Using evocative stories to fuel growth in the D2C space

The key to be heard in a crowded marketplace is to build a distinctive and compelling narrative around your brand that strikes a chord with your customers.
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Have you ever wondered why our mothers would start telling a story, “Once upon a time…”, when we were kids? It was because stories have the power to grab and hold the attention of an extremely restless kid who wants to do 10 things at the same time.

We adults aren’t any different in the connected world where every screen is trying to grab our attention with 100s of products advertised every second to make our lives better. So, then, the question is how do we grab and hold the attention of the consumer?

The answer is you need to have your Moat.

As popularised by Warren Buffet, Moat is ability to maintain an unfair advantage over your competition to protect long-term profits and market share.


So, what is your Moat?

It is undoubtedly the story or the unique narrative that your brands build and makes it position itself in the consumer’s mind because it will be a matter of time that your competition will ape your product ingredient, design, price, taste or the end-benefit, but it is impossible for the competition to take the mindspace that your story has created in the consumer’s mind. Even if they attempt to come close to that, it will work counter-intuitive to their brand sales.

Storytelling is non-negotiable for D2C brand

D2C brands are built with a purpose, they appeal to a specific set of consumers who believe in their philosophy and hence buy them.

If you don’t have a unique story that consumers can relate to or believe in, you don’t stand a chance against large established companies with massive marketing budgets, ability to deep discount, own the shelf space and control of the whole ecosystem.

How to start building a unique story?

The role of storytelling is to grab and hold the attention and transport to a world where they are part of that belief and story.

1. Start with asking yourself what problem or gap am I addressing for the consumer?

(Identifying your tangible differentiator, it can come from product, price, need gap or addressing a life-stage) Example: I am Beardo and I see a gap in the male grooming space where either there is mass market FMCG products or very niche expensive international or professional products.

2. Defining who your brand is for?

(Knowing your audience is the foundation) Example: I am Mamaearth and I want to address the gap of toxin-free products for mothers and kids.

3. What is the purpose of my brand?

(Articulate your single-minded consumer benefit in one line) Example: Casper – People spend a third of their life sleeping, they better sleep well then.

4. Craft raison d’etre

(Write 500 words about your brand’s unique reason from existence history, evolution, beliefs, products, services, giving back, future goals) Example: Harry’s Shaving – Making shaving products thoughtfully at a fair price, owning an old German razor factory to standing for mental health for men, all weaved together with products and philosophy.

5. Decoding the archetype?

(Helps in forming guardrails around who your brand is for and who brand is not for and guide a consistent tone of voice) Example: KeepSafe by Marico is a Caregiver brand archetype like WWF, Unicef Innovation Fund, TOMS and Puresense is an Innocent brand archetype like Coca-Cola, Nestle or Evian Water.



6. Evaluate the story with your offering

(It is most important to validate that your story is unique, authentic and stands true to the products) If you make a mistake here, consumers will never forgive you.

Once these steps are crossed, then take the narrative and create consistent communication across D2C website, blog content, social media engagement, digital media ads, influencer engagement, offers, loyalty and whole 360 sensorial of your brand touchpoints.

Remember, if the storytelling is right, unique and relatable, story-selling will be always right and fuel your D2C growth story.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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