To be a winning brand in this age of New Media, you have to understand how to engage with your audience by unforgettable storytelling with your product or service as the solution they’ve been searching for.
By Muyiwa Babarinde
Storytelling has been used as a form of cultural sustenance for centuries. Through stories, societies have been able to evolve, hold onto and learn from critical sources in their past. T
hey have been the conduit that linked the past and the future, and as time changed, the form of storytelling has also changed.
With the advent of social media and the proliferation of mobile phones, the world has become a global village, the borders have been brought down, and gatekeepers marginalized. There has been the democratization of the media.
This democratization has provided an opportunity for businesses from any part of the world, to create a brand, compete in a global marketplace, and achieve business goals.
However, to win in this age of New Media, you have to understand how to engage with your audience.
You have to know what makes them tick, their fears and aspirations and have your business provide a solution to them through your product or service
Whether you are a fast-growing technology startup, a food chain, a fashion brand, or a retail company, in order to win in the marketplace, you have to understand how to do storytelling the right way.
Here are some strategies you can leverage to achieve total recall in the marketplace:
Create A Winning Identity
The corporate identity of your business has to be clearly established. This is to ensure that your organization has a consistent representation across all the channels through which the audience will be engaging with it.
This isn’t limited to just your branding, color palette, typeface, page layout, fonts, etc. It also includes your product design, your brand personality, values and all elements that influence the way your business is perceived.
In essence, your identity determines your brand promise, and when clearly defined, helps you achieve consonance. There will be an alignment of all touchpoints and you are able to communicate a unified message to consumers, every time they have an interaction with your brand.
Understand Your Audience Dynamics
To achieve total recall in today’s market through storytelling, you have to understand your target audience, their aspirations, pain points, and desires.
Consumers in 2019 are more fickle than ever before, and due to the on-demand economy and avalanche of choices that exist in today’s market, it is important for your business to build a strong connection with your customers or clients
However, you cannot build this connection through marketing & sales activities, if you don’t know what makes them tick.
As business custodians, ensure you devote considerable time to understanding the psychography of your customers, and leverage on these insights to connect with them via your messaging.
There is a reason why a lot of people can connect to certain stories about Nigerian parents, it is because no matter where you grew up in Nigeria, there are some experiences you must have had growing up in an average Nigerian household.
It is important you find the commonality that your audience can relate to and use in your storytelling. A lot of times it can be in the form of their pain point, with your product or service being positioned as the solution.
It is also important to engage with unhappy customers, in order to identify flaws in your operational processes that can be improved. Bill Gates once said ‘’Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”. They can provide you with valuable insight into what not to do to make your customers unhappy.
Leverage on the Content Matrix
There are 4 major types of content that Nigerians engage with: Inspirational, Aspirational, Humorous and Truth.
Nigerians love inspirational content. Grass to grace stories, stories of individuals who against all odds created new realities is always well received by the public.
Nigerians are by nature adaptable and aspirational, and with 50% of the 190 population under 20 years, and just 23% in the middle-class segment, aspiration for a better life is part of the society’s fabric.
Nigerians love also humorous content, and with Sustainable Development Solutions Network ranking the country as the 2nd happiest in Africa and 85% in the world, we can clearly see affinity Nigerians have for comedy.
Platforms and individuals like Mark Angel Comedy, KraKsTV and Lasisi Elenu have gained national prominence over the past few years due to the rise and rise of comedy. In Nollywood, Nigeria’s movie industry, a large percentage of the highest grossing movies of all time have been comedy flicks except for outliers like King of Boys.
Truth is that which is accepted to be true. Nigeria is an extremely cultural nation, however, over the past few years, there have been shifts and honest conversations around issues including but not limited to: equality, work-life balance, religion, sex, marriage, family amongst others. Your brand can be the force for change in any of these issues.
The bulk of conversations across all channels is rooted in these content segments and is representative of the societal and cultural realities of Nigerians. Video content is also consumed more than any other form of content.
As business custodians, it is important you understand the underlying concepts behind the way people consume content, so you can tell your brand story in a way that resonates.
Build a Community (An army of believers)
The attention lifespan of the average consumer, especially millennials is at its lowest, and it is important that you are always present and consistent.
Consistency isn’t enough though, as you can be going the wrong way fast. Ensure your story mirrors your audience.
Don’t just tell stories because you want to sell, aim to turn your customers into evangelists, create a community around your service, and you can only do this when you truly care about your consumers.
To effectively build a thriving community around your product, your brand promise must have been maintained at all the points of interactions, so consumers can trust you and most importantly, become your evangelists.
You can’t make a promise and not meet that standard. This will only hurt your brand in the short and long term.
Bringing It All Together
Like Peter Dinklage who you might know as Tyrion Lannister recently said in the closing scenes of one of the most popular TV shows and compelling stories of all time, Game of Thrones, “Stories…There is nothing more powerful than a good story, nothing can stop it, no enemy can defeat it’’.
Every story you tell makes an impression in the mind of consumers and it is your responsibility to ensure you are constantly depositing positive experiences in the emotional bank account customers have of your brand, so you can win in the marketplace.
It is 2019, you have a blank canvas. Every day, you have the opportunity to create the future, for you and your business with stories, one line at a time.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in The Spark Magazine. Find the magazine here to read other articles.