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How To Tell a Story with Your Brand

Wholesale Marketing without Hiring Marketing

As a wholesaler, you’re probably not concerned with marketing, that’s a job for retailers and ad men. Fortunately, even if you’re strictly in the business of selling bulk, there are still ways for you to position your brand to catch the customer’s eye and get you bigger orders from the retailers that put your product on the shelf, with no marketing man required.

The Power of the Story

Humans are wired to love stories. We’ve told stories for our whole existence, from cave paintings to the Bible, it’s how we process information. We tell stories to our children to pass down morals, lessons, or history. Because stories are how our brains work, our minds are designed to look for them, even in a place where there isn’t really a story, like an advertisement or the label on your product.

Putting a Story Where it Doesn’t Exist

In wholesale, you have limited opportunities to interface with your customer. Since you’re not a retailer, it’s not the first thing on your mind. Your biggest concern is making sure you get your orders out and the retailer always wants your product instead of your competition’s. You have very few opportunities to sell your retailer and their customer on your brand, and you should consider every option available to separate yourself from the pack. Fortunately, there are marketing tricks you can use to your advantage to make your brand stand apart. One of them is telling a story about your product that the customer will find irresistible. The best part is there doesn’t actually even have to be an entire story from start to finish. There just has to be an idea, something that sparks the imagination, the brain will take care of the rest.

The King of Storytelling, David Ogilvy

David Ogilvy was known as “The Father of Advertising.” He was one of the gods of marketing that all ad men study to succeed. He was born in 1911 and died in 1999, and to this day, ad men still follow the rules he wrote as the true gospel of how to create marketing material that sells.

One of the most interesting and successful ads that Ogilvy ever wrote was called “The Man in the Hathaway Shirt.” One day, Ogilvy was approached by a small garment maker named Hathaway. At this time, Ogilvy was already hugely successful and working with the biggest blue-chip companies of the day. A man like Hathaway didn’t have the budget to hire him, but he did have the only thing that Ogilvy wanted- Total control of his branding and ad campaigns. As a successful ad man, Ogilvy was constantly frustrated by clients that wanted to tweak or change his work. Hathaway knew this, so he promised that Ogilvy that if he took him on as a client, he would never second guess his work. Ogilvy agreed, and “The Man in the Hathaway Shirt” was the ad that he created. Here it is…

The Eye Patch that Built a Brand

Sales for Hathaway’s garments skyrocketed. Ogilvy’s ad was one of the most successful ever created. The image told the story of a mysterious, swashbuckling, masculine gentleman. An aristocratic man’s man who of course wore a Hathaway shirt. But the best part was, there was no story at all. The eyepatch was just a prop that made the photograph more interesting, the eyepatch told a story and sold the product. After all, anyone who has an eyepatch probably has an interesting or gruesome story for why they’re wearing it. If you don’t know what that story is, your brain will fill in the holes and make one up.

The Story that Never Ends

The Hathaway Shirt was not a one-hit wonder. When marketers find something that works, they latch onto it and ride it to death. Making the brand tell a story is a surefire way to separate your brand from the pack and build awareness. Even if you’ve never seen the original Hathaway shirt ad, you’ve seen products that sell themselves on the exact same formula.

Recognize this man? The Dos Equis, most interesting man in the world. From 2006 to 2016, actor Jonathan Goldsmith was the face of the Dos Equis brand and sold beer by telling a story, even if that story was just him saying that he drank Dos Equis. It was the Hathaway Shirt on repeat, the modern tv version of Ogilvy’s original ad. They even featured the same kind of men- Austere, masculine, the touch of grey, aristocratic and lordly.

The Brand that Tells a Story Stands Alone

Wholesalers aren’t marketers, but knowing the formulas for marketing that are surefire successes can be powerful tools that can make your brand stand out in the market. Giving a brand a story is as easy as putting a compelling character or prop on a label or website that presents the brand. Lots of household brands tell a story with just a simple character.

For example, the Morton Salt girl with her umbrella walking in the rain, and the Gorton’s fisherman in his yellow slicker are instantly recognizable. These characters tell a story without saying anything at all, and they give their parent brands instant name recognition. When you think of seafood products, you instantly think of the Gorton fisherman out on his boat, dragging his catch in with his nets. This is a power that you can use.

If all else Fails, Connect with More Clients.

Overall, if you can’t make your brand into a story, there are other ways to find more wholesale clients. You can always join, the business-to-business networking platform for manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers. With your product catalog on SeeBiz, you can increase Google rankings in search results. You can also find more clients to carry your wholesale product.

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