After all this talk about story and storytelling, how to proceed and what to do about it is next logical question.
To answer this I’ll just say that communication is a two way street and telling your storyline is also a process of give and take. Listening skills may come in handy, but if you are out of your own perspective and story, be prepared to listen a lot.
Case in point, if you are in a party and are engaging in conversation with people you’ve never met before, you may be very good listener and still you’ll know a lot of information about a lot of different people. Still, if you haven’t steered the conversation by sharing your point of view or your own experience, you’ll never know if your impressions of these people are correct.
In fact, you have recieved their storylines that may be subjective, since you haven’t engaged them. You were a subject of the personal advetising.
So, listening is important, but engaging gives you two crucial elements:
- chance to share your story
- opportunity to confirm your understanding of the new information
Weaving in the story
Within the context of social media, brands are in position to listen to conversations about their brands, stories that are important to their consumers and react to that. This is the listening part.
This can be done through twitter, facebook, linkedin, google search, following important blogs, etc.
Engaging part comes when brand has to talk back to consumers. Two opportunities here are, as I’ve said before, sharing the story and checking the viewpoint.
Due to large amounts of obstacles involved on the market, best way to engage consumers with you story is by letting them experience the brand. Some examples may be: sending samples to bloggers, invites to events on social channels, sharing stories of your brand, etc.
By far the best way is by giving something to people, even a small token of attention, if you realize that they can benefit from it, for free. This way brand creates a sense of joy and surprise that will generate with word of mouth and lifelong positive association with the brand for that person. Enter the age of Giving Marketing.
Checking of the viewpoint is something that is done by giving the chance to consumers to test your new product or service and give you their feedback. This involves people with your brand, builds the community and gives you feedback on the insights that you gained from personal stories brand has tracked and listened to.
Tapping into the brand target market pool will give brand better insight than any focus group or research could have and connect it with the consumers from the start.
If you don’t believe me, look at the Windows 7 launch success and quality of product that it generated. All this was a result of shared early beta to a large pool of testers and response to their feedback.
For any comments and suggestions on the topic, feel free to share. For the next post I’ll try and prepare some examples.