This article was originally published in The Advanced Guide to D2C Marketing in collaboration with Packhelp, Adroll, Gorgias, Patchworks, Skubana, Collabstr, Sixads, Okendo and Swanky.
As consumer habits and expectations continue to shift, brands must bet on their storytelling and adapt to connect with current and future customers. Crafting the right message is more important than ever because storytelling dovetails with the ways consumers interact with your brand across multiple touchpoints.
So what should be the focus for storytelling in 2021?
It’s about the problem, not the solution
Consumers are looking for solutions, not specific brands. A clear example is the typical customer journey beginning on Amazon: most buyers search by categories and benefits. As a matter of fact, 78% of Amazon searches don’t even include a brand name.
What does this mean in terms of storytelling? Instead of only crafting messages focused on your product and its benefits, find out why your customers buy a product over another one and what are their expectations. Learn what problem your brand is solving for them and how that impacts their lives.
For early-stage companies, it is a good idea to draft a persona based on initial research. However, the idea you have of your customers will change when they interact with your product and it is essential not to narrow down the focus of your communication too much. So look at the data you can get first-hand from your customers and adapt your storytelling accordingly.
Unlock the value of retention by staying front of mind
Customers who understand the value your product brings to them are the ones who will stick around. They are also your brand’s best advocates and should be rewarded with additional value. A traditional tactic to tell loyal customers you care about them is offering them discounts, but the goal is to not only sell them pro- ducts but also to increase the touchpoints and make sure they want to hear from your brand.
For instance, you can go one step beyond and make your customer part of your brand’s community by communicating about product recommendations: based on membership models, helpful content, exclusive product launches and events. Their stories are valuable for your brand, so if your customers create content, incorporate it into your storytelling.
When it comes to storytelling for existing customers, the more you understand them, the better you can serve them.
Products that have groundbreaking innovations or are produced with a specific technical solution have a clear USP. For many D2C brands this is not a possibility, but they can up their game by bringing innovation to their marketing strategies.
This may translate into: investing in creative automation tools, experimenting with your visuals, using shoppable social-media posts, or offering flexible payment options across channels.
Another approach is to give customers the freedom to personalise products, customise their packaging, or create their own bundles with a mix and match of products.
Pricing also tells a story
The price you set and how you communicate it to your future customers says a lot about your brand. It is the fastest and clearest way for consumers to understand where your brand stands in comparison to your competitors. In some cases, buyers will infer other attributes such as the quality of the product just from your price.
The best practice is to communicate clearly about your price and be even clearer about any discounts or promotions. Discounts may be many marketers’ “go-to strategy” to drive sales, but they can be a double-edged sword. Cutting down prices without any type of control can attract the wrong type of customers and do a disservice to your brand – not to mention kill your profits.