Your Customer Experience has to Engage, Inform and Enlighten
It doesn’t really matter what industry your business is in. Your customer experience has to grab attention. Your business has to operate almost as if it’s an entertainment brand. After all, your brand isn’t just up against local competitors in your area. Your brand is up against Netflix, HBO, YouTube, and the latest meme on social media. Today, all the world’s information is at your finger tips. Everything is just one click away.
Today, your brand has to be binge-worthy. Every time your audience sees your content they should want to see more. Whatever you’re selling, you have to create content that is compelling and grabs attention. Your content has to stand out and put your message above the mess.
It sounds easy, doesn’t it. All you have to do is take one part “Game of Thrones,” mix it with two parts of “This Is Us,” and mix vigorously. People will not be able to resist, and will flock in droves!
But before you are able to reach your desired audience, think about all the content out there that you notice every day. The content that stands out to you can be boiled down to three simple words.
Wait, wait, first we’ll live up to the headline and let you guess. Give up?
The three words are: Heart. Humor. Helpfulness.
Those words have to form the backbone of your customer experience strategy. They’ll help get you out of the sell, sell, sell mindset and find your actual brand story. Let’s take a look at these three words and see why they are so important.
You See Heart in Every Emotional Storytelling Message
What tugs at your emotions? It’s hard not to respond to a dog snuggling with the child, the Coke can with your name on it, the military mom surprising her family. These are the things that get shared like crazy. Emotional storytelling is the best way for your business to stay in the mindset of your consumer.
“Brands that wear their heart on their sleeves get noticed,” Blake Allen, the Vice President of Creative at Paramore, an advertising agency in Nashville, says. “If your brand can tell stories that tap into emotional vulnerability, you’re going to get remembered.”
Allen cites Hawaii’s “Let Hawaii Happen” campaign as one of his favorite recent examples of heartfelt storytelling. “These stories don’t need dialogue. It’s all about creating a tone that’s simple… And it helps having Hawaii as your setting.”
Here are Three Helpful Hints on Heart
1) You need to tap into the real stories of your customers. Tell how your product or business positively affects their lives. Using simple stories such as well-written testimonials and short video interviews can add legitimacy and spread word of mouth.
2) Don’t ever weigh in on tragedies. It’s not a good look for any brand so stay out of those conversations. During dark times it’s usually the best strategy to keep your thoughts to yourself.
3) Show and embrace your vulnerability. If you make a mistake, admit it. By admitting your faults and imperfections, it helps humanize your brand.
Use Humor, People Love to Share What Makes Them Laugh
Humor is the hardest to do but the most shareable. Humor is universal. Everyone loves to laugh. And they love to share what made them laugh. The trick is making your humor feel effortless and accessible, like an inside joke that everyone’s a part of. If a brand can make you laugh, you invite them into your circle.
Lawson Clarke, a freelance copywriter based in Boston, sums it up simply, “People want to laugh. It’s as true today as at it was when we were living in caves. There’s stress in getting through the day. Laughter is the relief. It’s a comfort blanket.”
Clarke looks at humor as a foundational element for brands.
“I worked on a project years ago for Carnival Cruise Line and we did a big study on fun and laughter and we found that when you laugh it releases pain-killing endorphins into your body. People in chronic pain, the more they laugh, the better they sleep at night.”
“It’s very serious,” Clarke deadpans.
Clarke has seen firsthand the impact of humor. He’s used his personal website MaleCopywriter.com with its absurdist feature well video greeting site visitors to become one of the most in demand freelance copywriters in the business.
Clarke notes that the bar for brands using humor has been raised to an exceedingly difficult level.
“With humor you’re competing with everything that’s funny. You have to be provocative and outrageous. You just can’t wring your hands over whether you’re going to offend someone.
Clarke’s lived it, after all.
“I got naked and rode a horse in cut off jeans… That’s taking a big swing.”
Helpfullness Because People Love to Learn Something New
Everyone loves a good how-to. This form of content is SEO-friendly and, in theory, the easiest to deliver on. Capitalize on how your consumers are naturally searching Google. What does your brand deliver that others don’t?
Brands like Buzzfeed’s Tasty are successful because they focus on how-to videos and content that empowers their audience to action. The reason for this very blog is to be helpful and we try to deliver on that promise in every article. Regular blogging, sharing thoughtful content on your social networks, and research studies and whitepapers are all tactics that your audience will find helpful.
You Have to Understand How to Create Your Foundation
But don’t just start creating content willy nilly. First, you need to set the foundation for Heart, Humor and Helpfulness. Here’s how:
1) Find Your Voice. It starts here. Write down five or so specific attributes that speak to your brand. You’ll throw out words like, “irreverent,” “sophisticated,” “approachable” and “et cetera.” Use these to guide your messaging.
2) Set Goals. What do you want your content to do? Get website traffic. Create brand awareness. Add new fans. You won’t reach your goals if you don’t write them down. Be serious about your goals and invest in analytics so you can track your success.
3) Know Your Audience. And don’t use generic phrases like, “It’s Millennials.” That’s too broad. An 18-year-old student named Cristo who majors in Postmodern History at UCLA has little in common with Khaki Cody, a 34-year-old dad in Biloxi, yet both are considered Millennials. Go deeper, and connect with your target audience on their turf whether that’s on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or Pinterest.
4) Create an Editorial Calendar. Knowing your audience means you know where to play, but do you know what to say? An editorial calendar gives you security. A calendar provides the thematic structure that you need. You begin the story knowing the next chapter. The weekly blog post, daily social chatter, the short campaigns, the long-term goals – the editorial calendar is the place where it all lives and breathes like only inanimate content can.
5) Execute. This is the actual posting and publishing. This is all about talking to your audience. Responding to your fans. You have to organize your assets, their creation and management. It’s a full-time job and it can be stressful.
Every Post Should Build On the Past, Like Chapters in a Book
Essentially, every piece of content or social media post you publish should fit together to create one compelling story about your brand. It’s a story that makes your audience think, that makes them laugh and helps them connect to you on a deeper level.