Over the course of the past year there have been dozens, if not hundreds of articles about the value of telling stories about your brand. There have been workshops, online seminars, a multitude of blog posts and a veritable mountain of content created on this subject.
In other words, story-telling has a huge amount of cache’ right now. Most of the time the take away is: OK, we need to tell better stories about our products and our company. But the truth is, that’s the wrong approach. In order to be effective, the story needs to be told from the perspective of your customer – because that’s what’s most interesting to other potential customers.
If your company makes say, Fender guitars, it’s pretty easy. You can tell wonderful, high profile stories about Jimi Hendrix or Eric Clapton, or the Stratocaster Bob Dylan first used at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. In general, it’s an easier task for consumer brands because the story is simpler, and there are all kinds of customers to choose from.
Where this approach gets tougher – and where you see many brands stumble – is in B2B. First, B2B brands often want to tell their own story first – how they came up with the idea, where it applies, and why it’s better than what competitors offer. But this is like running into someone at a party and right out of the gate, all you hear is stuff about this person you just met. It’s a turn off.
Just like at the party, you need to turn the focus around. When we tell this to our B2B clients, we sometimes hear ‘Well, we don’t have permission from our customers to use their company names.’ So maybe that means you tell a few stories without mentioning the client’s name, at least initially. It can be done. Meantime, start digging around for those who are truly enamored with what your business provides. They are likely to be much more open to being quoted, or even included in a video.
Another problem that often comes up with tech software brands is that the customer’s story is quite complex. It’s not easy to tell. This is where it really helps to get support from marketing pros. A good copywriter has been simplifying complicated stories his or her entire career – while also finding ways to make them entertaining and more importantly, memorable.
When it comes to getting your message out, that’s the best story of all.