In a previous post, we discussed how important it is to create and tell your brand story. Your audience needs to know what your company believes in and why. Your company’s mission, vision, and values need to be clear. It’s how your audience decides if your beliefs align with theirs; if they do, they’ll support your company.But let’s focus on the second part: Telling your story.
You can have an interesting brand story but have it fall completely flat if your execution is poor. You must have a strong delivery.
Has someone ever tried to tell you a story joke, but they backtrack because they forgot a part, or they don’t use /quite/ the word they should have? The delivery is ineffective, the audience is left confused (and not amused), and the once humorous story is quickly forgotten.
The delivery is crucial, but so is accuracy.
Companies have multiple channels they use to connect with their audience. From Facebook to email to online chats, there are so many ways companies can disseminate their story. But they have to ensure it’s consistent.
Multiple Channels, “One Channel” Mind
Omnichannel marketing is a great (and in today’s world, non-negotiable) way to reach your customers. Whether they’re browsing your website, opening up your latest email, window shopping at your brick-and-mortar location, or scrolling through your Instagram feed, you need to be sure that the content you publish relates /one/ story. There should be no question that the information they are receiving, no matter what channel, is from your business.
A prime example of disciplined, successful omnichannel marketing comes from the brand LoveYourMelon (LYM). LYM began by selling beanies but has since expanded its product line to include baseball caps, headbands, mugs, blankets and throw pillows, scarves, long sleeve shirts, and more with fifty percent of all profits being donated to non-profit organizations.
The brand encourages sales by showcasing exactly how profits help support paediatric cancer, and this transparency, as well as the quality of products, can motivate customers to get excited to make a purchase. Most importantly, all of their channels work to promote a positive experience for all of its customers, no matter what stage of the funnel they are in.
Part of this effort is ensuring consistency across all channels. One core way to do so is by having similar “about” (your “story”) descriptions. This is how LYM describes itself on its various channels:
Website: Love Your Melon is an apparel brand dedicated to giving a hat to every child battling cancer and supporting the fight against pediatric cancer. (The LYM website offers a quick background story on its founding.)
Facebook: Love Your Melon is an apparel brand dedicated to giving a hat to every child battling cancer as well as supporting nonprofit organizations who lead the fight against pediatric cancer.
Instagram: Love Your Melon is an apparel brand dedicated to giving a hat to every child battling cancer and supporting the fight against pediatric cancer.
Twitter: Love Your Melon is an apparel brand dedicated to giving a hat to every child battling cancer in America and support the fight against paediatric cancer.
In many of its emails, you’ll see copies that include or end with “support the fight against paediatric cancer.” And every email contains the statement “BUY BEANIES, FIGHT CANCER.”
So, what are the two core story elements that are repeated across LYM’s channels? First, they want to give hats to children who have cancer and second, they want to donate to organizations that research paediatric cancer. If you look at any of their channels, they tell their story through posts like product shots and “superhero” profiles of children who are fighting cancer.
Another important effort in creating a positive customer experience is making sure the audience’s engagement is consistent across all channels. Companies, especially those with hundreds of thousands of customers and larger customer service teams, will have different individuals who are responsible for answering customers on different channels.
No matter what channel the customer uses to make their inquiry, their experience should be the same whether they filled out an email form or sent a direct message on Facebook. Here are some things to consider in order to ensure consistency:
Know your voice. By knowing your company’s story, you’ll be able to best identify your company’s voice—which is the personality and emotion conveyed based on language selection. Any individual working as a customer service representative who will be interacting with customers must be able to readily adopt this voice as if it were their own. That way no matter where customers go to ask questions, it will be unmistakably your company.
Create a response flowchart. Even if people know how their response should sound, they don’t always know how they should word it. Having a response flow chart is great for quick reference, especially for new employees. Include different things to address on your chart, something helpful like when to respond (such as “Do we respond with a thank you to every positive comment?” or “What is the best way to handle an Internet troll?”).
Have a brand guideline. A brand guideline is more than just a color palette and font family. Your brand guideline should also detail your story and break it down. What are the key messages that should be incorporated with every post? What are some synonyms we should use? What are the words we should never use when speaking about the brand?
Creating guides and providing tools that help your customer service representatives walk themselves through different situations is the best action you can take to help ensure overall consistency regarding your brand story.
Keys to Telling Your Story with Omnichannel Marketing
When it comes to telling your story on multiple channels, here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Your channels should complement, not contradict, your story elements.
Cross-channel marketing can strengthen your brand, but if done incorrectly can also derail it. That’s why you need to know your brand story inside and out, so you are able to reiterate it in multiple ways: You want to say it correctly, but you also need to exercise some creative freedom.
2. Your posts should not be identical.
Nothing is more boring than looking at a company’s channels—Facebook, website, Instagram, Snapchat, email—and seeing the same photo with the same marketing copy under it. There would be no impetus to viewing all of a brand’s channels because you would know that what is posted on one channel is posted, identically, everywhere else. Having similar content is fine, but you really want to have a unique content schedule for each channel that you manage.
3. Your story builds trust.
Why do you do what you do? It’s perhaps the most important question you should be able to answer when you’re running or starting a business. Sure, people buy your products, but it’s also becoming more and more important for your customers to know that your company’s beliefs align with theirs. Being transparent about your story helps build a trusting relationship with your customers. And that trusting relationship can be more important than a great content strategy or optimizing your website for the search engine.
4. Rely on marketing technology.
While you could attempt to manage your omnichannel marketing manually, you should look into putting together a team of tools that integrates and helps guide your customers through the buyer’s journey. These tools can manage tasks like helping to manage your content, your marketing (marketing automation), or making it easier to chat with your customers (such as a website chat tool), this can help you visualize your data.
Strategize for Your Omnichannel Marketing
Like all of your marketing, a strategy is essential for omnichannel marketing. You need to have a vision of how you want to convey your story on your channels. You need to know how to not only guide your customers through the buying journey but also how to create an exceptional experience for all of your customers. It should be a seamless experience: A customer sees a pair of shoes they love in a print magazine ad, they need to be able to go to the app and find them easily. Once they order, picking up in store should provide a similar experience.
For omnichannel marketing, you have to think about how all parts can work together. It’s a challenge, but the experience it provides to your customers means they will shop at your business again and again—and that’s great for your bottom line.
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