Back when consumers saw brands purely as transaction points for products and services, driving loyalty was a whole lot easier, but it’s time to listen up because times have changed. Now, audiences are smart, tech-savvy and demand more from brands. People will go a long way to assess whether they can trust a brand or not, so it’s imperative that you keep an open mind and adapt to current landscapes to create and sustain strong relationships with your audiences. Promotional ads and robotic communication of your ‘services’ will only lead to a skeptical and disengaged online community, primarily because this approach lacks substance and originality.
The solution? Brands need to start telling their stories.
Narratives create an authentic and unique experience for the consumer, which will help build trust and fans who are intrigued by and invested in your journey. Trust is the foundation of any successful relationship, hence why storytelling is the most promising way to start building connections which will form uncompromising loyalty. Whilst you begin to rack your brains about how your own company can develop an engaged fanbase, let us show you exactly how crucial a story is towards creating a loyal following.
Storytelling is the art of exuding a brand’s personality in the most human and meaningful way to spark an emotional connection with the world. By using these deeper and more humanistic methods of communication, you’re far more likely to inspire your audience and provide them with value to enhance their own lives. Storytelling is crucial because bringing context, sophistication and conviction to your brand gives your audience a strong platform from which to build an emotional relationship with you. Brands that establish themselves without sharing an authentic and engaging story - focusing only on the ‘what’ without the ‘why’ - will only attract superficial customers rather than fans. While these audiences may be willing to make a purchase, they’re unlikely to interact with your content on a deep level, commit to any long-term relationship with you or share the word with others to introduce new business further down the line.
We’re here to get to the bottom of what your audience really want, and outline the easy and effective steps you can take to get them back onside.
#1 Grab your audience’s attention by talking about your brand story
To ensure your content engages your audience, you need to lay the foundation, and that begins with your brand story. Start by expressing why your brand exists, what some of the core values are that your brand sacredly upholds, what purpose your brand is dedicated to serve, and the motivation behind everything you do. Every successful brand has a powerful purpose that connects with people on an emotional level. This will help your audience familiarise themselves with your brand identity, encourage them to explore what you’re all about and put you in prime position to gain their loyalty.
#2 Tell stories your consumer can relate to
Now that you’ve piqued your audience’s interest, it’s time to level up and bring in real, emotive stories around how your brand can enhance your consumer’s lives. This is where it gets powerful, because just one moving consumer story impacts another person who may not necessarily become a consumer or a client, but has potential to become an advocate. Use imagery and inspiring copy to create a clear vision of what the experience you’re offering could look like for your consumer.
- Which emotions will they encounter?
- Who can they share it with?
- Which memories will they take from it?
- How will it continue to benefit their lives?
You can get super creative with this: tell stories of your ideal consumer’s struggles in a fun way and dive into different aspects of your ideal consumer’s lifestyle. We at FSM love sharing stories that highlight various stages of our client’s journeys within their culinary worlds.
How to start coming up with ideas to tell your brand stories…
What does your ideal consumer's life generally look like? Now imagine this with your brand’s presence in their life. Notice the difference? You can repeat this process and dig deeper into the details each time.
| Side note: This isn’t to be confused with testimonials which are far more formal.
#3 Share obstacles + challenges that your brand has overcome
Any founder or brand who tells you they haven’t struggled at some point is lying. Everyone’s faced adversity to some extent while progressing from one stage to another - the path to success never did run smooth - and sharing these raw stories will boost your credibility and generate brand advocacy. It’ll show the world that your primary concern is to develop honest and real relationships with your customers over monetary gains, in turn earning your followers’ faith and paving the way for them to become true fans.
But what exactly can you share?
How about the unexpected hurdles that the pandemic has thrown at you, and how, while it limited the business in the beginning, it led you to creatively diversify into other business opportunities? Whatever feels appropriate for your own brand’s story, the idea is to openly talk about some of the complications you and your team have come up against. It’s time to drop the ‘perfection’ act and start sharing a human side to your brand - the side that perseveres through difficult circumstances and never stops striving to provide great value to consumers. This will always create a sense of transparency to set you apart, make you more memorable and invariably build trust amongst your audience.
#4 Always keep it real
Authenticity is king and the stats are here to prove it. Everything that your brand communicates should come straight from you and align with what you and your philosophy stand for. Through all of your messaging, audiences need to be able to recognise your unique tone, identity, and, more importantly, your story. Let them into your world and share details about your daily routine, your celebrations, any interesting business updates, answer their questions, value their opinions and own up to any mistakes you might make.
Narratives will captivate on an emotional level if they are real, believable, and consistent. Dishonest or replicated tales are easily spotted and will create a disconnect between you and your audience when they feel you’re being disingenuous. With so much fierce competition out there, they’ll be ready to hit that unfollow button and turn to a brand that honours them enough to be honest with them. We should look at our audiences as a great privilege and treat them with utmost respect and integrity.
Armed with these tools to start telling your brand’s stories the right way, now it’s down to you to apply them to your own engagement strategy and begin transforming your audience into an incredibly loyal fanbase today. Just remember that stories will always be about reaching your audience through emotional appeals, so the more strongly you move them, the more engaged and devoted to your brand they will be.