In this guest post, Hotwire creative director Jen dobbie (main photo), says in this rush to digitise and AI the marketing process, let’s remember customers are still talking to humans along the way…
Back in the day, marketers sat firmly in two camps: B2B and B2C, and never the two shall meet. Then, as we recognised the delineation between them was so thin as to be almost non-existent, we moved to DTC and currently, the Adobe-coined BTE (business-to-everyone).
This latest incarnation, B2E, is surely the most accurate. It acknowledges that, despite the different settings in which the decisions are made, and types of decisions being made, they are always being made by human beings. That it is gaining increased momentum now, given the last 18 months acceleration of the innate desire for human connection, should come as no surprise.
Head, heart, hip pocket
Anyone who’s worked with me knows, I’m both creative and pragmatist. A story told with the purpose of forging connections for a brand must appeal to the heads, hearts and hip pockets of the reader in equal measure. Focus on one without the others can only ever deliver short term success. In a drive to deliver data driven storytelling (lead by the head), focussed on delivering immediate results to the bottom line (the hip pocket), in many ways we have left behind the most fundamental component of sustainable brand success – the human benefit – the heart of the matter.
Any brand, tech or otherwise, has to have a human- benefit at the core of everything it does, from innovation, to product, to communications, to build long term relationships across the board – from driving repeat purchase behaviour in consumers; to achieving thought leadership in industry conversations.
The benefits of human-led campaigns are clear. Deloitte reports 95 per cent of our purchasing decisions are driven by subconscious urges, the biggest of which is emotion.
Harvard Business Review found by implementing an emotional-connection-based strategy across the entire customer experience, a retailer increased its percentage of emotionally connected customers from 21 per cent to 26 per cent, reduced its customer attrition rate from 37 per cent to 33 per cent, and increased customer advocacy from 24 per cent to 30 per cent, resulting in a 50 per cent increase in the rate of same-store-sales growth.
Which is where B2E makes a welcome return. B2E is not new, having been coined in 2019, but it has become increasingly relevant, as it recognises that all decisions are being made by humans, personally or professionally, so we must deliver storytelling that is as compelling in personal or professional settings.
Fact is, human beings are hardwired to respond to storytelling. Before language, stories passed down through generations were how people learned who they were and where they fit.
In short, stories work. In the same vein, human led storytelling also recognises that what has once worked, or what has worked for some people, doesn’t mean it will work again, or for all people.
Therefore, the human benefit of a brand needs to be clear from inception, all the way through to marketing and messaging, and needs to be revisited often.
We call this human led storytelling, and it’s at the centre of everything we do.
Language is key
While branding may invoke images of logos and design – and this visual language is vital – it’s the brand tone of voice, the interplay of the visual and verbal languages, that is essential in building cohesive storytelling down the track. And yet, often the verbal is often underbaked – or entirely excluded.
The verbal language is the emotional red thread which always leads back to the human benefit. Every communication, whether internal and external, must always have the human led truth at its core. This is the basis of human led storytelling.
Whilst certainly not a new approach to anyone in the storytelling business; it’s a simple, powerful mantra that often gets lost in the increasingly complex layers of today’s messaging. Start with a simple human truth, and connect to that truth at every point using language. If we have done our job well, then this human-led storytelling permeates every message, and becomes synonymous with the brand.
Human led storytelling – a how to
- Your customers, no matter what the setting, are human beings, first and foremost. How is your brand helping them? How do you care for them? What is the journey they take through your communications? Everything you do stems from answering this one question, and often the best way to answer it is to ask your customers directly. According to this statistic, 68 per cent of customers walk away from a product or service because of “perceived indifference”.
- Everyone is different. A one size fits all approach won’t work. Make your communications curated and personalised wherever possible. Who is your audience? Are you representing them in all your communications?
- Be careful about the language you use – it needs to be authentic to build trust and therefore human connection. It must have the human benefit at its core, and it must permeate everything. Finally, it must be backed up by your actions, or it won’t resonate.
- Be respectful. Human beings are not walking hip pockets. We don’t want to be annoyed, stalked or treated transactionally. Humans ultimately want to be understood and assisted in making our complicated lives a little easier.
- Data is important – but it doesn’t stand alone. Data ultimately needs to be collected and used with the human benefit at its core. Data used after losing sight of this makes things worse.
- Sales is not the only focus. If your focus is to drive sales, but forgetting the human benefit, you won’t succeed. Focus instead on human connection and establishing trust – the sales will flow from there.
We’re Hotwire Australia. A bunch of bright sparks, bound by an irrepressible spirit of mateship. Each business brand we drive is testament to the tech fanaticism that makes us irreplaceable. We hunt for human truths at the heart of tech complexity, and craft them into irregular tales of tech that leave investors, prospects and talent irretrievably drawn to act. From Scaleups to Stalwarts, we make the technical, irresistible. Find out more.
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