How to be More Authentic With Your Clients Stories
Anyone who runs a service-based company understands that the reason a client chooses your service rather than a competitor is because they believe you have something to offer that your competitors don't. They buy into your messaging, your mission, your vision or you as an individual, not because you are more equipped than your competitor, but because they believe in who you are and what you stand for. As Simon Sinek has said, "People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it."
As marketing professionals, we know this; we aim to spread stories about our clients that get buy-in and advocacy for their prospective buyer personas. But sometimes we miss the mark. Sometimes, we portray our own vision of their mission, their culture, or their messaging and tone of voice. And that doesn't work. Authenticity is key to build true brand loyalty for our clientele.
So how can we be more authentic with our client's stories?
Interview the founder, CEO or high-level executives. Why did they start their company? What belief do they hold about their products or services? What makes them tick? How are they hoping to change the world? This information may be displayed on their website, but without a formal conversation, you might miss something important.
These stories are the cornerstone of beautifully authentic marketing. These beliefs and ideas elicit emotion, build rapport, and show the world their "why." Learning how to craft not only the founding stories (as well as all the little stories in between) into marketing initiatives is vital; these are the types of stories that sell themselves. These are the stories that elicit responses and trigger actions for potential clients.
2. Consider Possibilities
Besides doing high-level interviews, there are a wide variety of ways to harness the stories of a brand. Do they have an employee of the week or month that you highlight on social channels to recruit talent or spread local awareness? Do they have any unique philosophies? Do they promote diversity or volunteer in the community? Within every company, there are stories to tell and stories that resonate. Get creative to determine how you can best promote the brand's purpose, mission and beliefs.
Whether via content, ads, graphic design, case studies, or any other form of marketing initiatives, real stories resonate. Stories paint a picture that gets people to feel, see and understand in ways they couldn't without a story. If you think of Coca Cola's advertising tactics, Coke is what you drink when you are making cookies for Santa. Coke is what you drink when you are playing tennis in the park with your friends. Coca-Cola is phenomenal at telling the story of bringing people together, uniting emotions, and having a good time. The key is to utilize the emotions you can evoke with your client's and their personas.
3. Dig Deeper
Every service, product, and individual has a unique story. And in business, all of these stories align. How does an individual product make its impact? How does an individual service or employee build the future? Look for stories in every type of campaign you run; the more you practice this, the easier it becomes. Look for stories from customers, employees or brand advocates. Look for stories coming from the C-Suite and for stories on social media. Have a negative review? Use that story to turn a negative story into a positive highlight. With every story you find, look for ways to take the emotion of the story and paint it in a way that resonates.
Did the CEO start the company to get out of poverty? Did an individual employee fight their way to the top? Is there a brand advocate that swears by your product or service? You get the picture. And those are just pieces to get you started. Stories are everywhere; the more you dig, the more you will find.
Storytelling is marketing at its finest. Stories build brands and are best when they are authentic. As an agency, you aren't limited to only what your clients have already put together. Cultivate stories by asking questions and digging deeper. Find and share unique stories for better campaigns, higher ROI for your services and happier clients.