Welcome to the human era of marketing, where if you’re selling something based on features alone, you’re missing the mark. As customers continue to expect more from the companies they consider engaging, brands need to evolve. It’s no longer enough to promote a product or service just because you think it’s great. Customers now require you to work for their trust and foster a real connection.
Weaving Your Own Brand Story
So how do you connect? How do you tell a story that appeals to your audience and promotes what you do? Here are 3 key points to remember when creating the narrative that gives life to your brand:
- Get personal.
Put your business and your brand into a larger context by sharing your story with your customers. Think about your origins, your inspiration, and interesting things about your business and its people. Get into the who, what, and why of your vision. You have a unique story and so does your brand, so add personality to your content.
Even in B2B marketing, remember that you’re a real person addressing another real person. So personalize your content to tell your story in a way that shows what makes you different—all within the context of why it’s meaningful to your audience.
- Show how you add value.
Even though your brand story sounds like it should be about you, remember to include your customers. Show how your business fits into their lives. Think of your customers as people who have needs and challenges to overcome.
Sure, they want to know about innovations and upgrades. But dig deeper. What does your product or service mean for your customers? Show how your business eases their troubles and enhances their lives.
- Embrace two-way communication.
Your brand story is not set in stone. The way your customers interact with your business will continue to shape your messaging. To gauge how your customers’ needs are evolving, keep lines of communication open. Mine your resources—social media, your sales team, and your customer support staff—to hear what customers have to say and address their most common observations, issues, or concerns.
By keeping communication flowing, you can respond to customer feedback, evolve your brand story, and use real-world insights and testimonials to strengthen your messaging.
Brand Stories at Work
With these three keys in mind, we developed a direct mail piece for our client, vAuto. Stockwave, vAuto’s new online vehicle sourcing software, analyzes data from a dealership’s trends and selling strategy, aggregates a list of suitable vehicles available at auction, and suggests which cars are the right fit for their market.
But how does data analysis make dealers’ lives better? That’s where Stockwave’s brand story comes into play.
The story behind Stockwave is not about its innovative technology and advanced algorithms. Instead, their story is about how the tool relieves multiple pain points that dealers collectively voiced—the time it takes to research multiple auctions, the sheer volume of cars to look through, and how to judge which cars will turn a profit.
Having documented a common frustration plaguing dealerships through two-way communication, we created a message that would resonate with the audience on a personal level.
The piece begins by getting the reader’s attention with a list of the simple pleasures in life: front row center, wide-open road, ice-cold beer, etc. This opening not only makes the reader smile, but the content serves as a backdrop against which Stockwave is positioned as “even better.”
By getting personal at the beginning, we were able to transition to the value-driven message that Stockwave is a tool to make dealers’ lives easier. For used-car dealers, it doesn’t get much better than efficient searches, solid results, and having more time to spend elsewhere on the business. And we did it without resorting to a feature-heavy, hard sales approach.
Every company has a story. What’s yours?
When it comes to your brand, sharing your unique story becomes essential to your identity, your presence among your competitors, and customers’ perception of you. Keep it relevant to your industry, but also convey your human side.
You’re complex. Your business is complex. So don’t be afraid to show your personality and the passion you have for what you do and how it enhances your customers’ lives. When it’s genuine, they’ll know it.