Having worked in Public Relations for years, I’ve been aware of the power of blogs for ages. However, it wasn’t until I began to stumble across more and more compelling stories from businesses that had chosen to operate in a new way, one that was fairer and more exciting than the traditional, that I felt compelled to join the blogging sorority in order to share my discoveries with the rest of the world.
Inspirational stories were woven into the very fabric of these new social enterprises I was eagerly learning about, and I was so impressed that I felt compelled to pass on information about them. I decided to create a platform in BonTonTimes.com that could support their success, and help others to hear about this pioneering work, which is often under the radar of mainstream advertising. From luxury fashion at Beulah London (stocked in Harvey Nichols; worn by royalty and celebrities), to hand sewn ethical accessories by SewLomax, the UK is brimming with start-ups and established brands that are making waves, engaging consumers through social media and standing out from the crowd. That is the power of a good story.
It’s an element of depth that makes any organisation memorable. Just this week I’ve been reading of a business based in Los Angeles called The Giving Keys which helps the homeless move away from the streets through employment, whilst raising money through sales of engraved keys that carry positive messages designed to be shared with those in need. What a simple idea, but one that makes you listen because it’s a reminder that business can be one of the most potent forces for good. And it’s a good product with a story that has travelled so fast that The Giving Keys are now sold in 200+ stores in the US including Fred Segal, Kitson and Opening Ceremony, and is quickly gaining international recognition.
It’s a lesson that any brand can learn – find your story and tell it with integrity. A blog is the perfect vehicle for this; it’s a free and fun way to reveal the human side of your organisation so loosen the reigns! Let your staff blog about the highs and lows of their day – people will identify with them, will respect the honesty and feel a deeper connection (and loyalty) to your products as a result. Do it well and you’ll get useful customer feedback and even ideas for new products and services. If you don’t feel confident that you have something to say that others will want to hear, it’s a sure-fire sign that you need to consider what your organisation stands for (and call me to discuss how you can make a commitment to CSR or social enterprise...!).
Catherine Chapman reviews and champions high quality ethical brands online at www.bontontimes.com. Having worked in PR and Marketing for global brands for the last 10 years, she’s using the skills gained to help promote ethical business to the masses. You can reach her via Catherine@bontontimes.com.