If you want to influence somebody, tell them a story.

Not everyone has grasped this idea in our region. However, 3canal’s Wendell Manwarren, who was featured as the guest speaker at our first event in our Modern Marketing Mixer series definitely has.  As a year-long cultural conduit, 3Canal has built its existence on telling stories through movement, art, mud and music.

Brand Storytelling in the Caribbean

As Manwarren chatted about what sparked the group’s growth from ‘just a group’ to a formidable brand synonymous with Carnival, he was always tilting at the power of consistent storytelling.

Here are three key ideas that stood out to us, and those you should consider when telling your own stories.

Sing about J’Ouvert (Talk about what you know)

Thought Leadership is a big deal for many brands, but as Manwarren pointed out: there’s value in sticking to what you know. The 3Canal frontman spoke about the respect they have for the ritual of J’Ouvert, which stymied any possible plan to “just jump in…and mess with it.” Careful not to miss any critical steps, the group sought to understand the essence and form of J’Ouvert privately, before attempting to challenge the form – and establish themselves as cultural thought leaders – publicly.

To build a reputation and earn credibility in your field, you should take the time to master some (or all) aspects of that field. But don’t stop there: tell people what you know. Sharing your story effectively lays the foundation for a different level of brand recognition through thought leadership.

What time is it? What’s going on? (Stay topical)

A sure-fire way for your brand to remain relevant is to incorporate storytelling into your campaigns. An even better bet is for your stories to be timely and impactful. Manwarren shared that 3Canal stays topical by asking two questions: “What time is it?” and “What’s going on?” As major players in the Carnival space – and Rapso entertainers at that – it makes sense for 3Canal to have elements of social commentary throughout their offerings.

As a company, your story is certainly how customers will remember your brand. But your ability to also weave current events and trending topics into your storytelling – and to do so brilliantly and on time – is what will set you apart. Too often we see brands jumping on the bandwagon of a trending topic without the slightest idea how to blend this topic into their existing storyline. Don’t be that brand.

Catch this key idea in the words of Wendell Manwarren below:

“We don’t assume we know what time it is… we ask what time it is…” 

Big Black Box vs. Queen’s Hall (Play to different audiences)

3Canal’s sweaty, jam-mongering Big Black Box crowd gets a slightly different energy from the band than its typically more reserved Queen’s Hall audience. And while audience groups tend to overlap, Manwarren appreciates the marked difference between each, and prepares accordingly. The group unconsciously created customer personas, based on Trinidad and Tobago’s elite-versus-grassroots culture.

Using storytelling to interpret and share experiences, means identifying (and understanding) the different audiences paying attention to your brand, and crafting tales that impact each group effectively.

It’s without a doubt that 3Canal has secured roaring success as an iconic local music group over the years. While they’re most known as being a band with global reach, they’re a brand with distinctive influence. By focusing on what you know, staying topical and crafting your messages to connect with the varying segments of your audience, similarly to 3Canal, your brand will have a greater chance at reaching new levels of innovation and impact when it comes to marketing.

What story will your brand own and tell?

Stay tuned for our next mixer!

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