Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "Why Brand Narratives Matter More than Ever," examines the importance brand narratives play in the age of the pandemic. We also look at why those narratives play a critical role in the brand's effort to create and deliver thoughtful and emotional communications, thus ensuring that a real connection and meaningful engagement can occur. In today's climate, just about everyone, from consumers to brands, is searching for meaningful connections. For the most part, the most compelling brand narratives involve storytelling. It is a fact that people remember and engage with a brand or marketing message through storytelling. Brands that fail to engage in storytelling communications reduce their communications to sales promotions disguised as a story. Consumers and customers can distinguish between the two, storytelling vs. sales promotion, wherever and however they appear.
Quote of the Day: "As consumers' interest in 'noise' decreases and their need for individualized, meaningful experiences increases, brands will need to continue to expand on the creation of personalized interactions, data-driven storytelling, and an omni-channel approach to build strong, positive relationships with their customers. Amidst all the data, however, brands must be mindful of one key message: Your customers are human beings. Be sure to treat them that way." – Susan Baroncini-Moe
2021 will focus more on the customer experience than 2020, and by doing so, will include safety, trust, and inclusion. Now that more information has become available regarding how to safely navigate a contagion in public areas, such as restaurants, airports, and stores, trusted brands should rise in importance and increase engagements for in-person experiences. For example, as of October 2020, only 13% of consumers indicated they trust retailers.
The Brand Narrative Examined
Cool Audrey™ founder, Baker-Bagwell, intimates that "Your narrative is the anchor that defines your company. It's the story of who you serve, what you do and why it matters. It's the magnetic thing that attracts people initially and the reason that they they will come to know you for and rely on."
A successful brand narrative story requires that the brand commit to storytelling. However, in doing so, it must also have the capability to reduce competition, uncertainty, and noise, such as the unprecedented unrest permeating throughout the country.
Baker-Bagwell goes on to state, "People are frightened, distracted and suffering from information overload. There are a lot of what I call 'pop-up posers' who are taking advantage and capitalizing on the host of challenges we are all facing. They are disingenuous and that's creating skepticism. Unless you are a super established company with a good track record, those things can make it really tough to reach the people and build the trust that leads to positive outcomes in business. So, I do think people have to work mindfully. They have to get super intentional and make sure that they are meeting people for the right reasons in the right ways."
Therefore, because brands are facing a landscape that is being defined by political, health, and cultural unrest, that landscape also presents new opportunities for brands that can master narratives that address those areas while demonstrating thoughtfulness as it relates to the consumers' situations and environment.
It is also critical to understand that some folks are looking for a safe place to land and conduct business, while others desire to change and may have an incentive to demand or force change if necessary.
Hitting the Right Tone
When a brand can acknowledge the conditions that consumers may have to navigate and make the decision when connecting with people that above all else, the brand will impart a sense of comfort and safety, those attributes will go a long way toward convincing consumers that the brand is authentic and trustworthy. Once a brand has garnered trust, it is much easier to create brand awareness, loyalty, and the idea that it can establish brand allegiance. Brands that can connect to the soul, thus making people feel secure and that the brand is genuine and trustworthy, will be the winners over time.
Many adjustments for customer service and purchasing options have led to such solutions as curbside pickup as a safety measure. However, some technologies require physical interaction and POS systems that include signature pads and buttons. That said, technology is in the throes of a transition toward interfaces that depict voice, gesture, and proximity versus touch. This technology, for the moment, is being identified as "Zero UI."
Zero UI will apply to in-person purchases and beyond and apply to publicly shared UI controls that access ATM screens, in-store feedback buttons, checkout PIN pads, elevator buttons, smart boards, and more. It's important to understand that any new technologies a brand may institute, especially public-facing UI systems, should include those technology updates essential for the brand narrative. Consumers are also very keen on brands that take steps to better their technologies to benefit all consumers.
Brand narratives are the key to uncovering new opportunities as well as shoring up the current customer base. People continue to search for safe landing spaces and places for their lives. Brands that provide a safe, honest environment will have the opportunity to grow their brand. Further, consumers also want to invest in brands that have their interests and needs in mind. The brand narrative has so many upsides, especially when storytelling is the focal point of the brand narrative. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read "Why Brand Narratives Matter More than Ever."
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