With the story to success
The quality is right, and so is the price. Nevertheless, the decision is made for another product. Customers no longer just buy the best or cheapest offer – but experiences and emotions. Brands that tell stories become the winners of the market.
Tell your story
Storytelling is not a trend, but an integral part of modern communication strategy. For a brand to be brought to life, it must create identity and give the company a face. How can this be done? Storytelling is about telling a story about the brand and the product. Instead of a simple presentation of the product, the aim is to visually illustrate and convey the company’s values and the guiding idea of the product. In this way, the corporate philosophy is conveyed and customers are emotionally addressed.
The “what for” is crucial
Simon Sinek justified his “Golden Circle” approach with the words: “People don’t buy what you do – they buy why you do it.” You can put yourself in the role of the consumer and review your previous purchasing decisions. You soon realize that often the feeling conveyed by the product was the decisive buying argument. If we have to make a decision between two products, we prefer the one we feel more emotionally drawn to. Products no longer stand alone. They are part of a brand world and the consumer must be able to identify with it. In a competitive environment, the “what for” of the company is a decisive USP. Translated into practice, this means focusing on its values and communicating them in a credible way. To do this successfully, the density and quality of the story must be right. Only if they are emotional and credible and trigger something in people will they unfold their effect. To do this, the story must be linked to an event that becomes the trigger for the purchase.
Telling stories with a product is one side, the transformation into the digital world is the other. The digital transformation has pushed classic advertising formats into the background and new channels into the foreground. The marketing mix can no longer be imagined without social networks like Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. The digital world offers numerous opportunities for content marketing in the form of storytelling: stories are only credible if they are told authentically. Social media channels are the ideal platform for this. Direct access to the community and the possibility to publish content in different formats creates a closer connection between target group and brand. By interacting with your followers, they can be made directly part of the story. The whole thing is strengthened by the integration of Influencer Marketing. Stories live from being told and spread. If you use the reach and the community of the influencers, you increase the attention. Furthermore, companies can make use of user generated content: For example, if you integrate the TikTok network into your communication strategy, you can ask your community to create videos with a certain motto or hashtag. In this way, the users deal specifically with the brand and its message and are automatically bound to it.
The development of a story across all channels promises great success. The consumer becomes a part of the story in the multimedia environment. He becomes an active part of the story and builds a closer relationship with the brand through contact points that appear again and again. How does this look like in practice? Schwarz+Matt has created characters for a manufacturer of recyclable hygiene papers. Instead of standardised designations, the products have been given real names, which can be found both on the website and on the packaging. At the same time the characters tell stories from their previous lives. Consumers learn that the paper roll “Frieda” was previously on a shelf as a perfume packaging. In the form of radio plays, which are played in the sanitary rooms, the user is thus immersed in another world and the subject of recycling and sustainability is made tangible for him. This experience remains in the memory. The products were emotionally charged. Once the consumer has become part of a story, his interest in the brand grows. In the social networks he can dive deeper into the world of the characters and experience the stories of the other “products”. This form of storytelling not only draws attention to the brand’s offering, but also expresses the company’s values. Storytelling is therefore also an effective way of conveying the company’s message to the outside world and thus positioning itself.
The recipe for success
So how do stories have to be formulated so that they reach the target group? In order to create brand awareness and not only win over customers but also retain them in the long term, the Golden Circle can be used as a template. It focuses on three elementary questions: Why do you do what you do? How do you implement it? And what exactly do you offer? Behind the why or for what, as explained above, are the motivations, values and visions of the company. The question of how should explain the approach, the processes and the implementation. Finally, the solution, i.e. the finished product, is presented. If you deliver these answers in the form of an authentic story, you will reach your target group emotionally.
Authenticity is a decisive factor in storytelling. Companies that talk big but have not anchored their values in the company are quickly exposed. Storytelling can only be successful if the “what for” is lived and runs through all processes in the company. This is where you should start out with a basic idea: What makes us as a brand so special? What are we really good at? Only when these questions have been answered can values be defined.