Storytelling is one of the biggest marketing words of the year, just behind influencer in popularity. It’s important to craft stories that reach your buyers, and every story needs a hero. Who do you think that hero is?
Is it your brand, swooping in to save the day and solve all of their pain points? There’s certainly an argument to be made for the “brand as hero” mindset. The case is even stronger for those companies with a noble edge, such as TOMS Shoes, Warby Parker, or Patagonia. These brands appeal to buyers with their promise to give back, either in a one-for-one model that provides necessities to the less fortunate, or in Patagonia’s case, with contributions to protect the environment.
If you think of your brand as the hero in your brand story, then you’re not alone. But ask yourself: Who actually makes the journey?
Considering the Buyer’s Journey
If you answered the question above with “The buyer!” then you’re already starting to get it. Every buyer goes through a certain process before making the decision to purchase. Some have a longer journey than others, but they all go through the same stages.
Just like an epic novel, these “characters” must move through the phases of the journey before they get the reward: your product or service. So, what does that make your brand, if you’re not the hero in your own story?
Brand’s Role in the Brand Story
Every hero has a mentor, right? Luke Skywalker’s Yoda, Harry Potter’s Dumbledore, Bilbo and Frodo Baggins’s Gandalf…even Scout’s Atticus Finch, if you prefer to step away from the fantasy genre for a moment. What do these mentors all have in common? The mentor in these stories educates the hero. Your brand should provide the answers your buyers need to make their decisions, from the very first step of the journey until well after the decision has been made.
Now that you’re aware of the buyer’s role as the hero and your brand’s role as the mentor, let’s consider the buyer’s journey again. How can your brand help them on their epic quest to solve their pain points?
Benefits of Reversing the Roles
When the buyer can see themselves as the hero in your brand story, you make an instant connection. Your job is to show them that you care more about their needs than you do about your own sales. You provide them with the content needed to move from the awareness stage to the consideration stage. And as they consider your brand as the answer to their needs, you provide them with the offers they need to make the decision, whether it’s a free trial, a one-time discount, or simply a tutorial.
As you continue to mentor them through their journey, they will develop trust that eventually becomes fierce loyalty. Your brand story hero then becomes your brand advocate, and then they might just become the first-most-popular marketing word of the year: an influencer.