Stories are about creating a connection. They are about creating a link between speaker and listener that provides a unique experience. Used in this manner, stories are incredibly powerful, and this is also why they are an effective strategy to create trust. The best brands have long realized the power of stories to build a connection with their audience. They have developed brand stories that not only connect with their customers but also inspire them and breed trust in the brand. But as you know, the insurance industry does not generally inspire a lot of trust from consumers. Some feel that an insurance agency will look out for itself first, and its clients second. In this industry, trust can be a bit hard to come by. However, even in the insurance industry, it is possible to create a brand story that inspires customers and forges a connection with them. How do you go about developing such a brand story? What should go into your brand story and how will it help you create the trust your customers crave?
The power of a great story
Remember how you felt as a kid when you heard a great story? Do you recall how you felt after reading a good book that hit all the right chords within you? That’s what a great story can do. If you wonder why stories are so effective, science indicates that it’s because they are a powerful tool in human communication. Studies show that the human brain responds to the descriptive power of stories in profound ways. This occurs in two main ways. First, it affects the sensory and motor cortex, allowing you to almost literally live the story. Second, it synchronizes the mind of both speaker and listeners in a process called neural coupling. When this occurs, both speaker and listener live the story at the same time, allowing both to interact in a dynamic and unique way. It produces comprehension, understanding, anticipation and receptivity, thus generating trust. This phenomenon explains that feeling you get when you hear the right story. It also explains why consumers are more comfortable buying from brands that have inspiring, heartwarming and engaging stories. Huge brands like Coca-Cola have unlocked this power of brand storytelling and routinely use it to drive massive sales for a product that would have been ordinary otherwise. But not just any story will do. To successfully create trust, you need to know how to create the right kind of story. That’s exactly what we’ll show you next.
Steps to creating a brand story that works
There are only a few fundamental steps to creating the perfect brand story. But as brands with successful stories have shown, the whole is often more than the simplicity of the parts. Here are the steps you need to keep in mind.
None of the best stories are forced. They come naturally, perfect in their authenticity. For your story to be authentic, it must be true. It must be exactly who you are and what your brand stands for. When customers can test your story and find it true, it reinforces your brand and strengthens the connection you have forged.
Make it simple
Simple stories are better. Why? They’re easier to digest, understand, savor, and share. While you may appreciate the twisting complexity of a Sherlock Holmes plot, you cannot import that complexity into a brand story. And your audience will get bored long before they get the point. To ensure it stays simple, use this three-part model. Give your story a beginning, a middle and an end. Here’s what should be in each:
- Beginning: Explain the problem that your brand set out to solve.
- Middle: Describe how you solved the problem.
- End: Showcase your success and how it is continuing.
Give it personality
Your brand story should not read like an ad or a sales pitch. That will be a mistake. If it reads that way, customers will find it insincere and untrustworthy. They will feel you have simply told a tale to get them to buy from you. Needless to say, that will be a disaster. Your story should be driven by personality. How do you infuse personality into your story? Make it human. Let it be inspired by the acts of those that participated in the story and developed the saga of growth and success.
Let it connect with your audience
This is the part about the story that should relate to the relationship you want to build. You want your audience to eventually become your clients. Tell your story in a way that shows you understand their dreams, aspirations, challenges, and relate to them. Let your story read in such a way that the target audience resonates with it and wants to be part of the story. Done this way, the story engages the audience and lets them truly live it.
Let your service tell the story
Perhaps, most important of all, your service must continue tell your story. The obvious reason for this is: a beautiful story based on a less than stellar service will fail dramatically. This is the equivalent of walking the talk. Only, it’s your service that does the walking, while you do the talking. When your service tells the story, your customers can literally buy into it. By creating a great brand story, you create a magnet that will attract customers. But to actually attract them, you need to get in range.
How do you create awareness for your story?
A good story shares easily. Everyone that encounters it will appreciate it and your target audience will be enthralled by the experience. But how do you ensure that your story gets to the point where it will have the most effect? By getting people to tell your story. Here are tips that will help you do that.
- Your story starts from within: Your first story tellers are your staff. Everyone must know, appreciate, understand, and buy into the story. Since your team have their personalities embedded in the story, they will also be the first line of getting your story out. Encourage them to tell the story everywhere.
- Use social media shrewdly: Social media has become one of the greatest business tools of the 21st century. It will also help you share beautiful sound, video, and text bites that will help you build a presence suffused by your inspiring story.
- Get your customers to tell your story: Customer testimonials are the greatest validator of a brand. But remember, they will only tell a positive story if they have had a positive experience. There are no free dinners here. Make sure you blow their minds away.
- Consistently do things that reinforce your story: One thing that most fail to appreciate about a brand story is the fact that it is a continuing experience. It is always growing and evolving along with the brand. So, ensure you do things that reinforce your story and make it even better.
Without doubt, stories are powerful. And used correctly, you can harness their power to create a powerful presence for your insurance agency. You can use the power of your brand story to build trust.
This post previously appeared on Agency Nation on December 20, 2019.
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