- The best brands don't rely on their own story to package and sell the product. They look at their customer's transformation story as their primary driver.
Shobhit Dixitwho is an Author, Brand Consultant, Start-up Expert and Entrepreneur writes how empathywill be an important factor in deciding a brand's success in the future.
However, the best brands don't rely on their own story to package and sell the product. They look at their customer's transformation story as their primary driver.
Very few brands know this. The ones that do will agree that storytelling will be the most differentiating business skill of the 21st century.
It shouldn't be surprising, though. Humans connect with stories that can fill our minds with vivid images and our hearts with equitable emotions. It is the same reason why we love and remember the stories told by our parents during our childhood. The characters, setting of the story, and even the room in which it was narrated, is etched into our memories. The plot twists, the over-the-top expressions - all of it reminds us of the days gone past.
So what can be done? First, a realization. A realization where products and brands have to admit that everything that needs to be said, has already been said. There is nothing new left to say. Once we are ready to destroy this reality, we can truly accept that following - brands can always find new ways to tell the "how" of the story. Mixing up the modes of communication with the right messaging strategy will create new frontiers of branding.
A clear example to showcase here is the political propaganda videos resonate so well with people because often video and sound quality aren't concocted. The raw footage feels raw and gets under the skin. How many video ads have you seen that feel like the work of an on the ground reporter?
We should accept that all businesses struggle with understanding their customers. Startups and brands need to find that one customer who purchased the product, without any recommendation from friends and family, and truly enjoyed it. Take that one customer out for lunch if you have to, and find out the true internal triggers that have were activated. Big brands inculcate this phenomenon into "Focus Groups." It comes with its drawbacks (dishonest response, avoiding confrontation with a fellow, etc.). But to cut back, it's expenditure on this exercise is a cardinal mistake. Remember, a product cannot become a brand without knowing how to connect with its customer at a deeper level.
Then, we have positioning. Never focus on what the brand wants to say, but what the customer wants to hear. Think of aspects such as value the product brings; passions, desires, emotional triggers of the customer. The tone itself warrants informal lingo, preferably in a local language and not marketing jargon based lingo. Once you have all that, find a way to test it.
And lastly, the communication of it all. You can choose your methodology, but a few trends should be accepted. The customer is now fully trained to absorb long formats of communication - even episodes if needed. You can drip-feed them your reveal campaign, thereby testing your audience's reaction in a niche demographic before broadening the blast radius.
Empathy is the most defining quality of any human being. So it is only natural that it's benefits will spill over to marketing. Empathetic storytelling generates a caring attitude towards the customer. It helps brands enter the social circle of the user and be part of their conversations. Brands have begun to become political and taking sides in a conversation. And we are just getting started.
Be true, right, and real in your storytelling. You can't go wrong.