Stories and moments are what inspire people, not only products. It's time to incorporate this idea of episodic narratives into everyday communication strategies.
Communications Are Changing:
Online brand communication culture is changing. Traditionally, brands start the conversation with messages centred around their products rather than their consumer. However, this dynamic has proven less effective as consumers have demanded to be seen, heard, and represented as the focus of brand narratives. As consumer power continues to grow, corporations are doing all they can to maintain the attention and affection of their consumer's hearts.
Brand storytelling offers a novel way to ‘make waves’, and connect emotionally and meaningfully with target markets. Storytelling makes brands more well equipped to take consumers on an experiential journey, and, while doing so, provides the opportunity to build connections, create memories, and ensure meaningful and conscious decisions.
The importance of customer experience has never been higher, and brands serious about customer centricity must connect every decision to the customer experience. Engaging and listening to online communities is key to better understanding the delicate ecosystem in which a brand-customer journey exists.
What Is Storytelling?
Storytelling is the modern, post-pandemic solution to boosting customer engagement and standing out from the ever-growing crowd. Through storytelling, you're not limited by the scope of your products or service; you're instantly given the creative flexibility to add personality and character to your content and build emotional connections as your communications are shared across brand platforms.
Think about what sparks your own emotions. Do you find yourself crying at a good movie? Struggling to put a book down because you're desperate to find out what happens next? We become so invested in things like literature and television because they're based on narrative, a sequence of events that takes us from A to B. This premise can also be applied to the way brands communicate.
The narrative starts at the beginning and guides the audience to the end, including the listener or viewer at every stage along the way. Through this inclusion, audiences become drawn in; they form connections with the story they're being told, and naturally, they are left wanting more.
There's an incredible and underutilised opportunity to tell your audience who you are, away from the products you sell. What makes you different? What are your values? What is your purpose? People are what make a mark on brand storytelling and give it the authenticity and connection that consumers crave. The digital space provides an almost unlimited platform for sharing these thoughts and forming these connections, through influencers, press, social, and more.
Differentiate To Communicate:
How do you stand out? By disrupting the norm, challenging tried-and-tested communications methods, and going beyond comfort zones to engage in the new normal. If you want to really stand out, you need to be ready and willing to ‘make waves’. The online space is a saturated market, and thus it’s highly likely competitors will offer the same products and messages, and have a presence in similar communities. It's time to consider the one thing competitors can't compete on: your story.
There are four initial considerations to bear in mind when it comes to starting out:
1. Avoid ‘story fatigue’: Every brand has its own unique story to tell. No matter how captivating and important they may think that story is, it’s important to be mindful that consumers only have so much time and attention and most likely will 'tune out' if it does not resonate with them. To avoid this, brand messages should be tailored to speak directly to targeted groups of people, avoiding old-school and lazy mass communication methods.
2. Inclusive Communications: Mindfully curating a range of representative messages and speaking to different groups enables and encourages direct consumer involvement. Engaging activations show a clear value of consumer interests - a proven method for building consumer loyalty.
3. Valuing The Customer: Add value to consumers by incentivising their loyalty and custom, creating community through experiences, and offering a 'journey' and people for them to connect to, such as introducing brand characters. This builds a meaningful brand-consumer connection.
4. Take Advantage of The Digital World: Companies that successfully put new media or technologies to use have always kept their story at the centre. Likewise, successful social media influencers take advantage of the resources at hand and constantly carve out a narrative central to their appeal.
The communications landscape will continue to evolve, as will consumers. The one thing you have undeniable control of - regardless of global health crises or recessions - is your brand storytelling. Your story is yours. Your brand history is yours. Own it. Share it. Use it to inspire, connect, and build relationships. Make it your differentiator; the USP that only you can offer your consumer.
Whether you are new to the marketing space or want to refresh your existing strategy, connect with us to learn how we can further support you in creating engaging storytelling content and connect with a diverse roster of creatives.