What is a Brand Story? Differentiating Yourself From The Competition

With all the choices that consumers have in this day and age, just having a good product at a fair price point just isn’t going to cut it. Consumers don’t just care about the product (or service) they’re buying, they care who they’re buying it from, which is why your company’s brand identity is so important to your success. One of the important elements of your brand identity is your brand story. A lot of businesses mistakenly think that this is covered in their “about us” page on their website; however, your brand story is not the same thing as your company history. While your company history can be an important part of your brand story, your brand story involves the consumer as much as it involves your company and is absolutely essential in helping you to differentiate your company from your competition.

What Is A Brand Story?

A brand story is the narrative of your brand. It shouldn’t just provide information to the audience about who your company is, it should also tell consumers what your motivations are and should inspire an emotional reaction. For example, while the history of your company can play a role in your brand story, it’s arguably more important why you started the company than how you started it. This helps to get across your mission as well as your core values. Additionally, this allows you to address the consumer as a character in your story. The reason you started the company was to address a certain problem or need that your consumers have, after all.

Learn more about branding: Why Brand Development Matters and How it Works

Why Is Your Story Important?

There are dozens — if not hundreds — of companies that are similar to yours, whether they are competing directly with you or not. These companies may offer similar products that address similar needs to the same target audience. Simply saying that your products or services are better than theirs won’t get you far, even if you’re able to generate content that backs your statements. This is because consumers need to be able to connect with you on an emotional level. They want to relate to the brand that they choose. To do this, you need to differentiate yourself from your competition via your brand story.

A brand story makes it easier for consumers to connect with you due to the fact that storytelling has been an effective way to communicate messages and ideas throughout history. Using storytelling techniques in order to inform consumers about your company is going to make it much easier for them to stay engaged with you. There are several ways that you can do this. For example, you can position your company as the main protagonist whose goal it is to help the consumer or you can position the consumer as the main protagonist who must overcome an obstacle (a problem or need that the consumer has) with the help of your company (a solution in the form of your products or services).

When it comes down to it, creating a brand story helps differentiate your company from your competition while also making your brand more engaging for consumers, thereby making you more relatable on a personal level and more trustworthy as a result.

Creating Your Brand Story

Now that you understand what a brand story is and it’s importance, it’s time to develop your unique brand story:

  • Determine your company’s purpose

    What is your origin story? This doesn’t just refer to the date your company was founded, but why you decided to establish your business. What was your motivation? What is your mission? For example, maybe you realized that customer service within a certain industry was poor and you wanted to provide a better customer experience. Consumers want to know that there’s more to your company’s goals than just profit.

  • Understand who your audience is

    You can’t tell a story without an audience, and you need to know who you’re talking to in order to tell your story effectively. Your story should include your audience as a character, so you must know who your audience is. What are their main challenges, needs, and goals? Knowing this (along with more detailed demographic information) gives you a better understanding of how to tell an engaging story. It’s also why developing buyer personas is particularly helpful when it comes to your brand story.

  • Make sure your brand story remains consistent

    The products and services you sell need to align with your story. For example, if your main goal as a company is to provide an affordable alternative to a luxury product, then you can’t suddenly begin selling high-priced luxury items. Everything you do, from products and services to your marketing efforts, needs to align with your brand story. This means that you also need to maintain the same tone and messaging of your brand story across all platforms. A lack of consistency is going to hurt your brand identity and, in turn, hurt your trustworthiness.

  • Keep it simple

    Simple brand stories are easy for consumers to remember and make it easier for you to maintain consistency. If your story is too convoluted or long, you’ll lose the message and maintaining consistency across platforms becomes more difficult. It will also confuse your audience and help make your competitors’ brand stories appear more clear and well-defined.

  • Be authentic

    Make sure that your brand story actually represents who your brand is. Many companies try appealing to different audiences and adjust their story inauthentically to try making an emotional connection with them. This often happens if you don’t understand who your audience actually is. For example, if you run a clothing line that mostly middle-aged adults purchase but you want to break into the youth market, you might try to spice up your brand story to connect with a younger crowd by using younger slang and referring to pop culture or issues that you think they care about. However, consumers are smart — they can tell if a brand is being inauthentic and it won’t go over well.

  • Be personal

    Appeal to the emotions of your audience. You want them to feel something about your brand story. That’s why it’s important to be authentic about your motivations and your values. You should also make your audience part of your brand story so that it’s more relatable to them.

