Many people assume that storytelling in marketing is a relatively new concept but believe it or not, we’ve been doing it for decades! How else can a person relate to what you have to say and understand your product better?
During the EIMS 2019 that Exabytes conducted last month, this was one of the interesting topics that were discussed by speaker Roberto Cumaraswamy. For those who are not familiar with who he is, Roberto is a Marketing Consultant and trainer that helps organizations with branding and digital transformation.
While attending his workshop on how you can effectively combine storytelling into marketing, I definitely picked up a thing or two. So let me share my take away from the workshop with you!
When we’re in the midst of creating a suitable narrative for our audience & customer, it’s crucial that we ask a couple of very important questions that help us navigate the marketing direction and strategy we want to use. Here are some factors that Roberto highlighted during the workshop.
Help people decide what to buy
Before creating a story behind our product, we need to understand who our buyers are and what do they need from us. A good way to know it is by finding answers to all the important questions like:
1. Why should someone buy our product?
Products and services that we considered mind-boggling a decade ago are now easily available in the market, be it online or offline. With the oversaturation of products and services in the market, we need to give a reason for our customers to choose us instead of our competitors. By highlighting the things that make us different from the rest, the consumers will have a clearer picture of what we’re talking about.
2. What do we have to offer?
As creators or marketers, we see our products through pink coloured glasses. We rarely see the negative aspects of them but we need to realise that a person who’s spending their hard-earned cash on our product doesn’t think that way. We need to show them how our products make their everyday lives better!
3. What’s in it for the customers?
When discussing this topic, Roberto gave an answer that was simple yet mind-blowing! He mentioned how every one of us has the desire to better ourselves. Be it physically, materially, mentally or emotionally, we all have the urge to present the best versions of ourselves. This is what the customers want too! Which explains why brands like Apple and Nike have such a strong following. These brands present themselves in such a way that makes the consumers think “I’ll look better with that shoe/phone/outfit” hence converting curiosity into sales.
4. Why should they believe us?
As a marketer and a storyteller, it is our job to make a customer who has no idea who we are, love our product. The key is to make the stories relatable! When we identify a problem that the consumers constantly face and how our product is able to solve that issue, the audience will show immediate interest. (I’ll also give you the inside scoop one the aspect of creating an ideal storyline in just a minute, so keep on reading!)
5. How can consumers get our product easily?
As people, most of us just talk and talk and talk and talks and… you get the idea. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing but how do we know the other person understood exactly what we mean? A long message has the risk of letting people lose focus whereas a simple, concise message ensures that your customer understands the product, its story, and how hassle-free it is to get the product.
These questions may sound like a no brainer but these play an important part in understanding our audience better. It helps us gauge for ourselves in a more logical, non-biased way.
Now for the fun part!
How to write a storyline?
A lot of people talk about having a great story for a brand but they don’t really provide any guideline on how to create that story. That’s why when Roberto gave these tips, I was absolutely ecstatic! Mind you that it wasn’t anything revolutionary but it was a great reminder on what to do and what you’ve done correctly, so far, so listen close!
1. Customer is the hero
As marketers, we sometimes forget where the priority lies. Our stories should always revolve around the customers. I get that the impulse to highlight your business more will be strong but what we should always remember is that the customer is the hero, not our brand. Hence the story should always revolve around them.
2. Sticky situation
Know what problems is our hero facing and what makes their lives difficult? By knowing things that create conflict in them, we can work on how our product can be the solution to the hero’s need. For example: Deciding a good and affordable place to eat during lunch can be a hassle so what does McDonald’s do? Give you a cheaper lunch alternative to indulge in!
3. Be Master Yoda
We should always remember that our brand is there as a guide for the hero’s problems. Like Yoda for Luke Skywalker. We need to help them reach their full potential. This is where our product comes it! Help the audience understand that our business is the guide that they need to live a better quality of life.
4. The man with the plan
For the hero to fully believe us, one thing is crucial. We need a solid plan not just something that is abstract. We need to provide what are we doing now, our plans for the next 3 years and more so that we seem more reliable and trustworthy.
5. Just a little push
In our case, we use the term Call to Action. By ending an ad or campaign with a call to action words like “Sign up today” or “Learn more” on our Google ads it will prompt the customers to take the next immediate action instead of postponing and forgetting us.
Okay, I admit that was a little dramatic but it is true! Sometimes we need to spell out the consequences of not following through with our plan. We need to remind the heroes what loss looks like without our product in their life. A good example that was given in the workshop is Air Asia. Note how the sale is only available for 72 hours only hence creating a sense of urgency.
7. Happily ever after
Finally, after the long and strenuous quest of reaching their desired product, the hero has completed their journey. When all goes well, the new product/ service purchase will help the hero unleash their potentials as well as have a happy ending.
Hope this post has been a helpful one and thus I conclude my Storytelling in Digital experience at EIMS 2019. Thank you!