Every brand is anxious to inspire internal and external stakeholders to share their story. A brand must define a story worth telling to be a brand worth sharing, and how well it tells that story will determine how well its stakeholders share it with others.
With these caveats in mind, the first thing every brand must recognize is the need to make an emotional connection with their audience, rather than simply execute a transactional. Too many brands today rush past their story to its telling, mistaking social technologies as an end in themselves rather than as channels through which to expand emotional connections.
If your brand truly wants to resonate on an emotional level, it must recognize that the future of profit is purpose. Deloitte research identifies that younger demographics are acutely aware of the social challenges we face and are looking to see whether brands are part of the problem or part of the solution in terms of bettering the future. Only by clearly communicating a brand’s purpose can they make an emotional connection with these stakeholders that inspires them to share a brand story with their own communities.
Even with this awareness in mind, it’s easy for brand to talk about its purpose in a self-directed way. Invariably this means that their well-intended conversation falls on deaf ears as their audience recognizes that the brand is ultimately only interested in talking about itself. To avoid this a brand must be the chief celebrant of its customer community and not its celebrity. Only then will stakeholders engage and amplify a brand story because an authentic one-to-one connection has been made.
Finally, every brand faces the challenge of scaling intimacy. Each day more consumers disgorge information about themselves that they assume will be reflected in a brand’s communication with them. For a brand to do otherwise is tantamount to not listening at all. As such, once a brand has made a one-to-one connection with a consumer, it must quickly upgrade and reward that individual for their engagement if they hope to gradually build a self-sustaining customer community.
Taken together these three insights will ensure that brands connect on an emotional level with consumers, maintain the right focus to drive engagement, and build a growing community that will drive their business and social impact.
Ultimately, social technology is teaching us to be human again, demanding that brands embrace a relatedness that is driven by the heart before the head and by the story before technology. Used in this order, marketing can unlock the true power of social technologies to inspire internal and external stakeholders to connect on an emotional level and amplify a brand story based on shared values and a common purpose.
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