Your brand story is an important element of your brand identity and helps to emphasize what your brand’s message is. By creating a brand story and aligning your marketing efforts with that brand story, you’ll establish a foundation for who you are and what your company’s purpose is, thereby making it easier for consumers to relate and connect with your brand on a more personal level.

Learn The StoryBranding Process
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What is Digital Storytelling: How To Improve Your Efforts

When you’re marketing your brand, you’re telling consumers a story. In that story, they are the protagonists. Their problem or need is the inciting incident of that story, and the solution you present is the climax to that story. Effective storytelling is important in not only helping consumers identify what their problems and needs are and presenting your products or services as a solution, but in helping them to relate to your business on a personal level.

What is digital storytelling? It’s the use of strategies across all online platforms to help convey your message to your audience, whether it’s through videos, blog posts, images or tweets, to name a few methods. The following are a few tips that will help make your digital storytelling efforts more effective:

Align Yourself With Your Audience long form video1

Your audience doesn’t want to have their views or opinions challenged or changed. That’s not what your goal should be. The most effective stories are those that agree with the values of your audience. Here it allows them to feel smart and secure, thereby making it easier for them to see themselves as the protagonist of the story you’re telling, which, in turn, makes it easier for them to relate to the narrative overall. This means that you need to know who your audience is in order to be an effective storyteller.

Use Real Stories

The one thing consumers relate to the most is other consumers. Use your previous customers to tell your story. For example, banks often produce video content focusing on small business owners who became successful as a result of their small business loans, which makes their brand more relatable and empathetic.

More Tips On Digital Marketing? Free Digital Marketing Tools To Cope With COVID-19

Tell Smaller Stories

You don’t want your digital storytelling to become too complicated or the message will get lost. Keep it simple and to the point. One way to do this is to focus on smaller stories. For example, instead of showing how one of your products has dozens of benefits or uses, showcase how one customer was able to solve one specific issue using your product.

Smaller stories take less time to tell, which means your audience is more likely to read through your content or watch your videos all the way through — and it also makes your content more shareable.

Avoid Being Too Promotional

Telling your audience to buy your product because it’s cheap and it works well isn’t storytelling. There’s no way that a consumer can connect with that message on a personal level, considering that the average consumer is attacked with extra promotional advertisements daily, it’s the last thing they’re going to want to see. The trick to avoiding being excessively promotional is to focus on your audience, what they want, and not on you and what you want.

Storytelling is the most effective strategy for relaying your message to your audience. These tips will strengthen your digital storytelling efforts to help build stronger relationships with your audience.

A GUIDE TO EFFECTIVE MOBILE MARKETING TECHNIQUES

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The Difference Between Lead Generation vs Demand Generation

When it comes to building your audience and increasing your sales, there are two strategies that are vital to your success:  demand generation and lead generation. However, there are a lot of misconceptions about both. For instance, many people confuse one for the other. Some people think that demand generation is part of lead generation, while others think that lead generation is a part of demand generation. In reality, they are two different strategies that are critical to your ability to convert more customers.

Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation

The question for many is, “what is the difference between demand generation vs. lead generation?” Think of them as steps that must be taken to eventually close a sale. The first thing that you must do is to generate demand. Once you have achieved demand, you must then capture leads. The following is a more thorough breakdown of demand generation vs. lead generation:

  • Demand Generation – Demand generation is a strategy that includes numerous marketing tactics aimed at building awareness. Another misconception many have about demand generation is that it’s only about increasing brand awareness. However, it’s also about educating your audience about their needs and how your brand can solve them. As such, you’re also building brand authority during this stage. The ultimate goal of a demand generation strategy is to put your audience into the position to be converted into leads.
  • Lead Generation – Lead generation is the strategy of converting visitors to leads by capturing their personal information, such as their name and email address. It’s through the generation of leads that you will be able to nurture your leads through the sales funnel and eventually close the sale. When it comes down to it, lead generation is the act of taking advantage of the demand you’ve generated to collect contact information. Using that contact information, you can then engage leads directly.

Implementing A Demand Generation Strategy

Since demand generation consists of generating brand awareness as well as educating your audience, there are many tactics you can use. The following are just a few examples of demand generation that you can use:

  • Blogging – A blog allows you to regularly publish content to your website that is educational and informative. Blog content can also help people become aware of your business, if you promote it properly. For instance, by earning backlinks, optimizing it for SEO, and sharing it on social media.
  • SEO – Optimizing your website and all of its content for SEO, helps increase your presence on Google’s search engine. As a result, you can attract more organic traffic to your site.
  • Paid Advertising – Paid advertising, whether on Google or on social channels, can help expose your brand to specific segments of your target audience.

