05 Nov From Pixels to People-First Marketing via the Power of Storytelling
As the coronavirus spread across the globe earlier this year, nearly the whole world turned digital in an instant. Client meetings, classrooms, interoffice brainstorming sessions, even doctor’s appointments and coffee dates moved from face-to-face interactions to rectangles on computer screens and smartphones.
Digital fatigue, which Forbes defines as “burnout and exhaustion brought on by excessive time spent in front of screens,” offers a real challenge for companies to overcome in their marketing strategies.
For the foreseeable future, businesses are having to adjust to less in-person interactions, so it’s more important than ever to cut through the noise to connect with your customers. What’s one effective way to promote your brand? Tell a great story!
“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell,” said best-selling author and marketing guru Seth Godin.
With the ease and accessibility of technology, storytelling via video isn’t the production – or cost burden – that it used to be. Plus, social media channels and email marketing allow for quick distribution of your message for free or almost free. Now’s the perfect time to explore your inner Steven Spielberg (or insert your favorite YouTube sensation here) and explore the power of storytelling when reaching your customer.
Customers aren’t expecting a fully polished multi-million-dollar Super Bowl ad, just an invitation to connect with you because you “get” them. Authenticity and personality are key as you put people first. When you add vulnerability and humor, your clients will feel like they are doing business with a trusted friend.
Play to Your Quirks
In general, people like to be invited into an inside joke or the inner workings of your company. Rather than offering two-dimensional logo images with a static expert quote, welcome them in to get comfortable, as you show the quirky side of your business and your people.
Do you have an employee with an ever-growing Star Wars collection? What’s the backstory of why your CEO started the company? Could you do a video series on surprising facts or superstitions of your employees? Can you offer a time-lapse video of a day-in-the-life of one of your employees at the office including their creative process, coffee breaks and more?
Your company’s unique traits can open the door to customers’ curiosity and trust.
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Find Your Mascot
Do you have a mascot or unique, recognizable spokesperson? If so, play it up!
Flo, the fictional blue-headband-wearing Progressive Car Insurance salesperson, has been around since 2008 – that’s some incredible sticking power! Synonymous with the brand, she’s been in more than 100 ads and has even become a favored Halloween costume.
Breakfast cereals and fast-food restaurants have long relied on fictional characters for brand identity. But other uses of non-animated mascots offer effective and personal storytelling connections, as well. For example Duke, the talking dog in Bush’s Baked Beans advertising campaigns, jokingly threatens to sell the family’s secret recipe. Who doesn’t love a talking dog?
Whether your founder has a signature “uniform” (think Steve Jobs’ black turtleneck) or your office cat provides fun fodder, think of creative ways to connect them to your brand.
Flo with Progressive Insurance
The best way to generate leads is by word-of-mouth client referrals via customer-led storytelling. Reach out to your clients for testimonials; see if they are willing to go on camera or provide an audio clip. With video capability in the palm of our hands, people are getting more comfortable in front of the camera.
Was your product used in an unusual, but effective way? Generate a hashtag for Instagram and invite your customers to share use of your product “in the wild.” On your Facebook page, showcase one of your real estate client’s unique uses of space in their new home or share a heartwarming scene during the holidays. Take advantage of user-generated content to highlight your brand and trust with customers – but don’t forget to get permission and give credit where credit is due.
Two important tips to consider:
- It’s wise to make your video marketing short (such as 3-to-5-minute videos). With more online content, people are less inclined to watch longer clips and you only have a few seconds to get their attention.
- Don’t forget to cross post content on your social media channels, website and via email marketing. You won’t overburden customers because, chances are, they haven’t seen it on every platform.
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If you aren’t convinced that storytelling via video is a worthwhile tool for your business, consider these facts:
- Viewers retain 95% of a message if they watch it on video, versus 10% when read.
- 81% of businesses are using video marketing, up from 63% last year.
- After Google, YouTube is the second-most popular website.
- People are 1.5 times more likely to watch video on their phones versus a computer
In a time when people are deeply craving human connection, your company can offer a needed laugh, a trusted friend and a shared experience. Our brains are wired to embrace storytelling – and in this social-distancing-digital age, the power of storytelling is well worth the investment.
Need help getting employees or customers over their camera shyness? Check out How to be Comfortable on Video: 16 Fool-Proof Tips.