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Insights,Power of brands

When You Are Not the Star in Your Story

It can be hard to accept, but when it comes to your brand story it would be wrong to think you are the main star or hero. Then, who is the protagonist? Your customer! He or she is the main character in your brand’s story, and you will help him/her as a guide to reaching success.

But a big question arises here, how do you know what success looks like for your customer, and how will you be the perfect guide to help them reach that? The best way to know what success looks like for your customer is through consumer insights and knowing the why behind your target audience. As John Hagel III in his HBR article, Every Company Needs a Narrative describes it “Building a successful narrative requires a deep understanding of your customers: How are their needs evolving? What are the big opportunities that would excite and inspire them? What are the challenges or obstacles they would confront in seeking to address those opportunities? What actions will they need to take in order to overcome those obstacles and achieve the opportunity? Are those actions something that the company could help them to pursue?”. For me, all of these questions come together as knowing your customer’s profound insights.

So, how do you gather customer insights to help them through the path to success? When a brand becomes the guide to a customer is because that brand has achieved something higher with them. The brand is not only fulfilling the customer needs by themselves, but they are also reaching to the resonance level and that brand has connected with its consumers. Getting consumer insights can involve a lot of time and resources, but if done right it will be worth it.

A few years ago I help conduct qualitative research for a company, to understand the reason why consumers prefer them over their competitors. With this research project, our main goal was trying to find areas of improvement for this brand so they could focus on serving their customers even better. What we found out was beyond interesting and reinforced the importance of understanding the insights in your customers. When talking to the customers in focus groups we discovered that their main goal in life was to have successful families, and how they viewed success was not about money, it was about having family unity, health, and memorable times together. When the company understood this and translated it to its main marketing message the image and the way they communicated changed drastically. They finally knew their role in their consumer’s life, they were not the protagonist, they were a guide that would take them to have those successful families they aspired to. Their products became a secondary aspect in their communication pieces, and everything became about those family moments their customers dreamt of.

So, to be able to tell your brand story and be the guide your customers need to understand their deepest desires and how your brand will be able to take them to that success or higher purpose. As the HBR article Make Your Brand Story Meaningful mentions “The best stories have a key message — a driving force that underpins the “why” and builds the connection of why the audience should care. Purpose is about relevance. Relevance is about creating meaning out of the influx of experiences with the audience by listening to them.” What this is saying is really listen to your customers and they will tell you their “purpose”, and by gathering this insight you will have the map to be the perfect guide in your brand story.


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