One thing to keep in mind when creating a demand generation strategy is to know who your audience is. Your demand generation efforts won’t have much of an impact if you’re targeting the wrong audience. Because of this, it’s critical that you develop your buyer personas.

Like this article ? Also read A Brief Guide to Sales Lead Generation

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Implementing A Lead Generation Strategy

If you have a constructive demand generation strategy, you should be in an excellent position to capture your leads. At this point, your audience should not only know who you are, but they should be interested in your brand due to the influence that you showcase. However, the majority of them won’t be quite ready to take the leap, which is why you need a lead generation strategy. Such a strategy involves providing something of value in return for their contact information.

With that in mind, the following are a few examples of value that businesses commonly offer to drive lead generation:

 

  • Gated content – Offering more in-depth content in the form of ebooks, whitepapers, and more, is an excellent incentive for providing you with their personal information. Businesses include links to gated content in the CTAs of their free-to-read blog content. Doing so allows them to capitalize on the authority they’ve just built.
  • Email newsletter – For anyone who is reading your blog on a regular basis, a periodic email newsletter filled with relevant and unique content is a great incentive to convert to a lead. Not to mention that they will have to provide their email to receive email content.
  • Free trials – Interested audience members are more likely to convert if you give them a free sample of your service. Offering a free trial in return for their personal information is generally accepted as a more than fair trade.
  • Webinars – Webinars are live stream of presentations, such as panel discussions, lectures, or interviews. They can run for a longer period of time and tend to dive in topics in great detail. Not to mention that viewers can often engage during the webinar by asking questions. Webinars are a great way to generate leads because you can acquire viewers to register in order to get access.

Understanding The Difference Between Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation Is Critical

To achieve success, you need to focus on both demand generation and lead generation. However, not understanding the difference can make it difficult to meet your goals. Not to mention, it will be difficult to monitor on how your marketing efforts are performing.

30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips
social media tips for business

Covid-19 Social Media Tips For Businesses

COVID-19 has resulted in an uncertain situation that nobody has experience with. As such, many companies are stumbling around in the dark trying to figure out how to proceed. Some businesses are even cutting back on their marketing budgets due to a decrease in sales. In fact, marketing your business is more critical than it’s ever been. It’s your marketing strategy that will help get your business through the pandemic and allow it to emerge on the other side — whenever that may be. One particular marketing strategy you should focus on is social media. However, your success depends on how effective your social media strategy is during this time. Here are a few Covid-19 social media tips for businesses to continue to reach a broader audience and to build stronger relationships to set yourself up for future success.

social media tips for business Social Media In The Time Of Covid-19

It would be understandable to assume that social media usage is up at this point in time. Unemployment is sky-high and a significant amount of people who are still employed are now working remotely. With that in mind, you would think that more people would be on social media in search of connection than ever before. While there is a 70 percent increase in social media app usage, engagement rates have actually gone down. The following are a few potential reasons for this:

  • People are using social differently – People are more isolated than they’ve ever been, especially in areas with stay-at-home orders or if they’re under quarantine. As a result, they are on social media a lot. They’re just not engaging with brands. This is because they’re using social to connect to their friends and family, not necessarily to do research into products and services.
  • Businesses aren’t leveraging social correctly – Sporadically posting content on your social channels without any kind of plan won’t do you any good. There needs to be a reason behind your social media actions. Simply trying to engage followers for the sake of engaging them won’t help you or them. In order to see results, you need to establish goals, which requires you to create a social media strategy.

Like this article? Also read 8 Tips on Social Media Best Practices For Your Business

Social Media Tips For Businesses During The Pandemic

Despite a lack of social media engagement, you should not ignore the opportunity to use social as a marketing tool. Social media can be a very effective way to reach your audience and to build stronger relationships throughout the pandemic. With that in mind, the following are a few social media tips for businesses:

1. Provide Useful Content

If you want your audience to engage, you need to provide them with something of value. What are they looking for? Odds are, they’re not looking for advertisements. Create content that you know will be useful to them.  If your current content marketing strategy is stale or isn’t having the impact you desire, consider trying new things. For instance, begin creating video content to post to your social channels.

