Consumers crave storytelling

When it comes to brands and their marketing efforts, storytelling has formally become more popular throughout the years. While it is not a new concept, more brands are using this technique in their digital marketing strategies to communicate with audiences and take people on a journey to tell their story, build relationships and encourage people to make purchases.

One brand that does an exceptional job at telling their story is TOMs. TOMs is a company that sells shoes, glasses and other items. Anytime you purchase something from TOMs, you’re giving back by providing a pair of shoes to a person in need, providing eye surgery, as well as other things. TOMs excels in storytelling because they are selling more than just shoes, they’re selling a belief system. The company creates and sells products that are an indication of an authentic and meaningful narrative.

Now, think if TOMs didn’t use storytelling in their marketing strategy. Would you be compelled to purchase a pair of shoes from TOMs if their strategy was focused on the shoes and how they’re made, instead of how your purchase will make a difference? Probably not.

A study from Nielsen shows that consumers want a more personal connection in the way they gather information. When reading data and advertising, only the language parts of our brains work to decode meanings, whereas when we read stories, our brains light up and we actually experience what we read meaning it’s much easier for us to remember stories than hard facts.

Are there any brands aside from TOMs that you feel excel at storytelling? I’d love to hear about an example that you think is exceptional!


What makes mobile different?

Yesterday was a pretty big day for Apple as they released the new iPhone 6. I can remember the day the iPod was released many, many years ago (13 years to be exact). We’ve seen mobile progress in the last 13 years and the release of the iPhone 6 is just another reminder to marketers that mobile is here to stay.

In order to understand smartphone consumers and the mobile movement, check out the following video from Google.

After taking an in-depth look into the rise of the smartphone craze, some of Google’s findings include:

  • 81% of smartphone users access the Internet on their mobile devices
  • 59% use the Internet on their phones while waiting
  • 43% would give up beer if they would otherwise have to give up their smartphone

While the stats are enough of a reason to join the mobile movement – the question marketers should be asking themselves – what makes mobile different? One of the main characteristics is that it is highly personal. It is a new medium for marketers to talk to their customers in real-time, wherever they are.

Another takeaway about mobile that marketers need to be conscious about is that smartphones aren’t the only possible devices being used by consumers. Creating a highly personal experience is important, but creating an optimized user experience – on desktops, full tablets, smaller tablets and smartphones – is also crucial for success in developing a mobile presence.

My question to you is – how do you use your smartphone in your daily life? Are there any brands you interact with on mobile?

Persuasion is everything in design

Persuasion has become a routine part of our daily lives – whether your friends or children are persuading you to do something, or a politician is persuading you to vote – persuasion is all around. Aside from family, friends and politicians, did you ever think that you’re being persuaded by brands, too?

Richard Perloff’s The Dynamics of Persuasion lists the following five ways to understanding persuasion, particularly how good web design is used to enhance a brand:

  • Persuasion is communication. At its core, persuasion needs a strong, clear message sent from one party to another.
  • Persuasion is an attempt to influence. Understanding your audience and what makes them tick makes your attempt more likely to succeed—though the outcome is never guaranteed.
  • Persuasion involves more than words. Aesthetics, interactions, ease of use, and other factors can make a website or application more persuasive to potential users.
  • Persuasion is not coercion. It is up to individuals to form or change their own attitudes. Utilizing dark patterns or purposely tricking a user into doing something they wouldn’t otherwise do is not persuasion. It’s being an asshole.
  • Persuasion can reinforce attitudes. Your audience has opinions that need to be strengthened from time to time. If you don’t preach to the choir, someone else will, and eventually your faithful followers will be led astray.

If you’re looking to enhance your brand and effectively persuade consumers through good web design, you need to account for the following elements:

  • Message: promotion of the site, what’s being said, marketing efforts, content, and copy
  • Design: attractive design, visual hierarchy, navigation, and layout
  • Delivery: ease of navigation, load time, user experience, rewards, and bells and whistles

With these points, are there any websites you think succeed in persuading consumers through design?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.