When it comes to digital marketing, one thing that has made itself abundantly clear over the past year is that consumers want to believe in the brands that they buy. This is important to note, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to start supporting every philanthropy under the sun and broadcast it across your social media channels (although supporting a cause you believe in is a very good thing). Rather, it’s about telling your unique story authentically to attract the customers that you want to serve.
We often hear integration firms or brands say things like, “We need to post more on social media,” or “Our website needs to be redone,” but upon closer examination, the greater challenge is that they really don’t know what it is that they want to communicate. (Do you?)
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Take Sonos, for example. We recently worked on an article with the brand for HTA, and were really digging the story they were telling in their “Music Makes It Home” initiative, not to mention all the research they poured into the concept, which states, in a nutshell, that people enjoy their homes and families more when music is playing. According to 30,000 people surveyed from eight different countries as part of Sonos’ study, people who play music share more meals, say food tastes better with music, share more time together, and share more “acts of affection.” Talk about quantifying the emotional connection; this is something consumers can get behind because it hits home (literally). What’s more, Sonos knows its unique advantages in the market, focusing on a software-driven experience and rounding out the whole deal with corporate responsibility, including things like diversity and inclusion and social impact.
Leon is another brand worthy of believing in and has garnered a huge following of loyal customers for its unique mix of passion and purpose. You can see the passion in everything from artistry in product design to the Leon Loft series of concerts. As for purpose, in 2020 Leon partnered with Grove Studios to launch the Amplify Fellowship, a project that supports and amplifies the local African-American music community in Washtenaw County, MI. Out of many applicants, three fellows were selected to receive the resources to produce and record a music project in exchange for volunteer service to local nonprofits and supportive agencies. The Amplify Kickback Fundraiser is a virtual concert series that features Leon’s three Amplify Fellows — Kenyatta Rashon, Dani Darling, and London Beck — and raises money to help support the fellows and the local nonprofit of their choosing. I don’t know about you, but it’s initiatives like this that make me want to support this brand. I feel good about my purchases when I know my money is going to more than just the bottom line.
These are just a couple of examples of brands that are hitting the sweet spot of innovative products, unique stories, and passionate beliefs. Of course, it’s not just manufacturers that can or should play by the rules of storytelling, but technology integrators as well. What do you offer your local community? What is your unique story and how are you telling it to stand out in a sea of competition? Define your story and then tell it — enthusiastically, loudly, and often.
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It really just boils down to not putting the cart before the horse when it comes to digital marketing. Take time to first define your story and your purpose and then build a plan to share that story to engage your target audience. 2020 brought on societal changes like no other year in recent history. That, combined with social media maturity, makes the marketer’s job more exciting and either more challenging or easier, depending on how well you have your brand’s story defined and how ready your company is to leverage it. Once it’s defined, then, and only then, will your marketing platforms begin to work for you. We’ll talk more about those platforms in a future column.
Until then, consider this: How well defined is your brand’s story?