It’s no secret that the customer is becoming savvy to traditional marketing strategies, both in consumer and commercial environments. As we all develop a resistance to direct advertising and unwanted sales pitches, the way in which brands are putting themselves in front of us is transforming.
Storytelling is fast becoming the vessel of choice for many companies to do this. Whether this is multi-national consumer brands or niche players in a specialist field, what they say in these stories is essential to how they are perceived. Just look at the hype (and money) surrounding Christmas adverts and the stories they tell every year!
Think also about the way in which technology and, in particular, social media is revolutionising the way we all interact. Video is far more popular now and the way consumers digest media is vastly different from that of even five years ago. Thinking of ourselves as consumers, we all create an online persona, conscious that what we post is a reflection of ourselves, the story we’re trying to tell and the way we want people to see us. Well, aren’t marketers doing the same to promote their brands and products? What’s more, isn’t this new technology making it far easier to share and ‘recommend’ brands and their stories?
Telling your story with content marketing can be a great way of engaging with your audience. However, successful employment of it often depends on it being carefully thought out and strategically planned. The key to achieving this is in understanding, as far as you possibly can, both your own business and the audience you’re trying to appeal to.
I used to help companies tell their stories every day whilst writing for a trade magazine, and the most valuable conversations I had were with those people who knew both their business and their industry inside-out. General passion and enthusiasm from them were key to me having a really worthwhile discussion and subsequently creating a strong article, but I don’t think it’s news to anybody that these often go hand-in-hand with a thorough and in-depth knowledge of a market and one’s position within that market.
Marc Mathieu, CMO of Samsung US and former global Senior VP Marketing at Unilever once pointed out: “Marketing used to be about making a myth and telling it. Now it’s about telling a truth and sharing it.” Knowing the facts about your product, service or event and who your audience is, what they want and where to find them is essential to being able to tell the right story. And having this information to hand when telling the story is a great way of framing your narrative.
The best articles I could write were those where data and facts could be employed to qualify the story I was telling about a particular company. But why is this important? Because today’s consumers don’t appreciate being conned into buying into a story. If a brand trusts its customers with the facts and the truths, then the customer will, in turn, trust the brand back – spreading, sharing and engaging with the telling of that story long into the future.