The power of a story to make big change — from one end of the globe, to the other.
Project Type: Brand Story Write-Up for Website and Marketing Materials
Client: Peace by Piece International, a woman-owned, Silicon Valley-based social enterprise connecting artisans in disenfranchised communities with corporate gifting needs.
If you’re a purposeful business owner looking to make an impact in this world then hang onto your hats — Lauri Pastrone’s story is a real page turner.
Not only will this case study inspire you to see how much one woman’s dreams can affect reality, you’ll also walk away with tangible tactics to implement NOW so you can connect to your ideal customer and grow your business.
In this Client Spotlight we cover:
- Why writing about your passion is not enough to grow a business — and the 1 question to ask to get that growth you deserve.
- How hiring a trained Strategist to tell your Brand Story can open new doors to more business.
- 3 strategies you can use TODAY to make your website better like butter.
So let’s hop to it, shall we?
In 2016, humanitarian Lauri Pastrone stepped into a one-room structure in Rwanda, Africa that would forever change her life.
In this home she met Judi: a shy woman raising two children alone, struck by pain and poverty from the region’s genocide.
Until recently, Judi struggled day to day, unsure of how she would feed or care for her kids — much less herself. That is, until she received aid through Women for Women International, an NGO (non-governmental organization) that taught Judi to sew through a 1-year training program.
Today as the town seamstress, Judi is able to provide food, clothing, and even health insurance for her family of three. But Judi is just one of millions of displaced individuals around the world whose lives can be changed through learning a marketable skill.
Judi’s story led Lauri to found Peace by Piece International, a social enterprise which hooks up corporations in the U.S. with unique gifts by artisan communities around the globe. The pay-off? The company gets to give one-of-a-kind gifts that stand for quality and sustainability, while these artisan communities get to provide for their families through a needed skill.
Connected through a friend from Yellow Co., a community of women who believe work is more than just a paycheck but how we create and find meaning in the world, Lauri approached me for help writing her website. With the (then) upcoming launch of her organization Peace by Piece International, Lauri needed someone who could captivate possible customers with her Brand Story.
Side note: Is there anything harder than conveying your heart, soul and mind for the world to see… in a way that’s succinct so people “get” it, and not like the word vomit we normally offer on a ceramic platter when asked “what do you do?”
I was thrilled to help Lauri. Not only was she my *ideal client* (a woman with a heart to *do good* around the world); I was also swept up in her dream to bring peace to underserved communities by providing hope in a tangible way.
Capturing the Brand Story of Peace by Piece International posed a twofold challenge:
- Honoring Lauri’s story by infusing copy aimed at corporations with heart, while still
- Providing the proper justification for these groups to support Peace by Piece, and not just with their feel-good fuzzies, but with their budgets, too.
Having come from corporate myself (government, PR and advertising) I knew that a feel-good story was not enough to capture their bottom line.*
*Companies historically budget about $2-5 per item for their corporate gifts. Think: pens; water bottles; cup koozies with their company logo stamped on them, aka the cheap stuff you get at trade shows and quickly stuff in the back of your junk drawer.
Our challenge was to convince these corporations that investing in quality items with a story would benefit them where they needed it most — their reputation, specifically around sustainability efforts.
Writing about your passion is not enough to grow a business. Your copy must always answer the question: “Why would my customer care?” or said another way: “What’s in it for them?”
Process and Solution
After spending time with Lauri hearing her heart for the company and the world at large, we began to dissect each page.
I was tasked to write only part of the site: the About Page; Gifts; and Marketing Your Gifts in order to meet a fast launch.
As a Brand Strategist trained under account planners and Creatives from the world’s leading advertising companies, I know that the best solution is in the quality of your questions. So I got to work creating a questionnaire that would guide our Brand Story Brain Dump.
The best solutions are in the quality of your questions.
After notes from Lauri and one phone conversation which helped me filter the priorities of her messaging, I got to work writing each page.
Here are a few strategies I used to tell the Peace by Piece Brand Story in order to appeal to Lauri’s ideal customer:
- The Importance of the About Page: The About Page is the second-most visited page on any website after the homepage. It was important to structure this page to envelop readers in the Story and answer questions they might have.
- Using Headlines to Capture Interest: Readers typically only scan headlines, so I used the headlines with ellipses (“…”) to “snake” the reader’s attention down the page with value propositions that spoke to her customers’ primary goals.
- Boosting Credibility with Viable Stats: Lauri had done her research and knew that her corporate clients wanted to be known for their efforts around corporate social responsibility. Knowing this, I wrapped in quotes and statistics from reputable orgs to showed the undeniable benefits of investing in sustainable companies.**
**Why it Works: The quote shown here states “Investors are more likely to be attracted to and continue to support companies that demonstrate a commitment not only to employees and customers, but also to causes and organizations that impact the lives of others.” Quotes like these spoke to our ideal customer’s complex need to please a number of stakeholders (a challenge we all face, I’m sure).
Lauri loved the idea of adding in these stats as an extra push for corporate buyers to partner with Peace by Piece.
Light Bulb Moment
Why work with a trained Brand Strategist? Because you are so close to your product that my outside eyes will help you notice — and capitalize on — opportunities to grow your brand through strategic moves. (And have I got the moves!)
Lauri was so thrilled with how the site copy turned out, she was able to launch her MVP (minimum viable product) in time to hit the 2017 gifting season. By clarifying her Brand Story Lauri was able to communicate her “Why” with confidence to potential customers, even captivating influential allies who wanted to help her spread her Story.
Lauri was invited to two exclusive events teeming with influential women looking to invest in, and support, organizations as heart-led as her own. Lauri used the copy we created to talk about Peace by Piece in a clear and compelling way, giving out sample gifts with copy around her Brand Story attached.
In Her Words
“Thank you for joining the Peace by Piece journey. You truly became our “special sauce” and I’m so proud of how the website connects with people. Since the launch so many people have told me how clear and relevant the site is.
Six weeks ago, I worried that I would be constantly apologizing for the site… and now I’m over the moon! You helped inspire me and I look forward to doing more together.”— Lauri Pastrone, Founder, Peace by Piece International
The Key To Her Success — And Yours
Too often I see business owners write their website about them, without answering the integral questions that’ll keep visitors on your site and your customers wrapped up in your Story.
What made Lauri’s copy successful was that we wrote with her ideal customer in mind.
Hot Tip #2
When you write your Brand Story with your customer front-and-center you rightfully earn their LOYALTY which translates to more money — and referrals.
And that, my friends, is the brass ring of a successful business.
Does Your Brand Story Sing?
Now that we’ve looked at Lauri’s Brand Story, I’ve got a quick assignment for you.
Open up a separate tab to your website. Now take off your Business Owner cap, put on your Ideal Customer glasses and ask yourself:
Does my website speak to my customer, or just to me?
Hint: if you’re not getting many sign-ups through your site, I’d raise my hand for the latter.
My friend, you deserve to come alive in the wild business ideas on your heart. And so — for you, since you made it all the way down here —