Recently, I had the opportunity to visit and chat with a fun, smart cadre of students at Furman University. A mix of political science and English majors, they enrolled in this Maymester class, part of Furman’s writer-in-residence program, to learn about the science of content marketing and the art of personal branding.
Amy Buttell, financial storyteller and CEO of Lake Effect Creative, pulled together the curriculum for English 225: Creative Content Marketing. She saw the course as a terrific vehicle to share her industry knowledge with the next wave of creatives and demonstrate how the students’ research and communication skills are sought-after commodities in today’s marketplace. “Over the last few weeks,” she said, “We’ve been focusing on understanding the role of storytelling and how it serves to share or reinforce a brand’s identity.”
How crucial is it for a brand to have a clearly communicated personality and mission? As my colleague, Sara, blogged last month, if your company actually wants to connect with consumers on any level, branding is pretty darn important. Otherwise, your organization will float in the ether of anonymity—Good prices, but I forgot their name—or be viewed with skepticism:
You don’t want another Enron? Here’s the law: ‘If you have a company, and it can’t explain in one sentence what it does, it’s illegal!’ ~ Lewis Black
To that end, Amy had her students develop their own personal brand identities—“We did storyboards and everything”—and as their final project, share their stories with the class via self-produced videos. Sounds like a cool class, huh? This former English major applauds Amy’s approach: The focus moves beyond theory, letting the students tap into their creative wells and showcase their skills in a language today’s job market gets.
Good luck guys, and keep developing those stories!
Joseph K. Hall, Jr. – VP Content Marketing (and an English major!)