A good story always has a lasting message. In its simplest fashion, Aesop with his fables gave us memorable lessons. On a much grander scale, the Bible gave us a framework for living. Ultimately, we as individuals are a Brand, for we each have our stories which impart our reputation, our essence. The marketplace is no exception, and those who tell a good, honest story are often the winners.
Our Brand stories help to differentiate and distinguish us. Consumers are bombarded by choice. Frequently, those options are driven by what we know of the product or service. Perhaps we have learned from those ubiquitous user reviews – opinions on everything by everyone. Maybe, we have been swayed by clever advertising. Something caught our attention, and we made a purchase. Very often, we responded to the story which tickled our sensibilities and memories. Mom used that detergent; Dad applied that underarm deodorant. We believe in environmental stewardship. This car gets the best mileage. Every year the company gives 10% to charity. We have that emotional connection to the story behind the Brand.
Matthew Toren, writing in Entrepreneur, provides further evidence of successful storytelling. He starts by advising Brands to match their story to their style for authenticity. “Think of Apple’s branding, which is instantly recognizable and matches the style of their products. It’s simple, easy and clean.”
He continues with examples of making an emotional connection by “conveying a true emotional connection with your clients about what they need and what you provide. Tell the story of your amazing individual employees. Share success stories and testimonials of others who have benefitted from your product. Tell stories that matter -- whether they’re humorous, heartwarming or inspiring. Help others make an emotional connection to you and they’ll always return to your brand. As Simon Sinek said in his TED Talk, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” This last comment – why you do something – is critical and really resonates with your consumer.
Lastly, Toren speaks to the appeal of a good story and the means to share. “People want to tell and share a great story with others. With so many social-media outlets and tools for sharing, make it easy for organic word to spread about your story. If you think storytelling isn't important, just take a moment to look at any Facebook page, Twitter feed or Reddit thread and you will soon realize they all feature stories in some form.”
There are many examples of a good story, which promotes the Brand. Wendy’s “Where’s the beef” still causes that chuckle. The darker, more visceral story from Chrysler showed up in the “Imported from Detroit” advertising campaign. USAA has veterans and service generations sharing their tales. Good stories all – we remember, we respond, we purchase. That reminds me, did you hear this one? “It was a dark and stormy night when I arrived at the WESTIN. It was a welcome sight…”
John Hendrie is the author of the LRA blog 'A Guy Walks In'. LRA is a leading research and consulting company in the emerging discipline of Customer Experience Management (CEM). We work with our clients to help them design and deliver consistently exceptional customer experiences in order to drive customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy, and company growth and profitability. We have built a range of quality assurance, mystery shopping, research, training and consulting solutions to help them do so.
Today, we are a growing company operating in more than 120 countries throughout the world, servicing our clients from offices and resources in the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific regions and helping clients such as Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, the National Football League, Avis Budget Group, Madison Square Garden, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group deliver exceptional customer experiences. Every touch. Every time. For more information, visit www.LRAworldwide.com.
Logos, product and company names mentioned are the property of their respective owners.