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Five Storytelling Strategies For Creating A Lifestyle Brand

The jewelry company Dannijo has created a lifestyle brand by using social media and real-life experiences to hook their audience.

Five Storytelling Strategies For Creating A Lifestyle Brand
[Photos: Diana Budds]

Sisters Danielle and Jodie Snyder first started making jewelry as teenagers growing up in Jacksonville, Florida, but after a few years working in fashion, they decided to cast out and turn their old hobby into a full-fledged business.

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Since founding Dannijo in 2008, the Snyders have built an influential roster of fans ranging from musicians to actors to entrepreneurs: Beyoncé, Lupita N’Yongo, Zosia Mamet, and Sarah Jessica Parker were early supporters. But what’s more impressive is how they’ve used social media– particularly Instagram, where they have over 136,000 followers–to build an avid, engaged audience.

The Snyders’ secret? Authentic storytelling. The pair believe that to create a successful lifestyle brand, you need to create narratives that are so compelling to consumers, they want to build your products into their lives. This can take place in the digital realm, but the Synders also find ways to do this in the real world with things like their Conversation Pieces pop-up that is kicking off today. To learn more about their strategy, we spoke with Danielle Snyder.

Jodie (Left) and Danielle (Right) Snyder founded Dannijo in 2008. The company is best know for its statement pieces, as shown on the mannequins behind the sisters.

Speak To Your Audience Like You Would To A Close Friend

“The term ‘lifestyle’ is thrown around a lot and for us; it’s about storytelling and engaging with people in a conversational way,” Snyder says. “We want our brand to be viewed in the same way you’d view a friend who’s changing and evolving, but still has a strong sense of DNA.” For example, the captions in Dannijo’s Instagram, are short, sweet, and full of personality.

Strive To Create Unique Experiences

“Consumers are really smart now,” Snyder says. “We’re in the day and age where information is at everyone’s fingertips through the Internet, social media, and apps—as a founder, you have to be smart and creative and get people excited in a fresh way. Jodie and I were not excited about just doing a ‘pop-up’—that wasn’t enough. We wanted to evoke a childlike sense of playfulness, creativity, and excitement.”

To that end, the space is not simply a showroom of the brand’s jewelry: It includes a cafe, retail, installations, and will host talks.

Find Like-Minded Collaborators

The Conversation Pieces installation will feature vintage clothing from A Current Affair, artwork from JK5, a series of talks, and athletic wear from Carbon38. While they’re seemingly disparate, Snyder says it’s essential to partner with people who have a similar creative drive.

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“You can’t do anything successfully on your own—it’s about finding like-minded partners that bring energy to a project,” she says. “We respect the people we work with and we always want to be impacted by other artists. The key is a shared understanding of the ultimate goal. Collaborations are a win-win.”

Engage With Unexpected Topics

“Fashion shouldn’t be pigeonholed; it should be seen in a light where there is meaning and narratives are celebrated,” Snyder says. Hilary Rhoda is the inaugural speaker who will talk about fitness and health. Other subjects include philanthropy and sisterhood—subjects that are important to the Snyders.

Allow Your Audience To Become Part Of The Experience

There’s a dedicated selfie booth for people to take photos of themselves in the installation.

“A big part of what’s happening in fashion, commerce, content is staying relevant and keeping up with the trends and collective conversation,” Snyder says. “For example, selfies and social media. It enables your customers to participate in the experience, adds a new dimension, and makes it more dynamic. It’s a way for people to become part of the experience and share the experience with others.”

By making the space feel authentically fun, the Snyders hope that it spreads through word of mouth, not through ad spots or campaigns.

“To generate excitement as a brand, it’s about getting your conversation organically injected into your audience’s own conversation because the content is good enough to be talked about and covered,” Snyder says.

About the author

Diana Budds is a New York–based writer covering design and the built environment.

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