We’ve seen it all before. Brands have thrown everything at their marketing initiatives in the hopes that something sticks with a specific group because it’s the new hip idea. (Can we stop the inauthentic influencer marketing already?)
While we’ve spent many years focusing on the next cool thing, we’ve completely moved away from the whole idea of brand marketing itself – to be rooted in purpose and story to build authentic connections with consumers.
Authentic storytelling with consumers is a necessity – it needs to be rooted in everything that a brand does. There is a clear trend in effective storytelling and increasing a brand’s profit and resonance.
A recent research study by Sprout Social, “Creating Connection: What Consumer Want From Brands in a Divided Society,” found that consumers want brands to take a stand and be rooted in their beliefs to drive connection: “to bring people together around social and political issues, more than two thirds (67%) of consumers believe brands should raise awareness around those issues on their social platforms.”
Implications of not listening to your audience
The reality of it all is that you can’t effectively tell a story without listening to your audience. Where brands fail is they don’t understand the nuances, fringe, or overarching themes of their community.
It is important to understand the consensus just as much as the fringe. To effectively tell a story, brands must:
- Know every aspect of their audience globally and what topics the audience are associated with.
- Lean into or accept the implications of these viewpoints
- Thoroughly vet creative and brand ideas against the research done within the community.
Gone are the days where brands can simply post online and think it’s fine. There are too many implications by not rooting your brand in story, purpose, and keeping with the message.
There are several brands who have accepted the art of storytelling and have continued to stand behind their beliefs:
Nike’s Dream Crazy: https://youtu.be/Fq2CvmgoO7I
Always #LikeAGirl: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjJQBjWYDTs
When in doubt, stick to your roots:
Contrary to popular belief, the attention span of consumers hasn’t dwindled, but – surprisingly – long-form video consumption is on the rise. Consumers would rather connect with a brand with purpose, a story, and long-term positioning. People buy into the story of a brand before they buy into the brand itself. How are you telling yours?