2. Don’t Avoid The Topic, But Don’t Be Too Opportunistic

Providing useful content on COVID-19 can help your audience. People are desperate for all kinds of information related to the pandemic, whether it’s concerning their personal health or their financial health. As such, don’t just pretend like nothing’s happening. Address the topic. However, it’s important that you don’t come across as opportunistic. For instance, you may not want to begin selling masks with your logo on it. It will come across as if you’re taking advantage of the pandemic.

3. Stay Up To Date With Social Media Trends

The world has never been like this before, which means it’s impossible to predict what’s going to happen. Because of this, you need to keep an eye on both marketing trends as well as social media trends in general. For instance, people have begun to depend more heavily on e-commerce, even if they don’t have stay-at-home orders in their area. If you offer e-commerce, then informing your audience (especially offline customers) and encouraging them to use it via social media is a good idea.

4. Listen To Your Audience

Your audience’s wants, needs, desires, and fears may be changing during this time. Be sure to listen to what they have to say. You can do this by using various social media listening tools to track conversations about your brand, your industry, and the pandemic in general.

5. Invest In Influencer Marketing

Despite the fact that social media engagement is down, influencer marketing is as strong as ever. Influencers have a deep connection with their audience, which means that they are an excellent way to reach them. In fact, influencers may be a better option than traditional marketing tactics at the moment, such as TV commercials or radio ads, to name a few.

Leverage Your Social Media Channels During The Pandemic

Use these social media tips for businesses to continue to reach a broader audience and to build stronger relationships. By using social media during COVID-19 effectively, you can set yourself up for future success.

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Five Tips for Effective Inbound Marketing for Healthcare

Quality healthcare has always been important, but it’s even more important during the pandemic. More people are searching for health-related information than ever before. As such, it’s critical that your healthcare business is in a position to be found. To achieve this, you need to implement a strong, long-term inbound marketing strategy. A good inbound marketing strategy can help drive awareness of your business and help generate more leads. It’s why you should work with a reputable healthcare marketing agency. With that in mind, the following are five essential inbound marketing tips for healthcare businesses:

1. Add Educational Content To Your Website

One of the most important goals you should have is to build trust with your audience. Trust is essential to any healthcare business; after all, your customers are often putting their lives in your hands. With that in mind, you should add educational content to your website. This content shouldn’t promote your services or products. Instead, it should educate your audience. The more informed they are, the more confident they will be in making a purchasing decision. Not to mention that it helps build your brand authority, which directly increases trust.

COVID-19 Content

An example of educational content might be a page dedicated to COVID-19. This page could explain what the symptoms are, what patients should do if they exhibit symptoms, and how they should seek help if needed. Not only are you providing valuable information that can save lives, but you’re also providing relevant information that can build trust.

2. Build A Compelling Website

Your website is the foundation of your inbound marketing efforts. It doesn’t matter how good your content is if your website is poor. The following are just a few important elements of a compelling website:

  • No technical issues – Broken links and slow loading pages can hinder the user experience. Few visitors will stay on your site for more than a few seconds if they’re encountering technical problems.
  • Visually pleasing layout – Your website should be visually pleasing. A poorly designed website that looks outdated will give visitors reservations about your healthcare company’s quality.
  • Easy navigation – Your site should be easy to navigate. Make it easy for your visitors to jump from one section to another and to find what they’re looking for.  Besides a solid navigation menu, you should also use internal links to help guide your visitors to related content and pages.
  • Ability to contact you – Whether visitors have questions or want to schedule appointments, it’s vital that you make it easy for them to contact you. Your contact information should be on every page. However, you should also have a page dedicated to your contact information where visitors can fill out a form. You should also think about incorporating a live chat or chatbot feature to provide basic information and guidance.

3. Maximize Your Email Marketing Strategy

Email marketing has been an incredibly cost-effective marketing strategy since the beginning of online marketing. Healthcare companies, in particular, can benefit from email marketing. For example, you can create an email newsletter that leads and customers alike can sign up for. You can use this newsletter to educate your audience and to build trust in your brand. You can achieve this by using your newsletter to provide new health information,  healthcare tips, and office updates. A good email marketing strategy can allow you to nurture more leads and encourage more appointments.

4. Use Social Media

Social media is one of the best ways to engage directly with your target audience. Many people turn to social media in order to seek healthcare-related advice. In fact, it’s estimated that 40 percent of people say that they use information they found on social media to make health-related decisions. If you establish a regular presence on your social media channels, you’ll be able to offer professional advice to potential patients. As a result of such engagement, you can build trust. Not to mention that any interactions you have will be public, which will help to generate more brand awareness.

