When Steve was a teenager, many moons ago, one of his favourite albums was Rod Stewart’s “Every Picture Tells a Story”. It is generally regarded by critics as the greatest album of his career, and included such standards as “Maggie May” and “Reason to Believe”.
He was thinking about it the other day as we were wading through a huge number of primary and secondary data studies trying to develop a concise report to assist a client in developing their 2010 brand strategy. We’re looking for the “story” of the brand.
It strikes us that “Every Picture Tells a Story” gives the guidance that we need to help them understand their brand, develop their strategy, formulate the tactics and execute them flawlessly.
Too often we see clients living by the “Reason to Believe” model: “If I listen long enough to you, I’ll find a way to believe that it’s all true”. They want to persuade the customer to buy their product by bombarding them with messages at ever-increasing frequency.
We believe that a more effective model is to engage your audience with the story of your brand, and like every good story the more you can make it relate to the listener’s experience, the more engaged they will be. As you develop the story of your brand, pay attention to what your customers are telling you, and how they are telling you. During our last blog, we talked about language, and the importance of communicating to your customers in their words. It’s all a part of the telling of your story.
When you have the chance to listen to your customers, have them sing you their songs, show their pictures, tell their stories. Try some less formally structured interactions, painting, collages and games. We recognize the need to have the numeric indicators of business success, but the greatest measure of success is when you customers open their hearts to you and let you engage their emotions.
If you paint a picture of your brand in a way that your customers can relate to, it will tell your story in a way that 32 point bold type never can. So our advice to you is:
- Provide lots of ways for your clients to talk to you
- Let your customers tell you about yourself in their way
- Use your customers’ stories to develop your story, telling how you can help them
- Tell your story in an interesting way that will engage them in continued conversation
And don’t forget “every picture tells a story, don’t it?”
We’d like to hear your story. Feel free to post a comment, below.
Steve and Megann
With thanks to Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood and Tim Hardin, whose lyrics we quoted.