Authentic Customer Stories

19th April 2021

Leveraging The WOW! Awards programme for brand storytelling

Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to breathe life into your brand and is also one of the main components of a solid content marketing approach.

David Campbell

Right Inbox

Using narrative to connect your brand to customers should be the backbone of any marketing content strategy. In particular, The WOW! Awards advocate that these stories be written by your customers.

Six reasons why customer stories are essential to your content strategy

1. The science behind our love of stories

Humans have been telling and thinking in stories since the beginning of time. Over the past ten years, there has been a copious amount of research on the topic including articles and TEDx talks. All conclude that it is a human instinct – we are hardwired for stories and narrative. As such, it is a form of content we can’t ignore

2. Stories support customers in understanding your organisation’s core values – and seeing alignment with their own

More and more, customers have heightened expectations around the brands that they engage with. They also expect an organisation’s core values to align with their own. In fact, this growing prevalence among consumers means that non-alignment runs the risk of consumers shunning certain brands.

  • 71% of consumers prefer buying from brands that align with their values. This statistic was unveiled by 5W Public Relations’ 2020 Consumer Culture Report.
  • 83% of these millennials stress the importance of value alignment. And they exercise that conviction when choosing a brand to purchase products or services from.

3. The authenticity of a ‘customer told’ brand story

Organisations can create stories and case studies that are sculpted and advertise their brand values. They can create and control content to project how they wish to be perceived. But customer stories are authentic and genuine – they stand out against the noise and advertisements that are constantly being pushed online. They can showcase if a brand truly puts the customer at the centre of the business. They can truly show, through the eyes of the customer, whether the organisation lives up to its mission and brand values. They also can illustrate the positive, personal response of the customer when the organisation fulfils its brand promise.

4. Making a brand more human and easy to connect to

H2H marketing, or human-to-human marketing, is a relatively new concept of taking organisations away from the cold, jargon-filled messaging; it focuses on humanising a brand and connecting it with like-minded individuals. Storytelling marketing, particularly leveraging stories told by customers, is a powerful ‘human’ element that should be leveraged by marketers looking to push H2H in any industry. Those that read customer stories, regardless of whether they work in B2B or B2C, are human beings who function logically and emotionally and thrive on narratives around human connection and engagement.

5. Customers telling positive stories are essentially making a referral – and referrals provide the most valuable leads

Prospective customers are more likely to listen to reviews and opinions around a brand from those who have experienced it first hand. This makes customer stories a powerful thing as it reaffirms that your organisation offers a valuable service.

The value of referrals:

  • 78%

    78% of B2B marketers say that referrals generate good or excellent leads.

  • 60%

    60% of marketers say that referrals generate a high volume of leads.

  • 54%

    54% say that referrals have a lower cost-per-lead than other channels.

  • No.2

    Marketers rate referrals as the 2nd-highest source of quality leads.

6. Stories can turn complex or mundane services into meaningful narratives

For many organisations, their products and services may come across as dry or difficult for people to engage with. Customer stories that show a challenge and how they were helped in overcoming it, are creative and engaging. They offer a lot of opportunities for prospects to form emotional connections with a brand. These narratives are equally useful in demonstrating why customers do business with an organisation.

Conclusion

Stories connect us, engage us, and move us to tears, to laughter, to anger, to sympathy and to action. Storytelling, in the context of the business world, is simply illustrating points about a brand’s history, specialisms, offerings and customers through a narrative tale instead of outlining the points in black and white. As such they have the power to create a more meaningful and impactful brand experience.

And having customers that are brand advocates doing the storytelling for you? That is the pièce de résistance, the golden ticket, the holy grail. It brings new, fresh perspectives and unique angles to your content; putting power behind your messages. It enables your business to thrive with new and return customers, simply because they love what you do, what you stand for, and the stories you share.