The following is a guest post by Meredith Keller
The key to brand building is telling a story. Anyone can sell handbags or earrings, part of what makes your products stand out is the personality behind the business. There are lots of great ways to show a bit of yourself to your customers: create a Flickr account, maintain a blog. Share your process, share your workspace, share a bit of you. One valuable way to share with your customers is through your charitable activities. We all like to do business with socially responsible companies, so if you're involved with a good cause make this part of your brand's story.
1. Be Authentic
If you're not currently involved in a charitable organization, your first task is to select one. When doing this, make sure it's a charity you really care about. For one thing, it will come across as more genuine when you tell the story and for another, it will help you stay engaged with your charity. Some good examples include running a marathon for breast cancer, teaching art classes to underprivileged youth, or volunteering for a conservation organization.
Ideally, you'd want to pick something that fits with your brand. If you're an illustrator, teaching art classes might be a natural fit. If you make products from recycled goods the conservation organization might make more sense. At Ex-Boyfriend, we are very involved with local animal rescues. Our whole company is run by animal lovers and a lot of our illustrations feature some of our favorite critters. Our customers are likely to be animals lovers and interested in our work with animal rescues, so it makes sense to share our experiences with them.
2. Tell the story