Build Your Brand for Stationery and Gift Businesses - Part 2
Posted on 25 April 2021
Last month I shared some advice on how to build your brand in the stationery and gift sector, and I felt there was so much more to say. So here is part two of my guide, all garnered from my experiences of creating Afrotouch Design from nothing. I hope you enjoyed the first part of this blog and that the hints and tips I lay out in these two articles can help kickstart your amazing and rewarding journey.
Know Your Brand Story and Tell the World
You don’t just want to recount the cold facts about your business, you need to tell an emotional story that connects with your target audience and draws them in. The great thing here is that you get to define this story. You control the narrative.
Let people know what drives you to succeed, what made you realise that stationery and gifts were the products that lit your passion and why you run the business in the manner that you do. When you start a new business, you can share as much as you feel comfortable with. People don’t need to know about every aspect of your life leading up to launching the brand, but you need to give them enough to interest them, to help them relate to you, and to make them listen to what you have to say and see what you have to sell.
You are in a competitive market with many big name retailers. Customers know what they are going to get from these familiar names, so to be able to compete, you have to market yourself in a way that tells them what they will feel when they buy from you.
Keep it simple, make sure it is authentic, ensure it means something to your target audience and that it comes from a personal, emotional point of view. Talk about who you are, what you do, why you do it and where you want to go in the future. For example, your brand story could be about your eco credentials, why it is important to you to help your customers make ethical decisions and feel like they are making a difference when they use your brand, as well as your aim to lobby the industry to shift to a more sustainable way of working in the future.
Build Brand Awareness
Once you have your brand, you need to share it with the world. The temptation is to spread yourself across all social media channels to market your products, but it is better to start small and keep it manageable. Pick one network and build that first. Concentrate on it and get it right.
Take Instagram, for example. For anyone working with products that pack a visual punch, such as greetings cards and stationery, Insta is the perfect platform. It’s all about the images. However, do not just use your profile to sell, sell, sell. No one scrolls their feed looking to be sold to all the time. Yes, show off your products, but also share your story, give insights into your life, engage your target audience with questions they will have an opinion on.
This takes time, but it is worth it. If you need support, it is out there for you. You could hire a social media manager or a virtual assistant. I work with Supportal Business Services, who take on those tasks that I simply cannot dedicate enough time to. The real benefit is that you get an expert to handle your Instagram without having to employ a full time member of staff. They work to build your brand for you and you only pay them for the work they carry out.
Plan Your Launches
There is a whole blog here on its own, but for now I’ll give you a brief look at one of the most important ways to build your brand. Once you have your products, you are pretty much ready to start selling. But do not simply upload everything to your website at once.
The key is to consistently launch new products throughout the year. This keeps people interested and allows you to really spend time promoting each item in the manner it deserves. Use a yearly launch plan that might start out with greetings cards, then notebooks, then planners, and so on.
You can make each launch into its own storyline, from pre-promotion and teasers to the big reveal. This keeps your audience returning to your social profiles, waiting to see what will happen next. The story, once again, is so valuable when you build your brand.
Ready to Build Your Brand?
If you are inspired by this advice to launch your own stationery and gift business, I wish you all the luck in the world. It is tough but so rewarding and you are in for a great ride. Keep me updated on your progress and let me know if I can help in any way.