Powerful brand building has always been about storytelling. But today, that is truer than ever. 71% of consumers will only do business with companies that share similar values and beliefs. 83% of Millennials feel it’s crucial for brands to have their values and beliefs aligned with that of their consumers if they want to remain relevant and competitive.
The best way to convey a message about values, beliefs, and goals is through stories. Companies today need not only ensure that their processes are socially responsible and morally ethical, but they also need to be able to share the positive impact that they do to their consumers through their products and services.
This is why we’re seeing continued growth and momentum in and around storytelling marketing. Brands, especially those within the B2B field, understand today, more than ever, that in order to successfully distinguish (and separate) yourself, you must focus more on creating relevant marketing content, and anchor your program to stories that connect and interest your audiences.
Bear in mind that the brands that successfully tell the stories that connect with their targets are the ones who will see the greatest return. Brand building based on stories wins. Over 90% of consumers want advertisements to feel like stories. Relatability is key in making a personal connection with your customers.
Storytelling is hard. But that is exactly why I think this is the most significant opportunity for marketers as we navigate these difficult, uncertain times. Consumers are ultimately human at the core. Being humans, we are fundamentally wired to desire connecting to a much bigger narrative.
The power of storytelling marketing stems from a deep understanding and knowledge of your customers. Leveraging this deep connection will enable marketing teams to write and tell stories that customers can see themselves in and easily relate to.
Storytelling marketing is more important than taking an integrated approach; it is more important than focusing on your brand; it is even more important than the messaging platforms you are being asked to create.
I bet a lot of people reading this are saying “telling stories over our company message? Over our brand?” Yes. And it’s not that I think we should NOT focus on those areas; it is just that in order of prioritization, storytelling needs to be at the top – the others will come along.
Why? Think about the current situation prospective buyers are faced with – data, data and more data. We’re inundated with information. eBook? Podcast? Case study? Webinar? Consumers, whether they be B2B or B2C, want to know how a product or a service will look and benefit them. Being able to connect with consumers on a very personal level is one of the highest forms of brand building, and good storytelling is the key to making it happen.
Brands need to picture themselves into the worlds of their buyers and show them the how, what and why their offer will fit in. Marketers need to craft brand building content that is rooted in the daily lives of their consumers and present stories that depict situations that reflect their consumers’ routine.
Brand : a name, term, design, symbol, or other feature that distinguishes an organization or product from its rivals in the eyes of the customer.
If your data-driven brand building efforts and marketing messages successfully get your target audience on your side, then you are on the right track. However, providing consumers with facts, data, surveys, and charts isn’t sufficient to drive them into action.
Numerous studies have explored the role of emotions as influencing factors and stimulus to purchasing decisions. Brand building strategies and messaging based on logic alone are not a guarantee to inspire your target consumers to make a purchase.
This is how storytelling marketing is done: at a more personal, targeted level. With the marketing tools and technology available today, companies can really pinpoint who the individuals are and what it is that they’re looking for.
Here’s an example of how stories can help support some of your other initiatives, including brand building. I have been seeing more and more people talking about how brand building is the number one thing marketers should do. I couldn’t disagree more.
A brand on its surface is an identifier. It is who you are, what you are known for, and what you stand for. Gone are the days of people wanting to buy for the brand.
Remember this old saying “People don’t get fired for buying IBM.”? At the time, they were the leading brand that provided computing power and business applications for companies all over the world, so how could you go wrong?
With tens of thousands of B2B providers in the market today, there are a ton of options and not all are a fit for your business, even those with the known brand so why should building the brand be the lead for marketers today?
By successfully leading with storytelling in all of your marketing efforts you’ll have the opportunity to grow other areas of your business with this approach. If you take the three initiatives I mentioned earlier (integrated approach, brand building and message development) you can see how each would grow off of your storytelling.