Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Using Brand Stories To Connect With Your Customers

How can you ensure that the brand story you tell is one your customers will respond positively to?
The answer…well, there are of course enormous differences from one organisation to the next. Nevertheless, there are a few key strategic guidelines to follow, which can help in all instances.


In fact, proceed in accordance with the following five steps and you may find it difficult to go wrong:

1.  Show your customers, don’t just tell them
First of all, it is not simply enough to tell your customers X, Y and Z about your business. After all, you could just be saying it for the sake of winning them over. Instead, you need to think of appropriate ways and means by which you can show them, rather than tell them. Or in other words, demonstrate what your brand represents, how you do what you say you do and what it is that makes you different. These days, evidence speaks louder than all the words in the world.

2.  Focus on long-term stories
It’s also a good idea to ensure that the brand story you tell is long-term or on-going in nature. The reason being that if it is only relevant and/or convincing for the time being, it may not have little value for your business. As with most marketing, the focus should be on the long-term benefits for your business, as opposed to quick-fixes. What’s more, you should tell the type of story that you can and will continue to tell and update along the way. Think of the kinds of evergreen qualities that sell and the kinds of stories your customers will want to keep up to date with.

3.  Be authentic
Or in other words, don’t think you can get away with faking it. Whatever type of story you decide to tell or persona you choose to assume, it needs to be authentic.  Which is for two reasons – first of which being that most consumers can spot fakes miles away. But even if they don’t, you cannot expect to keep up a voice, attitude and fa├žade that go against who you really are and what you really do. Sooner or later, the whole thing will come crashing down - hence it isn’t worth bothering with in the first place.

4. Grab their attention
You cannot expect your customers to delve too deeply into your story if there isn’t something to hook their attention early on. Attention spans these days are minimal at the best of times. Which means that no matter how deep and compelling your story is, you need to ensure you grab their attention as early on as possible. First get them hooked, then move on to the details.

5. Study their habits
Last but not least, the better you come to understand what makes your customers tick, the easier it will be to create compelling stories. Study their habits, get involved via social media and discover the kinds of subjects, voices and anything else that engages them. Not to mention, the kinds of things that generate discussion, or perhaps send them in entirely the wrong direction. This way, you will have nothing less than a blueprint for the creation of not only a great brand story, but the rest of the content you publish across the board.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

4 Ways to Avoid E-Commerce Annihilation


Nowadays, it’s often said that in order to be able to survive as a retailer, you need to get involved in the ecommerce revolution. But at the same time, it is hardly difficult to notice how the ecommerce field is already utterly and completely dominated by a few leading brands. Put simply, no matter what you want or need, chances are you’ll be able to easily pick it up from a leading name online.



All of which seems to leave little space for smaller online brands, considering the David and Goliath struggle they usually face. But as far as the professionals are concerned, not all hope is lost. Quite to the contrary, as there are some ways and means by which focusing on what matters can assist any online store avoid complete annihilation by the ecommerce giants.

1. Don’t Count on Low Prices Alone

It is worth bearing in mind that most consumers value other elements of the service package above low prices. Amazing customer service, extremely reliable delivery times or just a brand with a story and ethos they can connect with. Surviving as a small ecommerce business means focusing on what it is that makes your brand both different and awesome from rivals.

2. Be a Service Provider, Not Just a Vending Machine

What this basically means is the way some online stores seem to exist like glorified vending machines, while others are exceptionally rich in engaging and useful content. The difference is that the large majority of web consumers respond significantly better to the latter. Therefore, it is crucial to make all efforts to build and market your businessand brand around so much more than products alone. You have to become an all-round service provider and an online authority your clients turn to for more than purchases alone.

3. Get to Know Your Clients

Loyalty schemes are both effective and important, with eMarketer recently revealing that next to 55% of web consumers admit that their spending habits are influenced by such programs. Nonetheless, it is once again crucial to go beyond the norm in order to be as competitive as possible. Provide regular e-mail updates, carry out surveys, request thoughts, reviews and opinions, find out what their priorities are.

4. Stay Social

Last up, you need to use every scrap of information you come across regarding your customers in terms of the content you create and your effort to maintain relationships. One of the most crucial pieces of the puzzle is that of staying social – making the most use of your social media channels and building one comprehensive online presence. It is not like the CEO of Amazon has the inclination or the time to get directly involved with customers via Twitter or Facebook. As a much more personal and small business, it’s very much something that you can do and hence should be doing.