When you truly understand your customer, you not only improve their experience, but their sentiment over time. And in an online world overwhelmed by noise, there's no more powerful way to connect with customers than through storytelling.
But not just any story. In a recent study, a well-constructed, character-driven story was found to increase clarity around a company's culture, vision, mission, and values. And more than that, it had a direct result on the stickiness of the company message.
As a business, storytelling is an incredible opportunity. If you want to transform your customer experience, begin by telling better stories. Here's how to weave them into every post, article, and piece of content you write.
1. Use storytelling as an emotional branding tool.
According to experts, 90 percent of all purchasing decisions are made subconsciously. They're based on the emotions and feelings a person has towards a particular brand. That means, the way they feel about your company, will determine whether or not they buy your product or service.
That's why emotional branding is such an effective marketing strategy. One with a huge potential for improving customer retention and driving return through a strong emotional bond.
By telling a story that embodies the challenges faced by your target audience, you create an experience that resonates, educates, and sticks with them. Blue Apron is a company who does exactly that.
Their mission is to make cooking easy, fun, and accessible to anyone. They're model connects on an emotional level to our hurry up lifestyle that wants simple, quick, and affordable.
2. Make your story compelling with these three key ingredients.
78 percent of customers believe customized content that tells a story is critical. Not only does it bind and connect, but brings with it a sense of belonging.
If you want to create a story that makes an impact on your community and becomes truly memorable, include these three main ingredients:
The story you share should be an embodiment of your personality -- of who you or your brand truly is. Are you fun, silly, lighthearted? Let that shine through. Leave your audience with the sense that they've known you for years.
The definition of authenticity differs from one age group to the next. For Millennials, authenticity means actively supporting a social cause. Understand your audience's version of authenticity and incorporate that messaging into your brand identity.
To be a great storyteller, you must be a good listener. Use social listening tools to monitor conversations. Get intimately acquainted with your audience and their pain points. Empathize with their situation and validate their perspective by providing customized solutions to their struggles.
3. Help your company story come alive with visual content.
In the last few years, brands such as Google, Oreo, and Kentucky Fried Chicken have recognized the value of associating the brand with a powerful visual story. That's because they know what emotionally compelling visual content can do for retention.
When customers hear your message, they'll only remember ten percent. But, pair that information with an image and they retain 65 percent of that information. That should be reason enough for you to get visual!
If you want your story to come alive, add emotional and visual context (video, graphics, GIFs) to your content. Share snippets of:
- What inspired you to create your business.
- The history of your company.
- What problems you solve.
- Obstacles you helped others overcome.
4. Make your customer the hero of your story.
What better way to convert new customers than to do it with the help of your current ones? Let them take center stage by becoming the hero of your story.
Rather than making your company the center of your story, tell it through the challenges faced by those you've helped. Not only does it endear customers to you, but according to Deloitte and Touche, being customer centric makes you 60 percent more profitable.
Use stories to highlight the problems and struggles your customers have encountered and the villains they fought along the way. You can bet that the same challenges they faced are faced by your potential clients as well.
Share stories that attract new customers, build brand loyalty, and establish credibility.