Not so very long ago, the ways a company could connect with prospective buyers were limited. Traditional media like TV, radio, and print ads were well-understood means of reaching your audience, and both brands and their potential clients knew what to expect. Then came the internet. And social media. Each new platform seems to have its own rules and its own language of communication, and brands are struggling to keep up with how to make their voices heard over the din. If you can’t connect with the people you’re trying to reach, you need to ask yourself: Are you really speaking the language of your buyers?
In business, growth is a sign that you’re doing something right. But when it comes to engaging with the people who might become customers, not all growth is good. Nowadays it’s easy to fake things—deceptively edited videos, undisclosed paid endorsements, staged celebrity feuds. As a result, audiences have increasingly come to crave authenticity. They want to have a real connection to a brand, rather than feeling like they’re being given a hard, impersonal sell from a company that just wants to make a profit.
The Importance of Organic Growth
Organic growth, the kind that comes about from putting your communication efforts behind creating genuine relationships with your customers, is what you have to strive for. Social media offers tempting shortcuts to create the illusion of engagement. You can even pay companies to give you followers for your accounts (usually bots or inactive accounts) to make it look like you have a big following. That isn’t fooling anyone. Worse, when it becomes evident that a brand is using those kinds of tricks, it destroys trust and makes it that much harder to win customers over. You can’t fake winning real people over to your brand.
Even influencers are yesterday’s news. When influencers first became popular, they seemed like the answer to a difficult problem—if an audience was skipping past or blocking traditional paid ads, how could you get your brand in front of them? Here was a chance to have someone promote your product or service to their already large social media following in a way that seemed natural and unprompted. Now audiences are on to that too. With influencers tied to paid advertising campaigns, their viewers question whether they truly believe in the products they’re promoting, especially when there’s a clear mismatch between the influencer’s passion and the brand.
Chasing the latest marketing gimmick is not the answer to the fundamental problem. To connect with consumers who share your values, you need a compelling story at the heart of your marketing.
The Power of Stories
What does someone want to know when they’re hearing about your product or service? Are they interested in its features, how it’s better than what the competition has to offer, or how much you’ve sold in the past? Not really, although those all might end up being elements of what you say. What they’re truly interested in knowing is how you’re going to help solve their problems, make their situation better, or assist in achieving their goals. They want to know that you understand what they’re going through, that you grasp their fears. None of that is particularly about the medium in which you express yourself—it has to do with the heart of the message you’re communicating about what your brand can do for them.
Stories are the natural way to connect with people on a deep, emotional level and build the community of loyal customers your brand needs. With a well-defined story that shows who you are and what you have to offer at the center of your messaging, your communication stays focused on what’s important to your audience. At Squash and Stretch Productions, we work with clients every day to find the unique, compelling story that expresses why they’re the best choice for their clients’ needs. If you need help crafting a story that resonates in the language your ideal audience speaks, we can help. To find out more about our story coaching services, contact us for your free initial consultation here.