Storytelling: How to maximise customer value and drive engagement through stories

In a recent study across hundreds of brands in dozens of categories, Harvard Business Review found that the most effective way to maximise customer value is to move beyond customer satisfaction and connect with customers at an emotional level – tapping into their fundamental motivations and demonstrating an understanding of their needs through targeted insights and unspoken emotional motivators.

Most companies spend their time and budgets mapping customer experience and tracking customer activity across physical stores, call centres, e-commerce sites, and social media, gathering mountains of data from their own surveys, customer tracking systems, loyalty programs, and third-party providers. Their stated goal being “to improve customer satisfaction at each step of the customer journey”. However, overall customer satisfaction is often already high, and anyway it is seldom a competitive differentiator in and of itself.

B2B buyers are twice as likely to consider a business if they feel an emotional connection to it*.

Telling your business’s unique story consistently in an authentic manner will help audiences connect with your brand and make them care about what it stands for on a much deeper emotional level. This is the importance of storytelling in marketing.

Sharing your brand’s narrative is immensely powerful in a number of other ways; authentic stories can empower business leaders under pressure, secure a brand’s place in the market, or help frame the products and services they offer. To quote Fast Company: “Without a compelling story, our product, idea, or brand, is dead on arrival.”

To make this happen it is essential that your story is original, authentic and sustainable. The most authentic, original characters in your story are always going to be your people. Your colleagues on the front lines will always have the best material, but often don’t know who to share it with or how. Crowdsourcing ideas and inspiration from an engaged and enabled workforce can ensure that your story is able to live, grow and succeed.

People have always told stories, and their effects on individuals are remarkable. Stories affect our physiology, shifting us into mind-sets of empathy, trust, or focus. They’re psychologically powerful, helping us to understand complex concepts. Fundamentally, great stories can change behaviours.

So how do you shape and then deliver against your brand story in a consistent manner?

The four key essential elements for developing successful marketing storytelling techniques:

Know your stuff.
Whether told through an experience, a game, or the spoken word, people react to stories they understand. Understanding depends on simplicity. Simplicity arises from complete knowledge of your subject matter, your audience, and your goals. Your own people hold the key to this, tap into their knowledge continuously to capture insights and inspiration and fuel your storytelling.

Listen to your audience.
Know your audience inside and out. Understand what they already know, what they want to know, and how they’d like to be told. Understand and remain up to date with their pain points. Whatever the final medium, tell a story that is informed, relevant, and that resonates with users, listeners, or viewers.

Trust people to take ownership.
The brands that connect best with people are those that take a step back and let their people do the inputting and the talking, enabling them to shape the story and be advocates for the business.

Listen. Make it personal.
Storytelling isn’t just another target-led business tool. It’s a connection between people. It’s important to understand why people love stories and to listen to our audiences both internally and externally as we inform, provoke, entertain and engage them with them on a more personal level.

oogsta helps ambitious businesses engage their audiences by crowdsourcing ideas and insights in order to better tell their story and drive business success.

* Gartner and Google 2019


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