Customer experience and the power of brand storytelling
“We all love stories. We’re born for them”
– Andrew Stanton, Oscar-winning filmmaker at Pixar Animation Studios.
The unique aspect of the leading brands in the 2017 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (published by the Brand Keys) is their ability to deliver great customer experiences through powerful storytelling.
Nike has been at the top of the list for years by demonstrating the highest levels of engagement and loyalty. Why? Because the brand knows that the key to capturing consumers’ attention is not shouting louder; it is sharing a story, the “BigTruth”, in one single message: “If you have a body, you are an athlete.” that appeals to everyday people around the world.
The essence of storytelling lies in spreading your brand’s core idea to achieve an emotional connection with your target audience. As Howard Peter Guber highlights:
“The story makes the brand more interesting to talk about and consumers are more likely to become ambassadors of the brand.”
Patagonia’s story has not only served as the blueprint for all the brand’s marketing communications, both internally and externally, but it has also connected millions of advocates around a global community. The Worn Wear program not only offers tools and tips for people to fix their own gear, it is also a rich source of engaging stories. The program unveiled a 30-minute documentary featuring real customers sharing personal stories of their Patagonia clothes and adventures.
“People come into the brand through the product but it takes them a long time to learn about what the company stands for. Once they do, they’re hooked on the brand forever. So as a marketing team, the task is very simple, and that’s to make it easy for people to discover what the company is all about, and make sure it’s not hidden and tough to access. Because once they do know, they’re in. They’re with us.”
Patagonia’s Vice President of Global Marketing Joy Howard.
Backcountry has developed a unique value proposition around its plain and simple story plot: “We get people who get outside—plain and simple. This is about gear, grit, and connecting people to their passions.” Rather than focusing solely on the clothing, the brand invests in painting a picture of an adventure and emotion-driven lifestyle for its customers that extends beyond the brand’s functional purpose.
Hiut Denim is another great example of a brand that relies on word-of-mouth by building its marketing strategy around the company’s story, which completely sets them apart from their competitors. Hiut is the story of a town that used to make jeans, 35,000 pairs a week every week and their mission is getting the town back to making jeans again: “That’s why we have started The Hiut Denim Company. To bring manufacturing back home. To use all that skill on our doorstep. And to breathe new life into our town.” Their motto “Do one thing well” gives them an advantage in the pursuit of being memorable amongst the sea of competitors; Hiut believes in doing just one thing exceptionally well – and that is making jeans.
As humans, we’re hardwired to crave stories. Stories inspire us, they entertain us and they have the power to infuse products with meaning, and therefore greater value. That’s why telling a brand story that resonates with your target audience is absolutely critical in order to encourage brand discovery, differentiate your brand from your competitors, and increase brand trust and loyalty.
Brand stories need to be authentic, credible and well executed to be successful. When developing your brand story, the first three crucial steps are:
1 collecting the backstory
2 aligning your core business values with your message
3 evaluating your target audience and your existing customers’ understanding of your brand
Compelling stories can be told using words, images, video or a mixture of them and they can be shared through various channels. Knowing your brand inside and out and evaluating your target audience is key to developing the right type of storytelling techniques and communication strategies.
As a brand you can simply push out information, or you can pull people in by telling your own unique story.
If you require help with your brand design and story, or would like valuable insight into your market sector and consumer behavior, we’d love to talk to you.