Exploring Your Brand Story + Creating Impactful Content, with Wallis Millar-Blanchaer

What’s the narrative you share, my friend? As we draw a close on our Branding Chapter, we’re giving you an episode that will shower you with hits of inspiration as you reflect and dive into your brand’s story. Wallis Millar-Blanchaer, the head of content at Holisticism, joins us in our exploration and search for the defining factors that make a brand enchanting, engaging, and endearing to their self-defined communities. #sympatico

WALLIS MILLAR-BLANCHAER

I think it’s interesting when brands state, “we’re not for everyone, btws.” I think that’s a little bit defensive and distracting. Because to me, I think that’s a given – of course every brand isn’t for everyone. We totally align ourselves with brands that we feel are telling the story that we want to connect to and identify with, because we’re such a consumer culture and such a secular culture. So, it’s like brands are our religion in many ways. And we’re going to attach ourselves to the story, the narrative, the lifestyle of the brand that we want to associate with. And, of course, brands aren’t for everyone. So, when brands are caught up in making that explicitly clear, you’re distracted from your people. Just focus on what you are for – not who you aren’t for.

Wallis is a Media Multi-Hyphenate with a passion for film, media production, and crafting immersive content. If you’re interested in becoming a content editor / content director, then Wallis is def an expander to keep your eye on. #yourwelcome

Wallis is also the Head of Content at Holisticisma well-being company that merges the mystic into the holistic. I brought her on to the show because of the impact she’s had on Holisticism’s rapid growth within the last 12+ months. Every time I see her in the spaces, I am inspired to go bigger, shine brighter, and take aligned action within my branded content. In this episode, she was a partner in exploring what it is that creates impact for spectators – asking the question, what makes a brand approachable and fascinating?

WHAT MAKES A BRAND STAND OUT

Sometimes we can get confused with the idea of wanting to look professional and stand out – whatever that means to you – with the desire to fascinate our audiences and create impactful content. As in, we may think looking “professional” is enough and will do the job. And if you’ve been struggling to get exposure and keep followers, then you know that this, in fact, is far from the truth. Although looking polished is absolutely a useful advantage, it’s not the end-all-be-all to connecting with your audience.

Which is really what you’re looking for – to make a significant connection with those who engage within the world you’ve created. As we established with Cristel Aguero-Smith, your brand is a crafted manifesto/worldview. To stand out in the crowd, you need to not only focus on the quality of your visuals, but the narrative you’re telling. People are impacted when they see a reflection – a part of themselves – that shows them the person they want to be.

So, you need to ask yourself: what’s my brand story? And, what do I want people to know is possible and real in this life? When you can embody and portray that within your work, that’s what makes you stand out.

FINDING YOUR BRAND STORY

This might be a bit of a misnomer, because I don’t actually have a specific pathway for you that helps find your brand story. It takes a lot of reflective exploration, and it won’t come to you instantaneously. This is a journey that requires patience and practiced discernment – especially in a world full of the pursuit of the status quo. But what I can do is help you channel clarity so you can find the story that’s true for you today.

Here are six journal prompts to help you uncover your brand story:

What about your own story is significant? We’re looking for experiences or achievements that show a reflection that your ideal audience responds and connects to.

What do you want others to accomplish? Going back to that question of, what do you want people to know is possible for them?

Who is the person your audience is becoming? What is it that they are working on and trying to achieve in their life? Who do they want to be?

What’s your brand’s archetypal journey? We talked about this in our episode on Leaning Into Your Archetype and our Masterclass: Reclaiming Your Great Awakening. Focus on the specific adventure or pathway you are able to shape for your clients and community that allows them to accomplish their dreams and step into the person they are becoming.

What is your brand’s personality? And what are your brand values? Don’t skip this one! It impacts the tone and approach you create within your brand story.

If your brand’s story was a legend or fairy tale, what would it be about and what are the elements that would enchant the reader? Bonus points if you actually write the thing. It’ll help you build impact and magic within your brand story. AKA, that fascination element.

CHECK-IN: ARE YOU MAKING BRANDED CONTENT OR NOISE?

Let’s return to this idea of solely trying to look professional in order to stand out. As said before, looking professional is just not enough. Reason being that if we simply seek to look a certain way that expresses a level of status, you’re most likely copying what’s trendy to just try to gain exposure. If that’s the case, then you’re missing heart, originality, and the mark on what makes you unique. We don’t want to blend in, we want to stand out. So, don’t make it hard for people to find you by surrendering to comparison culture – cuz that’s essentially what it is.

Let’s quickly define the difference between noise and branded content so that you can check in with the work you’re releasing:

Noise is going to be content created as a form of AGT – attention-grabbing techniques. It’s designed in such a way that is too similar or familiar to other brands within your field or industry. Noise doesn’t seek to contribute true value, and only wants to receive from others – whether that’s sales, attention, or a certain level of status.

Branded Content seeks to be of benefit. It serves your mission and purpose, and provides a reflection that your audience responds strongly to. Branded Content isn’t created out of trends, although it could be inspired by them, but is designed in a way that aligns with their story and values. This kind of content stands out because it portrays the world the brand creates and invites audiences to be a part of it.

Now that you know the difference, can you tell where you stand? Listen to the rest of this season on Reinventing Yourself to help you pivot into true business alignment.

POINTS TO PUT IN YOUR BACK POCKET

  • An approachable brand is one that makes you feel like your friends and a part of the crew – regardless if you talk to your audiences directly. They’re transparent, magical, and place up reflections that inspire.
  • Branding is an experiment. It’s something to discover, not definitively define. Your brand will evolve and change over time. Your brand is practically human.
  • We naturally align to brands that show us narratives that we connect to.
  • Don’t focus on who you’re not for – focus on who you are for and cater that space.
  • Brands are a religion in many ways – they embody a specific lifestyle and set of beliefs.
  • When creating branded content, think about what you’re communicating and what makes you different from those in your industry. Focus on what you value and what you can contribute.

            REFERENCES & NEXT STEPS

            • Giphy – Wallis previously worked here and we mentioned it a few times.
            • We also mention Amanda Seales, a comedian who has signature sayings of, “I’m not for everyone.” + “Be blocked and be blessed.” The reason why it works for her is because she constantly speaks out about political and social injustices that occur for the black community. She’s using these phrases as a way to create boundaries from haters.
            • A24 – Film production company that Wallis is semi-obsessed with. She asked if I knew them, I said no, but I’m just not great with names. I definitely know A24. She admires the content and extended experiences – like podcasts, editorials, BTS, etc – they create for all of their productions. ‘Tis pretty cool and I might also become semi-obsessed.
            • I mentioned my personal IG – if you want to follow along on my streaming and aspiring stand-up journey, follow me @BrittannyyyMaarieee.