January: the month of resolutions … made and broken. Trust us, we’re very familiar with New Year’s intentions like hitting the gym three times a week, keeping in better touch with friends and family, and packing a lunch every day rather than eating out. You are too, no doubt. But what about when it comes to your business? Have you pledged to make changes to further your company’s goals this year? At ECHO, we have one strong recommendation for 2017: make storytelling one of your major marketing strategies. It will give you a serious competitive advantage; plus, unlike going to the gym it’s manageable, achievable, and actually enjoyable.
Making storytelling one of your marketing strategies will give you a serious competitive advantage. Plus, unlike going to the gym it’s manageable, achievable, and actually enjoyable.
Start from Within
Personal resolutions are fulfilled only through motivation and will, and business resolutions need to start from within as well. When it comes to a storytelling commitment, start with the big questions. How did you get here? What set you on the path you’re now successfully walking? And what changes and challenges along the way have contributed to your understanding of what you do and how to do it well?
As your narrative forms (psst, we’d be happy to help you with this), solicit input from staff. What insights can they share? Where do they fit into the story and how can their contribution enhance it? Your employees can bring fresh perspectives to a story you thought you knew inside out. Bringing them aboard gets them excited about the core values and messages your company hopes to convey, and who better to have as ambassadors?
Once the purpose of the story is established, and its chapters understood, weave it tightly into your company’s culture. It should become your business’s driving force — the engine that propels all you do, from acquiring customers to closing sales.
Disseminate Often and Widely
Okay, you’ve bot a handle on your company’s story. Now how are you going to spread the message to drive your business? Your content strategy may include a monthly or quarterly newsletter, a weekly blog, Instagram posts, or any number of other social media — maybe your story even warrants its own book?
Whatever tools and channels you choose, find ways to highlight the story so that your customers and followers absorb it as part of your core value system. If they share those values, chances are your story will resonate. Think of it as a promise, the first step to building trust with your audience; like that favourite book you return to again and again, your customers will stick with you if your message moves them.
Like that favourite book you return to again and again, your customers will stick with you if your message moves them.
Keep Your Audience and Goals In Mind
At the heart of this strategy are two key factors: how your story relates to your audience and what your ultimate business goals are. Your narrative is personal and important to you, of course, and this lends it authenticity. But it also needs to resonate with existing and potential customers. And this is what will give your business the edge you need in this competitive climate where customers choose brands based on how a company not only serves their needs, but also just gets them.
And whether your main goal is increased sales, brand recognition, acquisitions, or some other articulated aim, it should never be far from your mind as you tell your story. Because achieving those goals is your happily ever after.