The importance of visual storytelling in our current landscape can't be understated. At PLANOLY, we're committed to simplifying social marketing through our app features, industry content, and community events. This year, we've taken our mission one step further by introducing StoriesEdit, a new tool that provides users with design-driven, customizable template packs. We believe that some of the most memorable online stories can empower both content creators and brands to inspire, educate, or strengthen their communities. Since our launch, we've loved seeing how our community has used templates from our core collections. But in addition to our own designs, we're also partnering with industry-leading brands to create co-branded template packs. To build on the momentum after our brand partnership with Create & Cultivate for their San Francisco conference, we recently traveled to New York to celebrate our newest collaboration with The Sill!In late October, we hosted an intimate breakfast at The Sill's gorgeous Upper West Side shop, where we invited some of our favorite online storytellers to mix and mingle and try out our templates for themselves. In addition to enjoying light bites and good conversation, we also planned a fireside chat about design and social media with our very own Priscilla Castro and Caroline Settergren — The Sill's talented Art Director. For those who may have missed the IG Live on The Sill's account, we're sharing a few standout highlights from the discussion.CREATE A DESIGN FOUNDATION - Caroline has spent the majority of her career at agencies, and even though The Sill is one of her first in-house experiences, she is incredibly well-versed in the mechanics of creating design structures for all kinds of companies. To that point, she mentioned the importance of striking a balance between consistency and creativity. While there should always be room to build on your brand's aesthetic or vision, she contends that having an identity system (a framework that includes a brand's logo, fonts, font pairings, color palettes, and other pertinent elements) creates a solid foundation to refer back to even as you make changes down the line. During our chat, Caroline also talked about the importance of considering all of the details that affect how you build (and ultimately refine) your brand's creative.CONTENT SHOULD CONSIDER REAL SITUATIONS AND REAL PEOPLE - Design and storytelling naturally go hand in hand. In addition to visual elements, Caroline believes it is also crucial to consider what real people genuinely want to hear and experience from brands — that is where tone and messaging come into play justas much as identity and aesthetics. One way The Sill has been able to cater to this need (while still tying back to their core brand identity), is through their #Plantfluencer series, which showcases the lives and stories from some of the industry's leading content creators. This initiative not only relates to The Sill's brand but builds on its values in a more personable way.BRAND BUILDING IS A TWO-WAY STREET - Some of the most celebrated modern brands have achieved success for their ability to utilize content as a vehicle for deeper connections — and feedback — with their customers. In many ways, The Sill is also in this camp. Caroline mentioned the importance of listening to your audience, and perhaps more importantly, making them feel heard. Additionally, Caroline also believes that it is up to a brand to surprise their customers in a way that reignites inspiration or dialogue. Either way, facilitating an ongoing conversation creates an opportunity to build a brand or initiative that is mindful of what is culturally relevant while still considering what makes sense for long- term business goals.
COMMUNICATION CREATES CONTEXT - One of the biggest takeaways from the conversation was Caroline's comment about seeing all communication as a form of storytelling. While it's easy to create fun content that appeals to industry-wide trends or cultural conversations of the moment, she expressed the importance of using tools like design and storytelling to communicate broader ideas of what a brand stands for in addition to just trying to sell their products. In the case of The Sill, that overarching communication platform is their slogan "Plants Make People Happy." So to keep their customers invested and aware of their brand's vibe, all of The Sill's content and creative decisions must always be in service of this idea.These takeaways only scratch the surface of the broader discussion about the importance of social media and design. We invite you to check out our video recap below and our IGTV segment for even more soundbites from Caroline and Priscilla. You can also download the StoriesEdit app where you can utilize our co-branded template pack with The Sill in your social storytelling — and don't be shy: tag us on Instagram @storiesedit@planoly@thesill. We'd love to see what you create!