or saw the opportunity for disruption. It begins to flesh out as you more precisely define your product or refine its benefits. Gradually you create a perception of tone, value and relevance, connect with your customers and encourage them to engage with you and your company.
It’s the quality of this story – the identification with your customer base, the strength of the offering, the emotional connection with the customer – that defines the robustness of your brand. The best story (aka brand) will be one that readers (aka your customers) should want to read again and again, eagerly snapping up sequels, spin-offs and all the associated merchandise. How does an author maximise the chance of success?
Enter the editor. Highly knowledgeable about what readers want from the books they buy, authors rely on the editor’s skill to trim and shape and nip and tuck their stories, ironing out inconsistencies, lopping unnecessary narrative, or dropping surplus chapters – thus refining the story, and ensuring it’s pitched to a receptive audience in the best possible way.
Now, and only now, with the story complete, plot holes resolved, and the copy proof-read, does the book receive its eye-catching, clever and memorable cover…
At Agro Mavens we fulfil a similar role to the literary editor. Think of us as ‘marketing editors’. Agriculturally active companies turn to Agro Mavens to help them build and refine their story, before sharing it with the correct audiences; we’re storytellers as much as we are brand-builders, with our storytelling skills drawn from our inside-out knowledge of agriculture.
We work with our client base – from start-ups like Connecterra to multinationals such as Corteva and Lonza – helping them craft better stories, stories that will meet with understanding from receptive audiences, whether in the UK, Europe or worldwide.
And yes, we create those clever names and eye-catching logos too!
This article appeared as an invited contribution on AgriTech East’s website, November 2018