The 20s are an exhilarating time to be in marketing. 1.7 megabytes of data are created every second. Consumers are bombarded with 4,000 to 10,000 images a day. Digital technology has leveled the playing field, making anyone with a cell phone a photographer or layout artist. The challenge, in this era of oversaturation, is engagement. Good content marketing grabs an audience’s attention. Too many brands miss the opportunity to engage with an audience because they are so busy talking about themselves.
Simon Sinek had a famous TED talk where he said “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Gone are the days of feature-based marketing alone. 56% of global respondents said stories about a brand influence their purchasing decisions. Modern consumers are wary of salesy messages having lost trust in big influencer marketing. To reach customers in today’s heavily populated global marketplace, discerning consumers require personal connections instead of product information, and insights in place of sales pitches. Brand storytelling is the answer, and doing it with individualization technology is the sweet spot where you can turn stories into sales.
Here are three important tactics for great storytelling in content marketing:
1. Brands Must Know Their Story
“Know thyself” is an ancient proverb going back to Greek times. To properly connect with customers, it is imperative that a brand knows their history, who they are, why they are in business and their core essence. A popular soup brand knows where their recipe originated, how they source their ingredients, what types of consumers use their product and the real story behind their operations. Brands like Starbucks, Nordstrom, Patagonia and Whole Foods are masters at knowing their own brand story and with it, have created zealous brand enthusiasts.
At a minimum all brands should know:
- Their history
- Their mission
- Who their buyers are
- What motivates their customers
- How their product or service differs from the competition
Successful brands will use this data to create a brand voice to communicate with their buyers as a persona instead of just as a company. The brand voice speaks as an actual person does and is consistent throughout all marketing, whether it be formal or casual, fun or serious, mellow or peppy. A brand voice helps consumers connect, being more personable and relatable.
2. Brands Must Engage
It is vital for marketers to remember that really good, memorable marketing is about connecting with human beings. Our brains are hardwired for stories. The first humans told tales on cave walls and though our tools are significantly different today with technology, at the essence a good story is about connection. Successful marketing teams build engagement by humanizing their brand and creating content that their audience can relate to. Good content speaks to the human experience and increases brand loyalty and shareability.
3. Brands Must Know the Right Channel
All marketers seek to offer the right messages at the right time across multiple channels. As previously mentioned, modern automation creates a sweet spot between storytelling and individualization. When a brand adds the ability to personalize messages into conversations at the right place, time, channel, message and format, they can break through the noise of the marketplace and stand out from the pack, converting shoppers into buyers.
Individualization technology allows brand leaders to understand their audiences preferences, to capture their behavior data in real time and trigger messaging to them at the right moment. It allows brands to create relevant and meaningful interactions at crucial stages of the customer journey and understanding brand critical behavioral insights.
How One Brand Is Transforming the Customer Experience with AI-Driven Individualization
Under Armour’s marketing team is a great example of a brand enhancing the customer experience through AI and individualization, all without having to invest more time and human resources. The brand wanted to create a more individualized content experience by adding a new weekly email touch point to the customer journey, a “Weekly Meal Plan” email for every subscriber. The only problem was that the marketing team lacked the bandwidth to produce an additional email every week, especially one that was individualized to the unique needs and interests of each subscriber.
Thankfully for Under Armour and the brand’s customers, the solution was in artificial intelligence. After creating a template for the Weekly Meal Plan email, they leveraged OneSpot’s Individualization Platform to automatically analyze customer data and available content, and then populate the email for each subscriber. As a result, Under Armour was able to execute a new individually relevant email touch point to drive deeper engagement with subscribers, and without having to sacrifice other priorities or team bandwidth.
Brand Storytelling Leads to Marketing ROI
Brand storytelling is a science that leads to real marketing ROI. After analyzing the impact of brand storytelling on the financial performance of 42 publicly-traded companies, researchers found brand storytelling to have a significantly greater impact on brand engagement than traditional advertising. As a result, companies that used storytelling earned 1,900% more social mentions than traditional branding/advertising messages.
The most successful content marketers are able to successfully blend the ancient art of storytelling with individualization technology content to reach, engage and influence their audience to share their content. Facts, statistics and testimonials can all be powerful, but memorable narratives captivate an audience, simplify information and provoke a response.