Hey – I’m Kath, Head of Social at Web Profits and today I’ll be talking about the importance of heart in brand storytelling, and how your business needs to connect in order to gain digital cut through.
More often than not, I’m asked the question, “How will my brand ‘make it’ across social or digital marketing channels?”
People are usually surprised when my reply is: “By igniting the chords of the hearts and minds of your customers.”
Storytelling has become the differentiating factor amongst brands that have gained significant recognition amongst creative and strategic accolades – and with good reason.
The ability to merge data-driven insights and strategy with an overlay of cutting edge creative, has proven to be the ‘secret sauce’ brands have been chasing, especially in the attempt to resonate with the golden market: Millennials.
A few months back, I was lucky enough to attend Millennial 20/20 – an event, which looked to engage marketers and business leaders in conversation about the ways in which they’d leverage online techniques (primarily social media) to begin a digital dialogue with target consumer groups.
What did I learn?
In between amazing advancements in artificial intelligence and Amazon taking over the world, was the art of storytelling as the focus for developing meaningful brand interactions and customer loyalty.
Contiki MD Katrina Barry, in her What Gets Your Brand There Doesn’t Keep Your Brand There presentation, outlined the ways in which storytelling played the focus role in the revival of Contiki’s online and offline marketing strategies.
From this, I’d say a key takeaway that resonated with me was not only to involve your customer in your brand story, but to have them create your brand story.
With a myriad of statistics, data and insight, Contiki extrapolated the following findings:
- User-Generated Content gained 4x the click-through rate when leveraged through ads creative
- 62% of Millennials surveyed, said brand engagement and consistency kept them loyal
- 42% said they’d purchase from brands providing educational content, with another
- 42% mentioning recommendations from people they knew impacted their decision making process based on trust and reputability.
With this data and insight in place, The Travel Project campaign was rolled out.
This appealed to target audience groups asking them to share their travel stories, recommendations and experiences through an open platform provided by – you guessed it – Contiki.
Upon this initiative launch,
- The brand saw bounce rates slashed by 30%
- Site sessions increased by 45%
- And 3x the eCommerce transactions through this campaign alone.
So what do these stellar results tell us?
That our customers are ready to create and consume stories brought to life by brands cultivating campaigns at the crossroads of tech and creativity.
IBM Futurist + CEO of BRANDthropologie Media Billee Howard puts it perfectly in her Forbes piece, Disruptive Marketing Trends for 2018:
Stories have become one of the greatest currencies of business. This is because goods and services have become largely commodified by price point and customers are looking for brands they can believe in, be a part of, and make statements through – that echo their personal ethos.
Smart marketers will use a strategic mix of creativity and technology to generate and deliver stories that create lasting connections with customers.”
So how can your business align with this approach?
Engagement of the heart although challenging to identify without the cheesy undertone, is key to evoking the bottom-line results we’re aiming for, as business owners and marketers.
As Howard continues,
Rational engagement is based on the stimulation of the mind, whereas emotional engagement is based on the stimulation of the heart.
In today’s age of brand experience, it seems that emotional engagement is proving to be more and more critical to achieving winning results with effective storytelling and digital marketing at the heart of this movement.
From my experience, this is not something to approach lightly.
Usually, customers are aware of what your business aims to do and how it’s done – what will resonate with their personal ethos is the why that supports the purpose behind what your business aspires to service them with.
The value of purpose-driven business in today’s marketplace is imperative to lasting success.
It is through purpose (and brand purpose at large), that not only can your collective identify its vision for the future, but your customers can align with that ideology, within a market of saturated brand messaging and value promises.
Key takeaways I’d recommend:
Remain authentic and transparent, and make your customers the hero of your brand story.
I hope this piece has inspired you to think laterally about your creative campaign objectives and the place they hold within your digital marketing approach.
I’d be keen to hear your take on what I’ve shared in the comments section below.