Not that long ago, or at least it seems, the business of building brand awareness was fairly straightforward. The success of your campaign typically had a lot to do with the size of your budget and the creativity of your marketing team.
Content marketing has disrupted everything. Small companies, and even individual bloggers, are generating brand awareness among their target audiences at a degree that can surpass those built through multimillion-dollar marketing initiatives.
That type of success requires a deep understanding of your customers, and what they want at every stage of their experience with you — whether it’s getting more information, buying a product or service to solve a problem, or simply being entertained.
While this is the Age of the Customer, it’s not all about the customers. Success also lies in telling your side of the story; humanizing your company in a way that customers find relatable and authentic.
Here are 5 storytelling strategies that can help you create brand awareness among your customers .
1. Share your brand story internally. Since many aspects of your company, from customer service to company culture, represent your brand, it’s important to make sure your employees understand what your company is all about. Use storytelling to share the story and mission of your company during employee onboarding and training.
But don’t stop there. Build a robust internal communications plan to regularly share the stories of employees who are living out your company’s mission; employees who deserve to be recognized. And share customer stories that reflect how your company is making an impact.
If you create excitement internally among employees with memorable stories, it will naturally flow to their interactions with customers. As a result, your employees will become among your most motivated brand ambassadors.
2. Create a brand story around your mission. When building a brand story, make sure that it has elements that are only unique to your company.
Start by answering a few important questions. What is your company’s reason for existing? What inspires your employees to serve your customers? How does your team make customers' lives different? Better? More enjoyable?
Use the answers to those questions to build a narrative about your company. Think of it as a book or a movie created specifically with your customers and employees in mind. And if the answers don’t come easily, spend some time developing a clearer mission and understanding of your brand’s goals.
3. Showcase a few authentic characters in videos. Storytelling requires at least a few believable characters; people your customers will find relatable. Raise brand awareness by featuring the relationships among your employees and/or customers. These are the people that make up the story of your brand, and can give prospective customers an idea of what to expect when dealing with your company.
Consider using video to tell the narrative; it has the benefit of creating an additional layer of authenticity.
Here are a few options to consider:
- Interview a company subject matter expert about the latest industry trends.
- Showcase a behind-the-scenes look at what drives employees to deliver excellent customer service.
- Interview an enthusiastic customer who has a great story to tell about their relationship with your company.
By creating these type of videos, you can tap into the emotional connection your company has with your customers. It goes beyond the nuts and bolts of a case study that primarily focuses on your solution, not necessarily the relationships. Videos also can instill confidence in your brand as an industry leader.
Don’t worry about a person’s ability to be “camera ready.�? Customers want to feel like they’re making authentic connections — not being sold on something as part of a highly polished presentation.
4. Integrate your brand story in more company assets. The story of your brand — the personality, the mission, the vision — can be creatively and naturally integrated throughout many of your company assets. Explore other creative opportunities to integrate storytelling on social media sites, sales presentations, print collateral and even business cards.
Introducing a solution? A new product? In the product description, include a brief story about how and why your team decided to launch it and how it fits into your overall company mission. Again, a short video can add some authenticity to the delivery of the story.
By using memorable storytelling in various places to remind customers why your company exists, you can create a deeper emotional connection that enhances brand awareness.
5. Add depth to your brand’s character. Tell stories related to different aspects of your company; look beyond your core business offerings. If your company engages in community outreach, capture what you’re doing in photographs, videos and blog posts. If you’re engaging in environmentally-friendly practices, share them with your customers.
Customers want that type of transparency from the companies they support. Studies reveal that your customers are more likely to stand by your brand if you share ethics and values that they can get behind.
These types of initiatives also lend themselves to great storytelling, and can help you humanize your brand. For instance, if you’re incorporating environmentally-friendly practices into your company’s day-to-day operations, share the story of how those initiatives began, what led your team to make changes and how you envision challenging yourself to do even more.
Branded content continues to be essential in the Age of the Customer. And creative storytelling is the critical differentiator, helping you share the most unique aspects of your company.
With the data insights gained through martech tools, such as content intelligence platforms, you also can identify the aspects of your brand story that will have the most impact with your target audiences. Contact us at Vennli for a demo on how content intelligence can boost the impact of your brand story.