We are living in a fast-paced, mostly-automated, and digitally-driven times. Times when humanity is becoming more important than ever.
In an environment like this, brands can no longer afford to be faceless and hide behind their products or services. To survive, they need to go out, connect with audiences, and engage with customers on a much deeper level.
So, how to make your brand more human?
The answer is simple.
Storytelling is the most ancient and powerful tool for effective communication. We genetically love stories and respond to them quite well. A memorable brand story is exactly what people need to feel connected to your business. They leave a lasting positive impression of who you are and what you stand for. What’s more, they connect people and brands emotionally.
It’s true that connecting with customers on an emotional level isn’t as simple as flipping a switch, but emotionally connected customers are more than twice as valuable as highly satisfied customers.
So keep reading to find some keys of how to connect with your customers emotionally and see some examples of brands that are killing it with brand-driven storytelling.
But first thing first. Let’s take a look at what is happening today.
It’s an overcrowded marketplace: everyone is producing content. There are tens of millions of content that have been created, and even more that have been shared every day. What’s worse, these pieces of content are fighting for attention span of 10 seconds from audiences that are being bombarded with similar (if not the same) messaging.
Customers are pissed off. They look for something new, different, something that can excite them.
Businesses can’t ignore the desire of their customers because today’s customer has more power than ever before. Now they can easily shop around, compare brands and product details and consider peer reviews before making a purchasing decision.
The internet has made marketing accessible and as a result it becomes very difficult for quality brands to stand out.
Given that, marketing is no longer the key competitive differentiator. Consumers are increasingly demanding for companies to prove how their efforts are making an impact, supporting a cause, and achieving results beyond just profit.
Take Apple, for example. They sell technology, but from the beginning, their audience needed to feel that it was okay to be brave, bold, and think differently from the crowd.
Tesla’s customers need to feel that it’s worthwhile to support the environment and sustainable energy.
Starbucks created a sense of community in its cafes. The coffee company has formed deeper connections with customers to become a place between home and work.
Consumers not only need to fix a problem by buying a product or service. They want to feel part of a community.
A strong community is a well-connected community — its members are connected to one another and share common goals and ideologies (to dive deep, you can read Seth Godin’s book “Tribes ).
Once consumers felt part of a community, they will support your success, follow along, be loyal, and come back for more.
The successful formula for businesses: turn your brand into an experience your audience can consume.
You can achieve all that (and more) with a well-crafted and well-executed brand story strategy.
Think of your brand’s personality… how do you touch and transform people’s lives? What is the message you want to communicate to your audience?
Consider the emotion you want to evoke in your audience. Your audience may forget what you say, but they will not forget how you made them feel (which is important because emotions drive purchase more than logic).
Your brand stories should have both – the emotional touch and a mission, a cause or to give a sense of belonging.
Airbnb is literally built on the power of storytelling.
In 2014, for example, Airbnb created a campaign in New York City that used storytelling to create an emotional connection with potential customers. The Airbnb story highlights Carol, who uses Airbnb for supplemental income and going back to school. The video discusses how she’s been living in Lower Manhattan for 34 years, lost her job, but loves hosting people through Airbnb.
This type of story appeals to the universal desire to help others. By using Airbnb, we can have a place to stay, but also get to know new people and help people like Carol maintain her apartment and lifestyle.
Another good example is Goodlife Fitness. The company has demonstrated fantastic growth since its founding in 1979. Why did they survive so many years? They knew that what worked for customer acquisition in the past – high pressure, aggressive sales tactics, coupled with images or videos of impossibly beautiful, fit, and trim people – doesn’t work today.
Deciding to join a gym is about taking better care of ourselves. It’s about better physical and mental health. And those are the stories consumers want to see: regular people making that decision, their reasons why, and the results of their efforts.
A few months ago, Goodlife Fitness released a series of television commercials showcasing real Goodlife members sharing their stories or transformation and motivation. The #ChangeYourStory proved very popular for the fitness chain, and inspired many others to change their own story, too.
Real people. Real stories. That’s the right kind of motivation, and the driving force behind Goodlife’s growth.
Are you ready to start crafting brand stories that your target audience can relate to and connect with emotionally?