Connect Through Storytelling

February 1, 2013

By Jeffrey Hayzlett

Marketers know the best way to reach their audience is by building an emotional connection between the brand and the end user. With the advent of social media and mobile marketing, we have an exceptional opportunity to forge such a connection.

Customers are no longer sharing their experiences with your brand between the hours of nine to five, Monday to Friday, via a traditional 800 number. Their experiences have become part of your brand’s story, online, for the world to see, 24 hours a day. So how are you telling your story?

Consider these five tips when crafting the story of your brands:

  1. Engage. Identify your target audience. Decide what the keywords are for your industry. Embrace the opportunity to engage with your community in two-way conversation daily. Trust and loyalty are built over time, as with any good relationship. Remember, if you stink offline, you stink online!
  2. Educate. Your customers don’t know what they don’t know. By engaging in communities where your customers are, you are raising awareness about what it is your business does, and adding value to the relationship. Joining the conversation could be as simple as answering questions they may have (i.e., “friendsourcing”). This provides an opportunity to learn from each other; you educate them and they educate you. Then you’re on your way to positioning yourself as an influencer and industry leader.
  3. Excite. Be authentic, be positive, be transparent. Align your business with leaders who are forward-thinking, action-oriented risk takers, and who maintain a positive outlook. There will always be those (i.e., “twankers”) who don’t have those qualities. By engaging positively, you’re able to insert your unique value proposition into the relationship, and instill excitement around your product or service.
  4. Evangelize. Identify the influencers within each community. For example, on Twitter, hashtags are an effective method of organizing tweets around a particular topic, event, or existing community. Use them! Once you have an engaged, educated, excited community, the evangelizing will happen naturally.
  5. Make this a priority! Don’t be left behind; the online conversations are going on with or without you. And remember, incorporating a social media policy is vital when your team is representing your business.

Jeffrey Hayzlett, a former chief marketing officer and vice president at ANA member company Eastman Kodak, is a best-selling author and leading business expert.


"Connect Through Storytelling." Jeffrey Hayzlett. ANA Magazine. Winter 2013.

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