How To Increase ROI With Brand Storytelling
Studies show that companies driven by a strong purpose, particularly a good brand story, grow their revenue four times faster, create seven times more jobs, and increase stock prices 12 times faster (Type A Communications). Now that you have seen some real life examples, let’s talk about how you, too, can ensure a return on your brand storytelling. Here are some important considerations to make when building out your strategy:
Can brand storytelling deliver a high ROI? Yes, it can — through thoughtful strategy that factors in ROI from the start. Use your head and your heart, and allow the relationship between your brand’s goals and your user’s desires flourish.
Returns can be slow, but don’t let that discourage you. Remember: Rome wasn’t built in a day — either are great brands.
2) Work backwards
1) Be prepared
Consider the results from “Content Matters,” a research report by WE Worldwide to better understand the relationship between brand storytelling and ROI. The study found that branded storytelling (through social media) can create a measurable impact on your bottom line and drive significant increases in advocacy.
The company’s research showed that digital consumers who were highly exposed to branded content through social media can spend up to 257 percent more at the point of purchase and can be up to 90 percent more likely to recommend a brand to a friend, family member or colleague. This is great news, as peer recommendations are the most trusted and influential for consumers.
While we know that business storytelling can create increased wealth for brands, it is important to understand that brand storytelling is a long term strategy. In other words, returns are not immediate. If you want immediate returns for your marketing and communications budget then buy paid media (Accelerate Influence). Brand storytelling is not about immediate returns and is more about brand building than conversions, though this is not to say that it won’t influence them, just not immediately.
Image from Accelerate Influence
This is not as obvious as it sounds, just bear with us. Robert Davis, Executive Director, Content Marketing & Advanced Video Practice at Ogilvy PR once said, “ROI must be built into the creation of your story” (The DMA)
While you can’t use a mathematical equation to create a good brand story, Davis reminds us that ROI should be considered from the very start. This means knowing where your story fits in the overall content marketing plan, defining your goals and objectives, knowing your KPIs and how you will measure success. Davis says, “You need to know up front where a piece of content goes in the marketing/sales funnel (which can range from awareness to loyalty), what are you trying to say, where it’s going to run, and how you will measure it. Make sure every asset is created with a specific role in the funnel, and assign a KPI to every asset.” While a high ROI can’t be guaranteed, it can be achieved through a carefully crafted and well thought out strategy.
4) Think long term
This goes along with the previous point and is something that has always worked well for us. Strategizing can be a long and grueling process, but if you can figure out where you want to end up, then getting back to the start is like filling in missing pieces of the puzzle. Sometimes you have to imagine the bigger picture to make the small stuff really count. Jay Baer, President of Convince & Convert, said, “Essentially, you should be turning your content creation process upside down. Worry less about what content you can create and which stories you can tell, and worry more about how you want to turn content consumption into leads, sales, and advocacy.”
A clear destination can actually inform your brand stories and lead to a much more focused point of view. Ask yourself, “What is the desired outcome?”
3) Use your head and your heart, Da Vinci style
Leonardo Da Vinci was both a great artist and scientist, and if he were around today, he’d be a great storyteller, too. Approach your brand storytelling like Da Vinci. Allow the humanity and emotions to flow freely, but not so far away that you can’t reel it in, break it down, and measure the impact.
Numbers are important, but they are not what makes a good story, or else you’d just end up with a quota of words and images arranged with no regard to creativity, individuality, or emotion — the main driver of consumer decisions.
We are all fixated on numbers, but it’s human-to-human connections that are the heart of marketing. Brand storytelling is a technique that can reinforce those connections (Quicksprout).
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