They say the devil is in the detail. And it’s the details that act as an integral part of the art of storytelling, the one medium with the power to convey an ensemble of emotions. The stories we communicate create feelings of happiness, anger, sadness, love and so much more.
There is a reason that we are likely to store stories in our heads up to 22 times more than facts, data and stats. Humans are emotive, even if we try not to be. We mostly use our emotions to make decisions, whether personal or professional.
Interacting and purchasing products with brands also evoke emotions. Whether we choose Coke over Pepsi or Apple instead of Samsung, our decision making comes from the brand we most affiliate with.
More than ever, audiences demand to feel like they are part of the process in brand communications. Companies need to share their message through storytelling, rather than spurting information about the quality of their product or service.
Here are five ways how brands can make their audience’s experience more personable.
1. Understand what makes a good story
Having the desire to tell a story that communicates emotion for your product is a good start. But it will soon fall flat if you miss the basics of what makes a strong narrative. Each well-told story – from movies to brand messages – has a definite beginning, middle and end.
The Hero’s Journey, which Joseph Campbell developed in 1949, is a method for storytelling that Hollywood studios still use to this day. Brands can get in on The Hero’s Journey action by making their audience the star of the show.
Of course, the hero’s reward is your product or service. How you get the hero to the prize is by building a bond through watertight storytelling.
How do you build a bond?
By making the audience a part of your story.
2. Involve your target market
The days of one-way messages to consumers are coming to an end. Involving the customer in your communications is a certified way to provide a sense of weight to the fact that you genuinely care what they think.
User-generated content (UGC) is one of the most popular ways for brands to invigorate their audience. By harnessing the power of UGC, they are likely to increase engagement and build on consumer trust.
UGC is more than a marketing method, and brands have already realised its importance. GoPro, Starbucks, Coca-Cola and Apple have already jumped on the bandwagon and increased goodwill – and profits – thanks to user-generated content.
3. Know your market
Look to find the niche in your product or service. Even if what you offer covers a broad spectrum; there is still an opportunity to tailor aspects that suit demographics within your target market.
Drilling down the audience to a specific set of people champions more inclusion and a sense of belonging. Make the core features of your brand about them – rather than the product itself – by tapping into a particular niche.
There are many ways to find niches without alienating the rest of your audience. Telling the story that best communicates a message that resonates is the key to striking a chord with your target market.
4. Offer reasons to believe
Too many brands fall into the trap of trying to sell their product in a way that speaks to their audience, rather than to them. Instead of talking about the benefits, let your target market come to that conclusion organically.
What made you create the product in the first place? Why did you feel there was a gap in the market? What set you on your mission? This is one of the most important messages that a brand can relate.
By focusing on the emotions rather than actions, you are more likely to create empathy with your audience. Make them believe in your journey, and they will get on board with the product as a result.
Brands change over time. No one successful company is the same now compared to when they first started. Evolution is an integral part of a businesses’ life cycle, and it shouldn’t be afraid to change with the times.
Where you are going is more important than the starting point. This is even more prevalent when trying to communicate a story. A story and its characters need to evolve to keep things fresh.
Share your successes, share your failures and, most importantly, keep your audience involved in the journey. When the product improves, show them how, rather than merely saying that it’s new and improved.
Make them feel like they are a crucial ingredient to your brand. Show how they are the reason for your evolution and success.
Tell your best story
While your product or service is the most important aspect of your business, communicating the right story is equally as vital. The best storytellers are at the top of the marketing tree, pushing their brands forward.
Your audience will strike a better connection with your brand if you convey a range of emotions, from drama to laughter to heartfelt moments. Include your audience in your story, and they will show loyalty in return.