It doesn’t matter what type of business you’re running or even the industry that you’re operating in — the most important quality at the center of all successful marketing campaigns is and will always be a good story.
Storytelling in marketing is certainly nothing new — not only does it allow you to take better control over the narrative of your brand, but it also gives consumers something naturally compelling and emotional to latch onto. If they can see themselves — even some small quality — within that story, sooner or later they’re going to be able to better identify with your business, too. At that point, you’ve done more than just help secure a sale — you’ve created a major competitive advantage for yourself at the exact same time.
But storytelling in marketing is also going through something of an evolution over the last few years, and it’s one that couldn’t have come along at a better time. These days, the most successful brands know that their customer bases are more diverse than ever — which means that your approach to brand storytelling needs to reflect that. This simple fact has given rise to an era of inclusive storytelling and if you truly want to take advantage of it for yourself, there are a few key things to keep in mind.
What Is Inclusive Storytelling?
At its core, inclusive storytelling is exactly what it sounds like — it’s a way to frame your brand’s narrative in a way that engages consumers in sharing in the types of experiences and identities that they truly care about, thus creating an invaluable connection between your business and those consumers at the exact same time.
To put it another way, it’s an approach that attempts to bring as many people into your brand’s story as possible in a way that is active and engaging in equal measure. It involves creating content that appeals to not a select few, but everyone — regardless of their background.
It’s also something that has become incredibly popular with younger consumers in particular. According to one recent study, about 70% of Millennials say that they’re more likely to choose one brand over another if the brand in question demonstrates that they care about inclusion and diversity.
Getting Started With Inclusive Storytelling: Breaking Things Down
Acknowledging the diverse makeup of your target audience is one thing. Actually leveraging that to its maximum impact is another thing entirely. Marketing success is always about getting the right message in front of the right person at exactly the right time. Therefore, if you want to make a bigger push into the world of inclusive storytelling in the new year, it stands to reason that “Step One” involves finding out as much as possible about who those “right people” actually are within this context.
Begin by examining your target audience beyond a simple demographic perspective as you may have done in the past. Dive deep into who your real customers are, what they like and what they care about. Craft content and especially video collateral that plays directly into these factors. You need to show people that you truly understand them and that you’re speaking directly to them, especially if they happen to be a part of a group that has historically been underserved.
Another great way to bring inclusive storytelling to your diverse customer base involves getting inspired by and ultimately celebrating those real customers whenever possible. Case in point: customer testimonial videos. This has long been a technique used to engage audiences by savvy brands in the Internet era, but by bringing inclusively into the equation you can take this effect one step further.
Don’t just create videos that show how people positively responded to your products and services — show A) how their experience with your brand made their lives better in some way, and B) how diverse their lives are to begin with. Show prospective customers just how diverse your existing audience truly is and do so in a way that lets the people speak for themselves. The overall makeup of this group couldn’t be more different, but they all ultimately share one thing in common — an affection for what you have to offer. By bringing these people into the story, they therefore BECOME the story — and those consumers who may still be on the fence will absolutely sit up and take notice.
Overall, you need to stop telling people what you THINK they want to hear and start creating stories that play directly into the things you KNOW they care about. That’s how you create a connection with a diverse customer base and that’s how you build a true relationship with your target audience in every sense of the term.
Empower Your Audience, Empower Your Brand
Yes, inclusive storytelling will likely require you to change the way you’ve always thought about content creation. But that’s okay — because your audience is only going to get more diverse over time than it already is. Rather than seeing this as an obstacle to be overcome, you should look at it for what it really is: an opportunity just waiting to be taken advantage of to create even more powerful experiences with your brand moving forward.
If you don’t feel like you have the capacity to manage this level of inclusive storytelling on your own, don’t worry — there are many experts in the field who are more than happy to help. At Eaton Creative Group, for example, we’ve been working with businesses for years to create the type of content that speaks not to any audience, but to the most diverse audience possible. Content that makes people feel less like they’re passive observers in your brand’s journey and more like they’re the active participants you need them to be.
So if you’d like to find out more information about bringing inclusive storytelling to your diverse customer base, or if you have any additional questions that you’d like to discuss with an expert in a bit more detail, please don’t delay — contact Eaton Creative Group today.