It’s not easy for brands to get their message across in a world of highly fragmented media and dangerously short attention spans. The brands that are able to forge connections with their customers are the ones who are the most gifted storytellers. What makes a story good enough to captivate and motivate your audience?
THE BEST STORIES ARE DESIGNED TO GET THE AUDIENCE TO CARE. Stories that start with ‘’why’’ – that articulate the organization’s purpose and passion – are able to get more consumers tuning in to the brand and what it stands for. For instance, Intel’s ‘’Sponsors of Tomorrow’’, Apple’s ‘’Think Different’’, and Google’s ‘’Don’t Be Evil’’ taglines helped to articulate their corporate strategy, consequently getting people to care about and subscribe to their brand promise.
Nescafe Philippines decided to tap into the strong community spirit of the Filipinos, and articulate that ‘’why’’ around the passion point of music. This evolved into Nescafe Philippines’ ‘’Red Mug Sessions,’’ which served up warm stories and inspiring music over great coffee. Heartwarming videos from Red Mug Sessions chronicled the meaningful stories, experiences and live performances of Filipino musicians, which were shared on Nescafe Philippines’ social media platforms. These sessions emphasized Nescafe’s engagement with promising local talent, and gave the musicians an outlet to showcase their music. Commendably, the focus of Red Mug Sessions was never on the attributes of Nescafe’s coffee – it simply functioned as the beverage in the background that was facilitating meaningful experiences.
The ‘’Red Mug Sessions’’ generated over 74 million online impressions, chalked up 500,000 views on YouTube and engaged a Facebook community of over 1.8 million fans. Now that’s a powerful story.
THE BEST STORIES EMPOWER AND MOTIVATE AUDIENCES. But it’s not enough just to tell a good story. Today’s connected consumer embraces a two-way dialogue. Brands that actively listen to social networks and respond with real-time content have exploded in popularity recently. Oreo’s now-famous ‘’You Can Still Dunk in the Dark’’ Super Bowl tweet has received over 16,000 retweets and 6,000 favorites on Twitter so far.
THE BEST STORIES EMBODY PURPOSE AND RELEVANCE. But what is a good story without purpose? The best stories have a key message – a driving force that underpins the ‘’why’’ and builds the connection of why the audience should care. Purpose is about relevance. Relevance is about creating meaning out of the influx of experiences with the audience by listening to them.
Zappos is a brand that epitomizes that. The ‘’heartware’’ of Zappos was their customer service, thanks to stories shared by loyal Zappos customers. As CEO Tony Hsieh once said, ‘’We’re a service company that just happens to sell shoes.’’ The astute brand will co-create this brand purpose with the consumer, and know how it connects to a more relevant brand promise.
(Christel Quek is the global social manager at Havas Media Group. She’s interested in social business, the momentum of human behaviour across technology, and passionate about rethinking education.)