”Your brand is a story unfolding across all customer touch points.”

Jonah Sachs

It’s a sunny Saturday morning, and you’ve decided to treat yourself to a trip to the local farmers market.

Picture it: bustling stalls overflowing with bright, seasonal produce, each vendor eagerly touting the freshest tomatoes or the juiciest peaches. But there’s one stall that catches your eye—not because it’s shouting the loudest, but because it’s different. The sign reads, “Grandma Ethel’s Beet Delights: Made with Love and a Beet of Flavor.” You chuckle and find yourself drawn to this unassuming yet intriguing booth.

You taste a spoonful of the roasted beets, and immediately, you’re hooked. Not just because of the taste—although it’s divine—but because you feel a connection. There’s a story here, a sense of tradition, humor, and genuine care. You buy a jar, then two, and suddenly, you’re a loyal customer.

Now, let’s zoom out from the beets and think about your own marketing efforts.

In today’s crowded marketplace, it’s easy to get lost in the noise if you’re just another vendor shouting about your latest, greatest, AI-driven, automated, multi-channel, cross-platform, blah blah blah. Trust me, it’s exhausting even writing that much Schmarketing in one sentence.

Instead, what if we took a leaf out of Grandma Ethel’s book? What if we focused on the long-term vision, on building a brand that stands out because it’s memorable, relatable, and genuinely adds value to the lives of the right people—our customers.

You see, building a lasting brand is not about the quick wins. It’s not about eking out that extra 0.5% click-through rate on your latest email “blast“. Not that those types of things don’t matter—but they are just one part of a much larger narrative.

Every interaction is a chapter in our brand’s unfolding story. As marketers, our job is to understand that every touchpoint is a potential plot twist in our brand’s narrative.

Every decision, from the formatting of our receipts to ensure they are helpful and clear, to the quirky yet professional tone of our social media posts, to the warmth in our customer service voice, and yes, even the witty, self-aware out-of-office replies we craft—they all add depth to our story. And just like in any good story, it’s the small, consistent details that build a world our audience can believe in.

Consider Apple.

Sure, they make great products. But what really sets them apart is their unwavering commitment to innovation and design excellence. They’ve built a brand that stands for creativity and premium quality, and they communicate this consistently across everything they do. As a result, their customers—real people like you and me—feel a part of something bigger, a community of like-minded individuals who value the same things.

Think about it: When you receive a package from Apple, the unboxing experience is almost ceremonial. The sleek design of the packaging, the smell of new tech, the simplicity of the instructions—all meticulously crafted to deliver a promise of innovation and quality. This is not just a box—it’s a carefully scripted scene in Apple’s ongoing story of modernity and sophistication.

Brands that captivate us do so because they consistently lead with value. They don’t just sell roasted beets (or iPhones)—they sell feelings, care, and an experience that sticks with you longer than the flavor of a root vegetable. This consistency doesn’t happen by accident—it’s a well-orchestrated strategy that aligns every touchpoint with the brand’s core values and the desires of its customers.

In essence, our brand is a reflection of who we are as companies, organizations, families, and individuals. It’s the sum of all our choices, big and small, and the consistency with which we make those choices.

Are we adding value to people’s lives, or are we adding cost? The brands that win our hearts are those that choose value, every time.

So, as you ponder your next marketing move, channel your inner Grandma Ethel. Infuse a bit of humor, a lot of heart, and a touch of authenticity into your brand’s story. Remember, your brand doesn’t need to shout—it just needs to speak in a voice that’s distinctly yours.

And who knows? Maybe one day, someone will look at your brand with the same fondness and loyalty you feel for those roasted beets. They’ll chuckle, feel a connection, and become a part of your ever-unfolding story. After all, isn’t that what great marketing is all about—creating moments of joy and connection, one touchpoint at a time?

So go on, craft your narrative, one out-of-office reply at a time. The world is waiting to fall in love with your story.

And if all else fails, there’s always roasted beets.

P.S. I am aware not everyone shares my love of beets and Apple’s gadgets (but especially beets). But the point stands: authenticity and connection are what resonate. But honestly, life’s too short not to enjoy a little roasted beet now and then.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand & Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.