Chances are, at the heart of it, you’re similar to your customer. That’s why you invented the solution to their problem – you needed it too! So thinking about your brand story and messaging that affects you, is a sure-fire way to find the best way to connect with them.
One example that we loved here at Make Us Care is Elvie’s Pumping Unplugged campaign. Why do we love it? Because it’s funny, it’s engaging, and it’s human. But most of all, it’s clearly showcasing the problem, the people it’s affected, and most importantly – the solution.
It’s a great example of what we like to call here, the Hero journey. Put simply, your product is the hero, and with the right brand story, your hero puts itself right in the path of those it needs to save. Your customers.
Yes, we know this sounds simple. But listening to your customer is way more complex than doing a few satisfaction surveys or questionnaires. It’s about really putting yourself in their shoes and understanding why – and how – they want to connect with your brand.
Simon Sinek coined the idea of starting with “why” when looking at branding. But we’re adding: Start with your customer’s why – not your company’s.
Question: Why do they need a product like yours? Why would they choose your brand over another?
Answer: Because yours is the one that makes them feel seen and heard. Yours connects.
For this to work, your brand messaging needs to get inside the heads and hearts of your customer. A useful exercise to help with this is to ask yourself some questions about how your customer might be feeling as they encounter the Villain of your story: the Problem (more on this later).
Ask yourself the following questions:
How can your product solve the issue they’re having and ease those feelings?
Answering these questions helps you understand those all important emotional drivers that make consumers head to a certain brand, and convert them into a loyal customer.
We’re not going to lie to you – there’s never been a more discerning customer than there is in the 2020s. It’s no longer enough for them to rate your product or appreciate the price point, they want to believe in your brand, too.
It’s not so much value for money, as sharing your values. Your customer wants to feel that they are buying from a brand they can identify with; where they belong.
So – how do you do that? By being real. Think less slick, more struggle. Your customer wants to know about our journey, and identify themselves within it.
Tell your story honestly, without brushing over the dodgy bits.
Example: Reflect on what led you to start your business. What was the problem you personally experienced that compelled you to start up? Make it personal, relatable, and vulnerable.
Food brands are often really good at doing this, sharing their backstory on their packaging in many cases. A great example of this is Innocent. The founders share their story of how they were just three graduates selling smoothies at a music festival. The Innocent website tells the tale of how they put up a big sign asking customers whether they should give up their day jobs to make smoothies. They used two big bins for customers to drop their Yes or No into. At the end of the festival, the Yes bin was full, and the rest is history.
It’s a really human story, it’s relatable, it’s open. It connects.
When brands are able to reveal their vulnerability, they tap into the sense that we’re all connected through our shared humanity. It becomes less “you” and “me” and becomes more “US”.
Over the course of 8 years, Havas analysed over 1,500 global brands across 15 industries and conducted more than 300,000 consumer interviews. The findings? The brands that consumers perceived to be the most meaningful outperformed the market by 206% over a ten-year period.
A meaningful brand is defined by its impact on our personal and collective wellbeing, along with its functional benefits.
The purpose of your brand content is to educate, inform, entertain, inspire, reward and help. But it’s also to listen. And, no matter what your business, thinking about content as community-building first, conversion-driven second will pay some serious returns further down the line.
“Empathy is the ingredient that will drive social change and blaze the way for people, generation after generation.”
In a world that shouts, be brave enough to listen.