Sparking Thought Conversations Online
Storytelling is the marketing buzzword of the year. Brandon Sanderson said, “The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.” This is one of my favorite quotes because many marketers overlook this crucial piece of telling brand stories. We can spend hours on press releases and creative briefs defining our brands, but at the end of the day, it is the consumer that truly defines the brand. Our consumers’ experiences and connections with our brands are what make a company.
Part of being a great storyteller today is sparking thought conversations online. Good stories make you think and more importantly make you feel. An emotional bond to a brand is hard to explain and even harder to break. What discussions have you started with your consumers recently? How are you getting people to think about your brand? In his new book, True Story: How to Combine Story and Action to Transform Your Business, Ty Montague says, the best companies advance their narrative through action.” Montague calls these companies “storydoing.” Are you simply telling consumers who you believe you are or are you demonstrating actions that will make them believe that is truly the essence of your business?
Showcase your brand story in action through pictures across your social media platforms. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words. We are always more likely to believe what we see rather than what we hear. Show your audience that you are “fearless” and “fun” and all the other words that are shouted during creative sessions. We are excellent at finding descriptives for a brand, but still struggling to manifest those words.
To spark thought conversations online provide engaging content. Great content alone should get your following thinking, but also ask questions that require real responses. Too often, I see brands asking simple yes or no questions. “Who is excited for Halloween?” says a candy company. Those questions will not get your customers thinking about your brand and Halloween. “Do you eat candy corn year round or are you just a Halloween eater? Either way stock up with X candy” is a conversation spark. The customer is thinking, “Why don’t people eat candy corn year-round?” Combining interesting facts with personal questions will get people thinking and sharing. Share authentic photos of your customers using the candy in unique ways. Why do we only use candy to build houses during Christmas why not Halloween too? Brainstorming yet…good.
In his book, Montague says, “Storydoing companies create fierce loyalty and evangelism in their customers. Their stories are told primarily via word of mouth, and are amplified by social media tools.” The best way to spark a thought conversation about your brand is to do then show online. To be a great brand storyteller, start living your story and sharing it so others can live it as well.