“Everyday, billions of us are engaged in an unprecedentedly massive and shamelessly personal storytelling campaign called social media”. (Weich, J, 2013, p. 24)
Story telling is a powerful tool to brand and market any product. A product does not have to be a physical object, it can be a person, an experience, a service or an idea. Just as a successful business brands a product to become desirable to its customers, I have been branding myself as a storyteller to build a following and community around my design practice.
The brilliance of story driven brands such as Apple, Coca Cola, Google and Nike is their ability to bring together different cross-cultural communities around a single (positive) mentality: Think Differently; Open Happiness; Don’t Be Evil; Just Do It. What these simple yet beautiful slogans have in common is that they are all variations of the same aspirational narrative: to get the most out of life while you are here. So what is my narrative?
As a young designer, getting the most out of life is what I am working towards. While I am still young and single I wish to make my mark on the world while the consequences may be much lesser. If one was to start from nothing, you do not have anything to lose if you fail. A wise start up business founder once said to me, “make sure you fail fast”. But, to fail fast, first you must have something to fail.
If you are reading this, you are probably aware of the successful Pledge Me crowdfunding campaign, raising funds to send me to the United Sates. I have been offered an opportunity to visit some of the top design and business institutions within San Francisco. Who would say no to this opportunity? With such short notice to organise and pay for the trip, I have indeed started from nothing. Just as the campaign has started from nothing. I have nothing to lose in giving crowdfunding my best shot. If it were to fail, at least it would have been over and done with quickly resulting in minimal collateral damage.
What I have learnt from the experience is that you have to be cut-throat and direct. Marketing your campaign is not for the faint hearted. Your friends and network will get sick of your continuous posting on social media platforms. The truth is that no one will listen to you the first time, nor the second and probably not the third either. You have to build a relationship with your audience. It shows you who your true friends are. The people who continuously like, share and comment on your posts on social media are the ones who really do wish to see you succeed. It is not all bad however. It is important to create a brand that tells a great personal story that others can relate to. It can be an extremely rewarding experience in understanding more about one’s self.
If you ever have the opportunity to raise funds through crowdfunding, I highly recommend giving it your best shot. It is always much easier to start from nothing as anything you do along the journey will be constructive. It will be tough at times…. It may put strain on yourself and those around you but the experience will be worthwhile and very rewarding.