Over the last many years in our careers as marketing and digital consultants, we have consistently asked brands the same basic question. How do you do digital? The answers have been –Some website. Some emails. Some ads. Some Tweets. Some posts. Some blogs. The more creative brands have also added some images and some videos. And then you see a disparate set of properties which are most likely out of sync with each other. And your audience is left fumbling with the personality, the story, the core theme your brand stands for. Which is such a colossal waste given digital offers you a multi-media, integrated platform to bring out your brand identity. your brand stories. To humanize them. Gives you an access to a direct audience who you can regale with your stories and pull into your story land. Yet we let our digital presence be a collection of company brochures, PR releases which keeps your audience as alienated as ever.
Here are the things you need to start doing to humanize your brand, tell a great story and pull your audience in:
Script the story – Does your brand have a story? An interesting, exciting one. Like Jack Daniel’s story built around the legend of the man. The rugged, son of the soil stories find ready resonance with the jd aficionados. Take a look at their website. They bring the stories alive with anecdotes, virtual tours and even a Friend of Jack club. Look at your brand. Are there stories that leap out that will resonate with your audience? Are there stories you can script? Build the story carefully because that is what will stay in your audience’s mind.
The Jack Daniel website brings the legend alive through multi-media storytelling
Craft the characters – Build the brand characters. The heroes. The villains. The characters. Like in a real story. A brand selling to young teenagers? Can you build a Cinderella like story? Make your customer the protagonist. Build the story around her.
Add the drama – Real live stories have drama. Action. Twists. Like the Cinderella story. Jack Daniels story. Flesh it out.
Humanize the voice – Sack your regular content writer. Hire a story teller. Create conversations. Draw the audience in.
Participate in their stories – Your audience is always telling stories. Of their romances and heart-breaks. Of their highs and lows. Of their hits and misses. Become a part of their story. Maggi is one of the brands that come to the mind when you talk about participative story-telling.
Surf Excel’s Facebook page encourages moms to share stories of their kids having fun. While getting messy.
Turn the spotlight on them – While consulting with a home décor company sometime back, the first thing I noticed were the absolutely impersonal campaigns. The campaigns focused on the brilliance of the products and not once on the customer. Nobody buys you because you are awesome. They buy you because it makes them look awesome. Give them that feeling. Make them feel awesome.
Make it consistent – Once you have your story and personalities figured out make them consistent. Across channels. Across multiple interaction points.
Listen – Remember when your grandma told you stories. She looked out for feedback and often tweaked the plot. Tap into social intelligence to gauge your audience’s attention. And be ready to make the occasional tweaks.