Once a marketing buzzword of note, “storytelling” has lost steam in the face of social media. When consumers hold the power to tweet about the nasty waitress and pin photos of that fantastic filet mignon directly from the table, brands’ reputations precede them. Not to mention, gone are the days when consumers were content to sit back and field marketing messages – today, they demand to be part of the conversation.
Smart brands have realized that their stories are no longer their own, but are built at individual consumer levels based on social opinion and series of interactions. Here are three ways your brand can close the book on storytelling and start generating revenue with story building.
Let your customers do the storytelling.
Customer reviews are trusted 12x more than descriptions that come from manufacturers (Brick Marketing). Give consumers plenty of opportunities to provide and share valuable feedback via features like Comments and Ratings and Reviews. Letting customers tell their stories serves to build your brand story in a way that is sure to grow customer acquisition at a faster clip than flowery marketing speak. Fostering this level of transparency among your customer base will add a layer of authenticity to your brand story that is sure to boost consumer trust.
Personalize user experiences.
Leverage permission-based social data – which can be gathered by allowing users to login to your site or app using their existing social media accounts – to create more relevant and timely user experiences. For example, if an online journal knows a particular customer has children, it could surface articles related to parenting to the top of her news feed. Personalizing featured content and products helps create a more meaningful story with each individual customer. Not to mention, 40% of consumers buy more from retailers who personalize the shopping experience across channels (Monetate)!
Gamify cross-channel touch points.
Create interactive, gamified experiences that span devices and channels to encourage consumers to invest in your brand on a deeper level and play an active role in building your brand story. One brand that has done an exemplary job of inviting consumers to become a part of its brand story with cross-channel gamification is CAPCOM; its Devil May Cry app requires users to login socially to participate in real-world mobile challenges that earn them virtual video game rewards.
Gamification achievements also work to illustrate users’ individual connections with your brand, indirectly building your larger brand story. For example, a user displaying a level 5 commenting badge on his account profile shows that he is deeply invested in your brand, and should be considered a reliable source of feedback and referral by potential customers.
In the age of the connected consumer, every brand has a story, whether its the one it intends to tell or not. It’s the brands that create opportunities for customers to help build their brand stories in strategic and influential ways that will achieve real ROI and live happily ever after.
By Rachel Serpa