*(too long; didn’t read)
Stop the scrolling and eye-rolling. Start by connecting with your customers through stories.
People don’t read anymore. What a copout. People do read. They just won’t tolerate self-aggrandising drivel and chest-beating from brands. Not before they’ve grown to love them anyway. Is it time you started tooting their horn and put yours away? Because once they feel seen, you’ll start seeing a lot more of them.
The question so many brands continue to struggle with is: how do we use stories to create and nurture customer relationships? Well, it involves open ears and a closed mouth. That’s right, it comes down to listening and learning before you start engaging with your customers. Remove what you think you know, aka assumptions, and lead your audience along a journey without selling or pushing them.
Keeping it real and authentic will increase brand awareness, return higher engagement rates and, ultimately, convert more of those lukewarm leads into piping hot fans.
Every story needs a hero.
So what is this mysterious “Brand Storytelling”, and how do you use it to woo your ideal customer? There’s a lot of confusion around the idea of brand storytelling. It’s become a term that gets thrown around like a hot potato—like content marketing—but agencies, companies and thought leaders seem to overcomplicate it.
For what it’s worth, here’s our two cents:
“Brand storytelling is using narrative to connect your brand to customers. It links what you stand for to the values mutually shared with these same customers.”
By narrative, we mean storytelling ingredients. Any story worth tuning into includes characters, a setting, conflict, rising action, climax and a resolution. Creating these points allows your audience to easily follow along with a story—and remember it.
Importantly, the main character in your brand story is not you, it’s your customer. Importantly, the main character in your brand story is not you, it’s your customer. We won’t say it a third time, but you get the idea. Let your customer be the hero while your brand plays the guide.
Tell your story with purpose, and values.
By sharing with customers what you stand for, we mean the essence of your brand beyond making money (that’s the result). Why do you exist? For example, Nike’s purpose is ‘athletic excellence’, shoes and sports equipment are simply their products.
Values are the character traits of your company that define it. A lot of brands randomly choose words like integrity and innovation, because they sound nice. If that’s not what you truly value, you’ll get found out soon enough. In truth, a company’s values are the best behaviors of its employees on a good day. Run with those and you’ll be a step ahead of most.
With a marketplace more crowded than ever, competing for attention is more difficult than it was even a decade ago. Combine that with a buyer’s journey where the customer is in charge, the path to purchase and buying is now social, self-directed, trust-based and transparent. So the best way to reach a customer who’s deciding what and when they’ll buy is to stop pushing your products so hard and focus more on why your business exists at all.
When you tell this story and explain your values, you’ll engage the customers who share your values. When you find the people who share your values, there’s a much better chance they’ll stay loyal to you. Your story then becomes your company strategy, propelling your brand forward.
This way you connect with your customers on a deeper, more emotional level. Work out exactly how you reach them. Do you give them peace of mind? Do you make life easier for them? Use these triggers to strengthen your relationship and foster loyalty, because brand loyalty might just be the most impactful outcome of effective storytelling.
The real TL;DR. You’ve earned it.
- Your brand story starts (and ends) with your customer.
- Tug at their heartstrings. Use the right “ingredients” in your brand story.
- Take customers on an adventure where they get to play the hero — make it authentic.
Being the best at what you do is great and all, but is it time you connected with your heroes?
Brands of substance are the ones that reach their customers, cutting through the noise of saturated markets and industries.
Get in touch with your customer. Get in touch with us.