WHAT’S YOUR STORY?

In today’s 24/7, 365 worlds of instant and constant information, we are all being barraged with things to read, watch, listen to, and share. The amount of content that is being served up on a daily basis is overwhelming and many brands are getting lost in the noise.

The most successful brands understand the importance of telling their audience a story – something that engages, inspires, and motivates them to do something, buy something, make a choice, and become a loyal fan.

Stories have been part of humanity since the beginning of time. From the caveman days with stick men on walls to the use of hieroglyphs by the Egyptians, humans have been telling each other stories because it’s in our nature to tell them and listen to them, as well.

In today’s noisy, techy, automated world, storytelling is not only still relevant, but it’s also imperative. In the digital age, we are more connected than before, yet many of us feel disconnected. Without stories we can connect with, a big part of the beauty in being a human gets lost.

As natural storytellers, we may forget names and faces, or what we learned in a class. But a good story? We don’t forget it. Our life is filled with stories that connect us back to good, and bad, times in our lives. These stories create feelings, emotions, and memories that connect us to certain key points in our lives. Many of these stories connect to companies and/or brands. We remember our first Apple or Dell computer, the first time we ate at Chick-fil-A or McDonald’s, and the first Toyota or Mercedes we drove. All of those brands tell stories that connect with our emotions, aspirations, and desires for our lives.

Yet, somewhere along the digital highway, we have lost the art of storytelling. Many companies think that they simply have to have a website, a CRM platform, lots of content online, and a strong social media presence. But, without a compelling story weaving through all of these channels, the brand appears shallow, disconnected, and not authentic. The art of developing and maintaining a consistent story is a commitment that requires a brand’s attention every day of the year.

If you doubt the importance of a story, think of how differently you feel about purchasing an Apple Computer vs a Dell or an HP. Or, think of the loyalty people have to Coke vs Pepsi, Nike vs Reebok, Lexus vs BMW. The emotional connections that these brands have created through their consistent storytelling are what separates them from their competitors. They’ve created compelling, aspirational, and emotional stories that align with their customers’ worldviews, philosophies, and opinions. They know the importance of their story, how it’s told, and who is going to align themselves with their brand.

As you’re developing your marketing plan, don’t forget that your story is the most important element. But, remember, it doesn’t start and end with marketing. The story must be woven through the entire brand experience. From the initial interaction – online or in person – throughout the entire buying lifecycle, and beyond. The story is the game changer. It’s the reason that your customers will be inspired to purchase from you, tell others about you, and become raving fans. So, what’s your story?  And how are you telling it?

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