Many companies aren't even mentioning what they offer at all today. With Covid-19 still making it's rounds there is a trend for businesses to communicate sentiments that their audience might be having - which is important, but, if it's the only message you're sending then it's a risky move when you’ve only got 15 seconds to captivate your reader.
Good news - you can can achieve both! If your brand’s storytelling is on point, then this is the best time to win the trust of viewers and increase brand loyalty.
To illustrate, take a look at this Keg Steakhouse commercial.
You’ll note there’s no mention of how juicy their steak is, and how much you must miss eating it. Instead, they walk you through the dining room from a customer’s point of view as if following a hostess to your table, and the soothing voice of the narrator speaks about how elated you’ll be when you’re back at a restaurant again laughing and eating with your loved ones. They’ve told a story their clients can picture themselves in, and in these times, that counts for way more than close-ups of a sizzling filet mignon.
Donald Miller, American author and business owner, explains “the most important challenge for business leaders is to define something simple and relevant their customers want and to become known for delivering on that promise”. In the examples above, they’ve done just that- and they didn’t overcomplicate the story with plot twists. The Keg focused on a singular problem their clients are facing: people desperately want a return to normalcy.
Discover Your Client’s Problem
You can plaster credentials, accolades, and 5-star Google reviews all over your marketing material, but if you don’t understand your client’s problem, they’ll never see your brand as the solution. To spare you calling your current clients to ask what problem you solve for them (which may not be a bad idea either), here’s some questions to ask yourself:
How was your client feeling about themselves before they used your product or service?
What is the root cause of your client’s problem?
What challenge is keeping them from getting what they want?
If you claim your business is client-focused but don’t have these answers; you haven’t gone deep enough. Miller encourages business owners to think about the “external, internal and philosophical problems” their clients face. Once you’ve got those answers, you can begin to craft your brand to position your product or service as a solution to those problems.
Position Yourself As The Guide
Miller emphasizes this, and it’s a subtle but crucial distinction: your company is not the hero of the story. Think back to your high school English class and recall the structure of a storyline. The protagonist always has a flaw, and through his struggles a mentor or helper appears to help he/she overcome their challenge and triumph as the hero. We must remember that as humans we are inherently selfish and always thinking about ways we can achieve our own desires. The moment you forget what role your brand plays in the story and start touting yourself as the star, you’ll lose your audience.
Show You Understand Their Struggle
This may seem obvious, but so many companies miss the mark here. Before you present your product or service as the answer, you need to display genuine empathy. People won’t commit to a purchase unless they feel it’s a trustworthy company, and trust is built on a foundation of empathy and competence.
At the core of all humankind is a desire to be ‘seen, heard, and valued’, says professor and author Brené Brown. When you demonstrate that you see your client’s vulnerabilities and accept them, it will foster trust and increase the connection your clients feel with your brand. The Keg commercial accomplishes this when the narrator mentions the innumerable video chats we’ve all grown tired of, telling the audience that they ‘get it’ and are with them through this frustrating time.
Consumers are inundated with over 3000 commercial messages a day, so you have to become an expert storyteller if you want eyes on your brand. Identifying your client’s challenges and then telling a compelling story about how your brand can be their understanding guide is a foolproof way to acquire loyal clients.