5. Create A Blog

While you should have educational content throughout your website, a blog can be particularly helpful. A blog allows you to publish new content on a regular basis. It also allows you to publish content that may be relevant to a specific time. For instance, a post on health-care-related laws passed during the pandemic would be a great blog post. However, you can use your blog to post about all kinds of general disease information.

An effective healthcare inbound marketing strategy is essential to your company’s success, especially at this point in time. Although these marketing tips are incredibly effective, they do require time, experience, and expertise to implement successfully. As such, you should strongly consider working with a professional healthcare marketing agency.

digital marketing for manufacturers

How Marketing Helps Critical Manufacturers During Covid-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all businesses, both big and small, in some way. For most businesses, the impact has unfortunately been negative. This is especially true for manufacturers. It’s estimated that around 89 percent of all manufacturing companies have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. However, there are things that you can do to maintain your business despite COVID-19. For instance, effectively marketing your manufacturing brand can not only help get you through the pandemic, but it can also set you up for future success.

Why is Digital Marketing for Manufacturers so Important?

This isn’t the first time we have experienced a serious economic depression. The Great Depression hurt businesses throughout the country almost a century ago. What we learned from that depression is that companies that survived or even thrived didn’t wait for public demand for their products or services to increase. They advertised their brand aggressively and paid attention to consumer behavior.

Digital Marketing

A significant number of people are working from home. Many of your prospects and existing clients may not even be working. Whether they’re working or not, you can still reach them via digital marketing. In fact, digital marketing may be more effective than ever since your audience has more time on their hands to engage. As such, you have the opportunity to build stronger relationships that can pay off in the future.

Paying attention to trends within your industry can help you capitalize on them. For instance, local sourcing has increased and people are shopping online more frequently during the pandemic. As far as manufacturing goes, there has been an increased demand for steel, packaging, plastic bags, hand sanitizers, and more. Many manufacturing brands have temporarily switched over to the production of these in-demand items to keep their businesses afloat. Those companies that do this need to be able to market the fact that they are doing this.

Tips For Marketing Your Manufacturing Company During COVID-19

It’s critical that you stay up to date with current trends and that you embrace digital marketing during the pandemic. With that in mind, the following are a few tips to effectively market your manufacturing company during COVID-19:

  • Host Webinars – Because webinars are on the longer side and are initially streamed live, you don’t always get the biggest audience. Now that everyone has time on their hands, you’re likely going to have more viewers tuning in to watch any webinars that you host. Webinars are a great way to showcase brand authority, educate viewers, and generate leads. You can also record them and publish them later as new video content.
  • Engage On Social Media – Because people are on lockdown and often self-isolating, they are going to spend more time on social media. People are desperate for social connections during these difficult times. This means that there are more opportunities for you to engage with followers on social media in a meaningful way. As a result, you’ll build stronger relationships and boost your brand’s reputation and awareness.
  • Upload Speciality Presentations – Now is the time to nurture prospects as well as continue nurturing existing customers. Specialty presentations can be incredibly effective at boosting your credibility and your brand authority.
  • Implement Marketing Automation – If business has slowed down, then you’ll want to ensure that your marketing efforts are as cost-effective as possible. Marketing automation tools can help you automate repetitive tasks, thereby saving you time and money. Not to mention that automation can help improve your reach and engagement, thereby resulting in a potentially higher ROI.

COVID-19 Resources For Manufacturers

As a manufacturer, odds are you need all the help you can get during the pandemic. We understand this, which is why we would like to share the following resources that can help your brand continue to prosper despite economic uncertainty:

  • Digital Health Check – Now is an excellent time to identify how your digital marketing efforts are performing and how cost-effective they are. Perform a Digital Health Check for a free report on your digital marketing practices.
  • Defense Production Act – Find out what you need to know about the Defense Production Act and how it can affect your manufacturing business.
  • Free Digital Marketing Tools – Consider using these free marketing tools to help enhance your existing digital marketing efforts.

Embrace Digital Marketing for Manufacturing Companies Today

One of the biggest mistakes that you can make during the pandemic is to wait for things to get back to normal. You need to be proactive, which means that you should follow current trends and use digital marketing for manufacturing companies to increase your reach. Not only can this help you stay afloat during the pandemic, but it can also help you foster future success.