Your Brand Story: How Authenticity Can Change Everything

The best marketing you can do is to tell a coherent story. A brand's story is built on five blocks: (1) your mission, (2) your voice, (3) your action, (4) customer experience, (5) and your look.

Authenticity and trust are founded on the coherence of these blocks. Seth Godin wrote this about authenticity in marketing:

"This is the key lesson of the new marketing: once fooled, a person will never repeat your story to someone else."

Trust is hard to earn, yet so easy to lose. It can only be kept by those truly living and telling their story authentically. This authenticity is not only what makes an organization trustworthy, but also makes their message worth passing on.

Pacific Development Pathways is an example of authentic brand story-telling. They do not have a large budget for marketing, but they are authentically living out their brand story. This makes marketing and storytelling easier and less expensive.

Their mission statement is simple, yet bold: "Better Lives." Their value statements are also very strong:

  1. All people have the right, and are ready, to live, work, and play in the community

  2. All people can learn anything

  3. All people deserve dignity and respect

  4. Challenge is the gateway to learning

But, here is the problem. These are not really unique in the industry anymore. I was once a social worker, so I have worked for several agencies that provide services for families who have members with disabilities. They all agree with Pathway's values and they all want to be a part of making better lives.

How do you remain unique then? Uniqueness and authenticity were not necessarily found in their mission statement. It was in how they coherently expressed their brand's story.

How few are giving persons with disabilities an opportunity to see beyond themselves and make an impact in the global community?

How few are giving them the challenge of taking on a dream and making it a reality through the hard work of fund-raising, planning, travel, and volunteering in another country?

How few are providing opportunities for person's with disabilities to challenging themselves, change the status quo, and do something remarkable?

"Your story is a symphony, note a note"


I believe in authenticity and I believe in the power of story, so my job in crafting this video was simply to allow them to be authentic, and shape their story in a way that connected with their message so that others can share in that experience.

I believe that video marketing is about crafting stories and content that shares your brand with the world and help people connect with your brand in a meaningful way.

This is why discovery is the most important part of my process. It is where I take the time to get to know your story, that way I have the resources to invest emotionally and make the right decisions in crafting videos that reflect your brand.

When it came to the production of this episode, the discovery phase (pre-production) helped us to not only define what authenticity meant for Pathways, but also outline our keywords: Belong, Community, Challenge, Inspire, and Dream.

Obviously, the budget can make a difference to any project, but more than anything it's your understanding of the story and the people. For example, authenticity for this project meant that I needed to be mobile and less in control of the circumstances, but the keywords such as "belong" and "dream" challenged my lens choices. I wanted things to be wide with potential, yet close and personal. So, in that little bag, I carried two of Canon's classic FD lenses - the 24mm 2.8 and 35-105mm 3.5.

In post-production, these keywords even helped us to decide on something as simple as color. Actually, color is not simple. It can be technical when editing, but more importantly, it is psychological. I color graded using Filmconvert software to give it an actual film look and texture.

Next to this, I used a neutral white balance that matched the scenes at the beginning of the film, but as it progressed emotionally, I used two different color tones. A cool blue as we are introduced to the difficult circumstances of persons with disability in Romania, then warmer yellow/red tones as Pathway's team comes to Romania.

These are just some examples of how important authenticity is in our marketing, and how discovery in the process of crafting our video content can help us be more consistent and meaningful in sharing what makes us authentic.

Do you have a story to tell? I am free to talk, just get in contact.

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