Our guest author writes about how brands can occupy a consumer's mind space through good old storytelling.
The consumer, and the way we engage with him, is constantly evolving. Today’s consumers are bombarded with information every moment, and his or her attention span has plummeted rapidly. In such a scenario, how do brands craft their marketing strategy?
This is where content marketing comes in to help brands communicate with their consumers. Content that builds a brand’s relevance and reverence. Content that brings to life a brand’s personality. Content that connects contextually with the consumer.
Anthropologists tell us that storytelling is central to human existence. Telling stories has a special place in our culture. We grew up listening to stories from our parents and grandparents. Hence, we are genetically conditioned to love and respond to stories. A brand story is what people need to feel connected to your product, have a long-lasting positive impression of who you are and what you stand for.
Just as the brain detects patterns in the visual form, be it a face or figure, stories are recognisable patterns too and, in those patterns, we find meaning. We use stories to make sense of our world and share that understanding with others.
We love stories because we imagine ourselves in them. A good story makes us empathise.
How do we do that? First, of course, is to put in place a good content strategy. It must entail a depth of engaging information. It must also build a powerful narrative to keep the consumers sufficiently interested over a period to finally induce fuel brand trails. It will need to weave together the facts and emotions that your brand evokes.
What touches the heart of a consumer, stays forever. Your mission matters too. The brand story will need to lay out the raison d'être of your brand.
According to an independent industry research, if people love a brand story, 55% are more likely to buy the product, 44% will share the story, and 15% will immediately purchase the product.
When crafting the messaging, think about what your audiences truly need from you. More than customers, we need to focus on building a community. The brand storyteller, in my view, will need to be a spinner of fibres that fascinate, while seamlessly weaving the brand values in the story for a community exhibiting a similar set of attributes.
And importantly, the way brand stories are being told will also need to vary with the medium. Every medium demands a different form. Whether it is curating content pieces in text or videos in the form of snackable content, or hosting long form. In today's age of digital dynamism, one will need to tell the story in an interactive fashion, so that the consumers feel they’ve participated in shaping the experience.
Use your story to start conversations, ask for engagement, involve your audience in what you do, as a business.
I also feel that when brands team up with trusted broadcasters and publishers to build compelling content, they inherit audience trust and leverage the credibility of media brands. A media brand brings in neutrality and adds gravitas to the content narrative and brand story.
Over the next couple of years, one will very clearly see content marketing transition past its early phase. We will see brands and media organisations collaborating and working even more closely to build consumer-centric custom content propositions. Brand storytelling will come of age and be the cornerstone of marketing. It will result in a win-win situation for the stakeholders.
(The author, Raktim Das, is the chief growth officer - broadcast & digital - TV9 Network)