For more information on Heart Marketing over Brain Marketing, check out the Digital Marketing Institute.
While a myriad of marketing strategies exist that can support drive sales and increase consumer loyalty, it’s arguable that none are as effective as storytelling. Storytelling is one of the most efficient ways of tugging at the heartstrings of your prevailing audience, while also remaining the most effective in tapping into the emotions of potential audiences. Traditional appeals to logic and rationality remains crucial in selling a product or service, but recent studies are revealing that the key to establishing unwavering consumer loyalty, creating brand ambassadors who advertise your product for you and driving consequential traffic to your website is best achieved by marketing with heart.
However, many marketers remain focused on developing a general ‘brand’ identity – wherein their logo, slogan, and ad content are both driven by and reflect the brand as they wish it to be perceived. Conversely, new insights show that all umbrella aspects of what constitutes a brand should be driven by a story; though, implementing this appropriately brings with it more risk than merely pushing the facts and figures. So, this begs the questions – is it true that marketers should lead with the heart over the head?
Before we dive in, it’s imperative that we get some context on storytelling itself. Studies show that stories are up to 22 times more memorable than facts or figures alone and that the neural activity of human beings’ upsurges by five times while listening to or reading a story compared to any other form of content. In contrast, your brand is not simply about the aesthetic of your business but is the sum of interactions that any one person has with your company. This comprises, but is not limited to your community management practices, ad copy and imagery, brand assets, and ad narrative.
Nonetheless, the best brands aren’t focused as much on creating general marketing campaigns as they are fixated on ‘brand storytelling’. By writing stories that touch on passion points that people share and linking those passions to your product or service, these brands can transcend the simple application of facts and figures, which only encourage passive listening, and leverage storytelling to generate active engagement. In this sense, brands can build tribes around the stories they tell that can spark entire movements – the capacity to mobilize your audience is the key to sustaining ongoing consumer loyalty and is one of the most powerful assets a brand can have.
Here are the top 5 keys to unlocking the ‘Heart Marketing Strategy’, strengthening your brand’s story, and capturing the hearts of your audience.
#1. Put Yourself Out There
One of the key aspects of heart marketing is to connect with your audience on a human level, and to really show them what your brand is all about. This can be achieved by giving them an inside look (or behind the scenes peak) at how your business or service operates, candidly, and without the façade and glamour traditionally linked to advertising. By letting people in and showing that you’ve got nothing to hide and that you’re proud of the way in which you operate, not only do you tell your brand’s story, but you break the ice for the consumer and create a sense of trust that establishes the foundation for consumer loyalty.
#2. Focus on Customer Care
We cannot stress this enough: community management is one of the most important aspects of marketing today. Your audience needs to know that they are cared for, that their opinion and feedback matters, and most importantly, that they are listened to and acknowledged. However, community management in itself is not the key – but rather, personalizing the community management experience as best you can. Customers are likely to expect a cookie cutter response to a particular question they may ask – so why not surprise them by going the extra mile? Generate a video response or social media post for even the most basic questions, send the user a coupon or voucher should something go wrong. By zeroing in on a personalized approach to customer care and community management, you show that your brand has a big heart; this will not go unnoticed by audiences who are continuously jaded and disenfranchised by autonomous and sterile brands and business practices.
#3. Capitalize on Cultural Opportunities
Every single day, something happens in the cultural world that creates ripples across the digital landscape. So why not capitalize on a topic, theme, or incident while it’s hot? Leveraging cultural nuances help keep your brand relevant and shows that you can put your guard down every once and a while and have some fun. As demonstrated in The Digital Marketing Institute’s webinar on brand storytelling, the restaurant chain Arby’s provides an example of leverage cultural opportunities by asking acclaimed rapper Pharrell if they can have their hat back after he wore a similar looking hat at an awards show. This action ensued a two-way conversation between Pharrell and Arby’s on Twitter and garnered the attention of people and brands alike. However, since relevance has a deadline, it is important that you have adequate resources to dedicate the time it takes to research daily on which cultural opportunities may be best to leverage for your brand.
#4. Leverage Data in Creative Ways
As a digital marketer, you have loads of data at your fingertips. This data should not simply be used for reporting to your clients on campaign progress, but can be utilized in increasingly creative ways, provided you do not infringe on pre-established privacy policies and stay out of the ’creepy’ territory – going too far utilizing data for marketing campaigns can prove problematic if you end up scaring off your audience. Spotify provides an example of this process: they released a billboard that read: “Dear person who played “Sorry” 42 times on Valentine’s Day, what did you do?”. Similarly, they put out ad content that displayed ‘silly’ playlist names that people have created in the past. By leveraging the real data at their fingertips, brands and marketers alike can provide authentic advertisements that have the added benefit of writing themselves.
#5. Respond to Critics and Protect IP, but Stay Classy
As a rule of thumb, your brand should always strive to be the classiest brand in your field. People have a hard time relating to a stuck-up, overly proud brands that forego their human touch and humility for status, ownership, and the monopolization of ideas. Conversely, it is important to safeguard all of your brand’s assets and to stand up for your brand should any turmoil arise; in this sense, it’s critical to establish creative ways to simultaneously protect your brand while remaining classy. Another example provided by The Digital Marketing Institute explores Reese’s’ chocolate Christmas Tree campaign, wherein consumers sent in complaints proclaiming that the chocolate treats, in fact, did not look like trees whatsoever. Instead of ignoring the users or apologizing with their tail between their legs, Reese’s’ chose to launch a ‘faux beauty’ campaign, wherein they stated that “they love all trees, no matter their shapes and sizes” etc. This was a classy way to address consumer complaints that simultaneously protected the brand.
Leveraging these 5 keys to “heart” marketing can prove effective in telling your brand’s story and alluring your audience into the marketing process so that they become active, rather than passive consumers of your content. This type of consumer engagement successfully provides a foundation of trust, respect, and relevance that can transform one-off consumers into lifelong loyal ambassadors.
Want a team to help you achieve an effective ‘heart marketing’ campaign? Contact us here!