It’s the end of the year and I’m looking back at both the marketing trends and the tried and true tactics that I have seen work for businesses. As a member of the Forbes Agency Council, I have been answering top marketing questions all year, and I’m happy to bundle and share these tips as we look forward to 2022. ECHO is a storytelling agency, which means we approach marketing problems knowing that a good story is often the best way to create a connection with audiences, no matter the channel. Below you’ll find examples of how storytelling can help you bring authenticity, emotion, and lasting relationships to your marketing efforts in the new year.
Understand Your Customers. The right voice and tone for your brand are only “right” if they resonate with your customers. Before you launch, think deeply about your ideal customer. Give them a name, a home address, a job, a bucket list, a favorite author, a hobby and a demeanor. Then, take the guesswork out of your brand messaging by testing it on real-life people who fit the bill.
Tell a Story. Take your lead from viral TikTok creators and use the power of a story. By using text on top of a video, you won’t come across as overly polished but you will catch your audience’s eye, even with the sound off. Start with a short bit of text that establishes a problem plaguing your ideal customer, ideally a fear or concern. Then drop in more text to help solve their problem step by step.
Own Your Mistakes. Successful brand storytellers tell the truth to their audiences. If you think you’ve made brand decisions that alienated your customers, create content that acknowledges that in an upfront way. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is a great example of a leader who owned his mistakes (he even wrote a bestselling book about them!) and, as a result, won a lot of customers back from his competitors.
Don’t Waste Time. Get right into the meat of your message, and use bold language and images to capture attention quickly in videos. When you compete for attention on YouTube, you have to make your content stand out in the first three seconds. Try something unexpected. Our brains filter signals that seem “normal,” so when an unexpected thing happens, the brain pays extra attention to it.
Don’t Hide Your Why. Our largest project ever was a brand story for a multinational company based in Mexico City. Why did their vice president fly all the way to Vancouver to meet with our small agency? Because we bonded over a story I shared with her about my grandmother’s dementia and why it inspired me to start my storytelling agency. Since then, I share my “why” story with every potential client.
Let’s Do Lunch. The better we get to know someone, the better we can assess the right story solution to solve their business problem. And nothing beats breaking bread with a potential client for fast-tracking that “get to know you” stage. I have shared lots of virtual glasses of wine with clients over these past 18 months, but I’m looking forward to doing old-school lunches again, as soon as it’s safe.
Heed Your Analytics. Dig into roadblocks. We encourage clients to dive into the data and find out where customers or users are getting stuck in their marketing funnel. If people are finding your website, browsing a few pages and then not taking any action, at least you know where you need to focus your energy. Combine data with audience feedback to unlock these sticking points.
Take Your Product on Tour. There’s a reason lifestyle images have been a part of magazines for so long. Take advantage of the video production capabilities that live on your phone and take your product on a tour of beautiful places near you. Pairing great photography with relevant hashtags and messaging on Instagram makes it easy for people to imagine themselves as the delighted new owners of whatever you’re selling.
Reserve Some Stories for Ads and Product Links. Focus most of your stories’ content on sharing the authentic, behind-the-scenes side of your brand, but reserve some content for ads and product links. More than 500 million people use Instagram stories every day, and 58% say they are more interested in a brand after seeing it in Stories. Even better, half say they’ve visited a website to buy a product or service after seeing it in Stories.
Notice the Little Things. Meal-kit service FreshPrep gets alerted when a customer’s order is significantly different from the previous week’s, then sends an email confirming that it’s what the customer actually wants. Also, the company follows up with customers to get feedback on how to improve meals in their preference zone, such as gluten-free or vegan options. It all builds tremendous loyalty in a space dominated by bigger competitors.
Do you have a marketing challenge that you are ready to overcome in 2022? Our team of storytelling experts are waiting to give you the answers you are looking for. Give us a call at 1-877-777-ECHO (3246) or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.