Storytelling in the digital age: brand stories and customer engagement

23 Aug 2017

  • Content
  • Digital Marketing

By: Pip Bulbeck, Writer and Editor, ADMA

In this increasingly customer-driven era, storytelling has become an integral part of connecting with customers. ADMA had the pleasure of hosting Dan Murphy's head of marketing, Yolanda Uys at the 2016 Global Forum, where she talked about the power of storytelling in content marketing.

The success of brands in the digital age relates to their customer engagement and how well the consumer connects with the brand. And the best way of creating that engagement is with content or brand storytelling, according to Uys.

In fact, she says, brand storytelling and the role it plays in customer engagement are absolutely intertwined.

Listen to Yolanda Uys talk about content and storytelling in the digital age in the above podcast.

“Engagement is all about how customers connect with your brand, seeing elements of themselves or how your brand makes a difference in their lives. Brand storytelling brings the brand to life and creates a connection point to what the brand is, what the brand offers and what the customer is looking for,” Uys, who has worked across both retail and FMCG brands in her career, says.

Content and personalisation are essential to customer engagement, she contends. 

“Content is nothing more than the stories we choose to tell. And the stories we tell need to line up with who you are as a brand and what you stand for. Where you tell the story needs to be right for the brand but it also needs to be right for the part of the brand story you want to tell.

"It’s the right content, right channel, right customer"

“For me, content is very important but you need to know what the content is you want to push out and then you have to make sure you’re pushing the right content to the right channels. Personalisation means to the right customer. Personalisation will eclipse all the marketing we do today. We live in a world where customers don’t expect personalisation, it's demanded. When you can customise everything from a pair of shoes to the label on a bottle, personalisation is the norm.

“Unless we as brands know our consumers well enough and we are able to tailor content, and information and our product to suit their individual needs we will become irrelevant. So for me, it’s the right content, right channel, right customer,” she adds.

Uys likens customer engagement to a good relationship – and the longer, the better.

“It’s very easy to buy sales. We sometimes think [engagement] is a transaction between brand and customers but it’s about connection and creating lasting and memorable connections. That means we should treat it like a long term relationship. It’s not about the sales you get today but how many times the customer comes back and how vocal they are about you because in the modern era it’s about what everybody else says about us”.

“Really nurture your loyal followers as they will be the ones that come back,” she says.

While there’s a myriad of ways of measuring the success of your brand, ultimately it’s about sales.

“Are you the customer’s first choice? If you have great customer engagement you are never their second choice,” Uys notes. 

“The more engaged customers are with your brand and the more times they choose you the better you’re going to be. I can’t imagine a brand succeeding nowadays when customers aren’t engaged. Knowing who you are and what you stand for and being consistently true to who are you is the holy grail of success in the future”.



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