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

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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

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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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Credit: Darius Bashar — found via Unsplash

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.

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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…

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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

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

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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…

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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…

He’s a shining example of infusing your brand with purpose

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Meet Tony, the 65-year-old poet. This picture was taken at his home in Ascot, Berkshire during the COVID-19 lockdown.

I originally wrote this article on LinkedIn in March 2019. A lot has changed since then, but one thing that hasn’t is the story I tell people about my friend Tony and the real work he does in my hometown, Wokingham. I tell this story to founders and business leaders because it’s a great example of purpose and what it looks like in everyday life.

Let’s face it, as much as we might miss it now (okay, I do a bit), the commute to work can be pretty painful at times with delayed trains and no seats. Since moving to…

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This photo was taken at the Dough Stories London dinner I co-facilitated with Soldo.

Because it’s time we rewrote the equation to success, one conscious hustler at a time.

What does ‘hustling’ mean to you?

Is it about working as much as you humanely can?

Is it a mindset? A lifestyle? A non-negotiable to achieving ‘real’ success?

If you’d asked me any of those questions in early 2019, I would have said
abso-fucking-lutely (that is, if I even had time to reply to you because, well, hustle). And then, life happened.

In my last post, I shared the personal story behind my burnout — it’s a story you’ll have heard before. Maybe you’ve even lived through a version of it yourself.

It’s no secret that burnout is a major…

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This photo of my Nana was taken in 1942. She was 11 years old.

I normally do shout outs to all my founder friends on International Woman’s Day, but not today.

Whenever I visit, she tells me parts of her story and every time, I’m left speechless. This is by no means her whole story, but it is a little bit of it that makes me feel unbelievably grateful to be here, to be her granddaughter and to be able to spend today with her, listening and learning more about her courageous life.

Amanda Baker

Co-Founder @ makeus.care 🥁 I build brands for startups and scaleups with 5 Stories.

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