What Dolly Parton, a poet and a former Finance Director taught me about storytelling.

Credit: Janelle Hiroshige — found via Unsplash

I’ve been helping brands articulate their stories for years and in the back of my head, I’ve sat with the question: why do stories work? I finally think I’ve figured it out, with a little help from Dolly Parton, poet Gregory Orr and Finance Director-turned-coach Mark Seabright.

Stories contain the chaos of our emotions

I had a mind-blowing conversation with my business mentor, Mark Seabright. Once a Finance Director, he’s now a coach for founders like me. When I asked him why stories work, he shared something so clear that made everything in my head connect and light up like the northern lights. …

Ahhhh, the wise Origin Story. The story that came before the business. It’s the story so many businesses fail to tell well.

To me, that’s a very sad thing because the Origin Story holds all the nutrients of a brand story. That’s where all the real, authentic goodness comes from.

It’s the story that keeps us founders and leaders true to who we are. It’s the story that reconnects us with the things we care about and how far we’ve come.

I honestly believe the Origin Story is the most important story businesses can tell their customers. …

“But my business isn’t saving the planet so we don’t have a purpose.”

“I don’t think we can say we’re making people’s lives better, we’re just selling popcorn that tastes amazing.”

I hear things like this A LOT. This is how I respond:

Every business has a Purpose Story. For some, it’s clearer than others because they’re doing something meaningful like making reusable bottles out of ocean plastic, or creating a personal safety system to help everyone live safer lives. …

A short story about a conversation with a friend that invited me to reflect back on my career and why I felt like a failure.

I was speaking to a good friend a little while back, reflecting on the past year in lockdown. She shared her frustration and sadness around her career and mentioned feeling like a failure because she made the decision to walk away from a job that didn’t feel right for her anymore.

She asked me how I’ve overcome this feeling in the past. And that got me thinking.

I’ve shared my friend’s feelings not so long ago. When I made the decision to make a move like hers. It’s hard. It’s heavy and a bit lonely too. Because suddenly, it hits…

Building a brand is hard. And it’s even harder when you don’t know what a great brand looks like, sounds like and feels like.

After 10 years of building brands for startup and scaleup companies, I know that stories build brands. In fact, I believe that there are 5 Stories every business needs to nail if they want people to care about them.

Here, I’m going to share how you can bring your 5 Stories to life in your everyday marketing. I’m not here to preach to you with a load of wanky marketing words. Promise. …

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What’s in a good content idea?

Often, it’s the alchemy of context, timing and care.

Let’s face it: our social feeds are flooded with noise. Our brains are tired. Are you tired? I’m tired. So much noise, so little time.

As marketers and brand builders, it’s our job to come up with content that respects people’s time and helps them in their everyday lives. Ideas are our greatest currency and understanding our customers is the fuel that moves us forward.

To keep things fresh, here are five exercises that help with coming up with better content ideas. Try them. See…

It’s time to rethink how your brand communicates – the 5 Stories can help.

Credit: Unsplash

I’ve always been fascinated with building brands. When I started my first business, a clothes swapping app, I loved making it real. Creating an identity for it, a look, a feeling, a language, a personality, a heartbeat

One thing I really struggled with, though, was the story and messaging around my business. I found it so hard to get clear and consistent with it. When I looked for support and structure around building my brand, absolutely nothing helped.

Everything I came across felt long-winded and complicated. I mean, what steps do you take to make people care about your business…

Credit: Toa Heftiba — found via Unsplash

I know. Another 2021 trends blog post. Eyeroll.

Except this one is worth your time. Promise. Because this time, I’ve distilled it down to the essentials. The things you can’t afford not to know.

I’ve spent the past 11 years building brands and honestly? I’m excited about 2021. There’s major change in the air and opportunity aplenty if you have the right strategy.

Ready? Let’s do this.

Give your purpose a personality

For the last few years, startup marketing has been focused on purpose and starting with why.

And then came Covid. And then an explosion of Covid ads, where banks suddenly ‘cared’ and travel…

Photo by Arno Senoner on Unsplash

“What happens when you put care at the centre of everything you do as a business?”

That was the question my business coach, Mark Seabright, asked me six months ago.

I’d just started my creative agency, Make Us Care, and it floored me. Sure, care was in the name of our business. But putting care at the centre of everything we do as a business, from our finances to our strategic growth? That was new.

It’s an experiment my co-founder, Callum, and I have been running ever since.

Prioritising care has led us to do the best work of our…

Dear Founder,

I am your fear and this is what I want to tell you.

Me and you? We go way back. I’m here (quite a lot actually) because you are showing up. You are choosing courage over comfort. You are brave enough to follow your gut and get in the ring AND fight for something.

I see you. Daring greatly.

And yet, right now, you’re scared of something. And it’s probably one of these reasons…

You’re scared because you’ve just raised a serious chunk of dough and it’s just sunk in that you need to do something with all…

Amanda Baker

Founder and creator of 5 Stories, a methodology I use to build brands people care about. I write about storytelling and being an entrepreneur 🙃

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