Lead, follow or get out of the way. What’s your story going to be?
These times are a litmus test for thought-leaders and brands that want to be here for the long-term regardless of current uncertainty. Richard Mark Webb offers seven tips to get your story heard in all the noise.
Aside from altering the performance your business, the current COVID-19 pandemic has also changed consumer priorities and much of the short-term marketing landscape overnight. We’re at a time where many organisations are feeling under attack and having to protect every asset. The pressure is on for leaders to find the answers. Stakeholders – suppliers, investors and employees need to stay focused despite the fear of losing their jobs, contracts or investment whilst trying to know the unknowable.
But hidden in these tough times is a defining moment waiting for businesses. It’s to create meaningful connections to maintain productivity and to minimise the disruptions that come with change and the unknown. Now is the time to ensure communication is a high priority to minimise downsides of change and accelerate any upsides.
Now more than ever, we need leadership. This is a time for courageous conversations and communications. Specifically, it’s is the time to convey how your organisation is positioned for the future and how changes are being made now will set the business up for future success.
Here are my seven tips for communicating your story during tough times.
- Decision-makers and consumers are less interested in old-school sales promises or advertisements
We consume over 100,000 digital words each day, but according to the New York Times, 92% of consumers would prefer to consume those words in the form of a story. Our minds are constantly searching for distractions from the current #lockdown, and the only time we seem to focus is when we have a story in front of us. Consider what you want your story to be and craft it with authentic passion.
- Is your brand voice is still working?
Call it your sales pitch, USP, your identity, your background if you like – but is your ‘brand voice’ still sharp and relevant in today’s extraordinary business landscape? Your storytelling can be the key to earning trust and engagement from a stressed and distracted audience.
- Go easy on the data
When reading loads of data, we only engage parts of our brains to decode the message we’re fed. But when we read a story, we engage other aspects of the brain that would typically be engaged as if we were experiencing whatever we’re reading about. If you want to help your customers see things from your perspective, tell them your story. Stories are far easier to remember than statistics because our brains blend the tales that we read in with our own memories.
- Make your story the distraction
Our minds are constantly searching for distractions, particularly at times like we are experiencing with this pandemic. Think about it, when you read a story, it’s one of the few times we can focus. The way you tell your story will really make an impact on your customers. If you discover your ‘story’, you are on the way to re-defining your sales narrative.
- Telling your story starts with you
Using storytelling in marketing isn’t as challenging as you may think. The thing is that we’re all-natural storytellers because they make it easier for other people to understand us. They give context to the facts and information that we want to share. If you can use your natural storytelling skills as a human being in your marketing content, then you can draw your customers in with a captivating tale, before your call to action. By the time you ask your audience to do something, they’ve already built an emotional connection with you – and nothing inspires motivation to act than an emotional connection
- Say it like it is and grow relationships
Nothing is quite as memorable as a great story, because from the time we’re very young, we’re taught to recall stories that continue to have an impact as we get older. People who are connected to your brand through your stories are more likely to become repeat customers, and will recommend your business to others.
No matter how ‘ordinary’’ you might perceive your industry to be, there is the ‘right angle’ for your content. With a bit of great narrative, you can transform even the blandest topics into tales that leave your customers wanting more
- Make your story shine on social media
Remember, storytelling in marketing need not have to involve a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Instead, as part of a social media campaign, you can create an ongoing story of the lifestyles and people your company exists to support, for example.
This might involve using Instagram to share pictures of real people who have been touched by your brand, which helps people to envision themselves within the lifestyle that your company promotes.
By showing off some of the more authentic sides of what makes your company different, it will help demonstrate to your customers that you’re with them during the good times, as well as the more uncertain times.
Richard Mark Webb is a best-selling author content writer and brand story-teller. Visit www.richardmarkwebb.com and or hit the WhatsApp button or contact the author firstname.lastname@example.org find him on social