By Cynthia Fodell
The Big Idea . . .
Say goodbye to the so-called Information Age. Marketers blew through that at the speed of sound. This millennium presents an even more daunting era of challenge and opportunity. Welcome to the Creative Age.
While information remains the cornerstone, the success of today’s market leaders will be measured against how effectively they embrace and maximize the information flow.
The Creative Age is defined by the creative transfer of ideas through social media channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). These mediums have ushered in a new era of intrinsically integrated marketing communications that take place in real-time, driving consumers to your product and service in the moment they are making their buying decisions. “With gathering speed, the marketplace is moving from marketer-to-consumer relationships to algorithm-to-algorithm interactions. Source: Marketing in the Era of Programmatic Consumption
Resonance Causes Change
What makes these speedy responses possible today is our practically endless flow of real-time consumer information. When a prospect takes a meaningful action on your website, via social media channels or offline (such as making a purchase at a bricks-and-mortar location), you must be able to respond with a timely and relevant email. When you automatically send a prospect a message based on an action they took (or didn’t take), you allow for the message to be delivered at the moment your brand is on their mind. You are communicating with the prospect on their terms, not yours.
“If a company understands the audience’s resonant frequency and tunes to that, the audience will move.” Source: resonate: Present Visual Stories That Transform Audiences
This approach paves the way for you to tell your company’s story using customer-centric examples of how your product or service will address their needs. The use of impactful images and a clear call-to-action opens new avenues for consumers to both discover and engage with your brand. (Case in Point: On-line shopping – I’m sure you’ve noticed when you leave items in your shopping cart, these images show up along with the “Did You Forget Something?” question every time you go to your browser to search other topics).
Your Story is Your Unique Differentiator
Human beings are hardwired to hear stories. Storytelling works, particularly when it’s relevant to your prospect’s needs and concerns. Instead of describing your product’s features, tell the story of its benefits, showcasing real-world examples of how it can be —or is being— used to solve specific problems or achieve specific goals. Source: resonate: Present Visual Stories That Transform Audiences
The following are some ideas to prompt audience engagement through storytelling:
- Customer success stories
- Case studies or use case scenarios
- Solution briefs
- Best practice summaries or reviews from existing customers
- Matrices showing outcomes or ROI comparisons
Position your messaging with a strong emphasis on what your customers want and need, based on your research and big data analysis. This practice will not only maximize your reach and readership, it will also make your offering feel safer and more appealing to prospective buyers. The implementation of the elements outlined above will reinforce your differentiators and value proposition, providing the necessary gravitas to enhance the brand; and therefore, drive growth. Source: OwnerListens Blog – Customer Service Case Study: Proactive Customer Engagement.
Facts Alone Fall Short
Conversations, not campaigns, are the mantra of the Creative Age. No one wants to be constantly blasted with email campaigns that hold no relevance for him or her. The brand strategy endemic in this era is to shape your message and push out impactful content by engaging your audience in an organic, free-flowing, meaningful dialogue. Everything you put out there should reinforce your brand personality, voice, culture, style, and image. Source: resonate: Present Visual Stories That Transform Audiences – Facts Alone Fall Short by Nancy Duarte.
Just as you do in the real world, create conversation starters that generate business-building ideas and convey keen industry insights in a manner that doesn’t just tell but also show the prospective client how your brand and its unique story will meet their needs or address what keeps them up at night.
Foster a two-way conversation that provides a reason and promotes the opportunity for a responsive and broader communication. This will serve you well in developing brand awareness tactics that highlight your differentiators in innovative and compelling ways.
“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is—it is what consumers tell each other it is.” ~ Scott Cook
Customer Experience Leaders Outperform the Market
Source: Not Your Father’s CRM by Paul Cole
Optimize Everything in the Pursuit of the Audience Experience
The overarching objective of the Creative Age perspective is an ever-present eye to where the next opportunity is coming from, in concert with its alignment with and influence on your brand. Effective leaders are consumed with thinking about how they can make this opportunity work for their respective brands, realizing that while the current social media trend provides them with a powerful tool, it does not stand alone in building their brand, creating inherent value, and increasing profitability.
Note: The headings used in this article are from the wonderful book resonate: Present Visual Stories That Transform Audiences by Nancy Duarte.