Seventy-five years ago, companies and business owners didn’t have to worry about telling their story.
They let their work speak for itself.
Bakeries, shoe stores, clothing shops, restaurants. The formula was the same for everyone:
“If the product was great and they treated their customers well, everyone in town knew about them and did business with them.”
It was the original word-of-mouth campaign. Happy customers told their friends, and businesses were rewarded with loyal patrons who bought over and over again.
Soon after, organizations realized they could expand their reach (find more customers) by advertising – spreading stories about their products and services to attract a larger audience.
They paid advertising agencies, TV stations, print publications, and media outlets to push their message to their audience to generate greater interest, more leads, and higher sales. These efforts were well-organized, well-curated representations of their businesses.
Then, the Internet hit.
Local organizations were no longer competing against shop owners down the street. They were competing with companies across the state – and in many cases the world.
In the beginning, it was enough to have a website. Visitors from all over could find your product or service and order from the convenience of their homes. But as more companies moved online and more websites were created, a single story emerged: “We have the lowest prices.” It was a race to the bottom, driving margins lower than ever before.
Today, the game is changing – again.
It’s not just enough to throw up a website and hope customers show up. Consumers are getting smarter. Price is no longer the only determining factor for a purchase. They expect more out of the products they buy and the companies who produce them.
People now do business with
people brands they like and trust.
As a result, organizations are forced to “be themselves,” to do the work, to find a way to be authentic from within – something they have paid others to do for decades. Luckily, (good) social media creates that transparency consumers crave today, which is why it is becoming an integral part of the storytelling process.
The ability to give consumers an inside look at their favorite brands as well as the opportunity to interact with them and receive responses in real-time is priceless.
By creating a direct line of communication with customers, social media can create something that is nearly impossible to replicate – a relationship.
For this reason, companies can’t buy volume in social media to play catch up to their competitors. Once brand loyalty has been established and develops through on-going interactions, it becomes increasingly difficult for competitors to swoop in and steal customers (back). And over time, it is this bond that consumers will want to tell their friends, family, and business contacts about.
What stories are you telling about your brand online?
And what are you doing to ensure those stories are engaging, interesting, authentic and emotional enough for your customers to share them?