New York Times journalist Rob Walker hypothesized that value comes from the story behind a product, and not the product itself. If this is true, then communicating the value of your offering is not only wise but also necessary. In today’s cluttered marketplace where thousands of brands are competing for consumer dollars and consumers have so many choices, standing out in the marketplace is difficult. “When consumers have a hard time deciding, they rely on word of mouth, so the story people tell their friends is important,” said Ty Montague from Co: Collective and speaker at Future Flash 2011, a thought leadership conference organized by the Institute of Communication Agencies.
Stories are effective because they:
- Engage. Engaging stories catch the reader’s attention and provide the hook needed to tell the rest of the story.
- Appeal. Stories can appeal to the reader’s own emotions and feelings.
- Resonate. Stories that relate to a reader’s own experiences can leave them with a lasting impression.
- Inspire. Inspiring stories can motivate the reader to take action.
- Reveal. Stories that reveal an inner truth are more credible and help build trust with the audience.
Tell a great story and connect with your audience. This doesn’t mean spin a tale of wonder and fantasy that isn’t true, just to grab attention. This does mean; however, revealing your truth in a way that engages, appeals, resonates and inspires people to be motivated enough to take action.
Identify your core values. What is at the heart and soul of your product, service, or business? What do you stand for? What do you bring to the table? What are your company’s personality traits?
Uncover your inner truth by translating values into behaviours. When your core values translate into behaviours, your story can be told more authentically because you speak your truth.
One of my favourite examples of an engaging brand is Unilever’s Dove skin and beauty product brand. Here’s the story they tell…
We see beauty all around us. At Dove, we want to help free ourselves and the next generation from beauty stereotypes. It’s this message that’s at the heart of our Campaign for Real Beauty and Self-Esteem Fund, and it’s why we continue to create thought-provoking ads, confidence-building programs and messages that embrace all definitions of beauty. We’ve reached over 7 million lives through the Dove Self-Esteem Fund so far. Our goal is to reach 15 million by 2015. Wont’ you help us? Dove. Feel Beautiful.
Good stories go beyond stats and facts to appeal to feelings and emotions, allowing you to reach out and touch the reader on a much more personal level than facts ever can. The power of a good story can convince and motivate your audience to take action more so than by simply describing your product and telling them why they should buy it.
What’s your story? I’d love to hear it.
“Your challenge is twofold: to make your exterior appealing to your target audience, and to make sure your exterior is as much a genuine reflection of your interior as possible.”
Robin Roffer, International Brand Strategist