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Success Stories Boost Branding: How Stories Add Oomph to Your Brand
Bring Your Brand to Life with Customer Success Stories that Sell
Everyone loves a feel-good story, and that includes stories that describe how your customers used your products or services to achieve success. These stories provide an excellent way to prove your brand promise by showing how that brand promise helped other people just like them.
That means the customer success stories you tell have to appropriately represent your brand. If your target audience can't connect with or relate to the people in the success stories you share, then those stories won't help you. Even worse, those stories could hurt you because they might make people think that your brand is meant for a different audience entirely. In other words, if they don't match the demographic of the success story, they might feel isolated from the brand.
Therefore, tread cautiously when you ask your satisfied customers to share their stories, and make sure a large portion of your target audience will respond to those stories. You'll never be able to connect with all people through a success story, but you certainly want to connect with more people than you don't connect with.
Customer success stories not only bring a human element to your brand, but they also stand out from the pie-in-the-sky claims that consumers are used to hearing in ads. If you can back up your claims with believable and relatable success stories, then you've struck marketing gold!
Today, customer success stories are more important than ever, because whether you're aware of it or not, people are already talking about your business or your competitors online. Get online and do a Google search for your business name. You might be surprised by what you find. The social web is filled with people from around the world who are talking about anything you can imagine, and it's highly likely that there are conversations going on about the type of business you're in, and possibly about your actual business, on Facebook, blogs, Twitter, merchant review sites, and more. You need to be aware of those conversations, join them when you can, and be prepared to share stories to prove your credibility. Your stage is waiting on the social web. You just need to get involved and start sharing.
You can use customer success stories in so many ways, including in sales conversations, social media dialogue, content marketing, ads, brochures, presentations, and more. Start building up your archive of great customer stories, and then start sharing them with your target audience and the world. If people have great things to say about your brand and business, then make sure the broader population has the chance to hear those stories.
A word of caution: don't risk sounding overly self-promotional through your customer success stories. These stories should be tangible proof that your brand promise is trustworthy. If you rewrite customer success stories as promotional copy or sales pitches, then you damage their authenticity. The stories should be good enough to stand on their own and demonstrate how great your business is without your peppering them with promotional language and hard-sell messages.
Start gathering customer success stories today. Contact your best customers and ask them to share their stories about how your business and brand helped them. Create a Facebook page and ask customers to share their stories there (you can even offer a future purchase discount to encourage participation). If your business is local, make sure you're in online local merchant directories like MerchantCircle.com, DexKnows.com and CitySearch.com, and encourage customers to leave reviews on those sites. These listings typically rank high in Google keyword searches and can drive new business to you and listings with more reviews typically get more traffic and business.
Don't be afraid of what people might say about you in reviews. If you're living up to your brand promise, than the vast majority of reviews your business and brand gets should be positive. And if they're not mostly positive, then you have bigger problems than collecting customer success stories to build your brand.
LogoGarden.com founder and president John Williams, a leading logo design expert, literally wrote the book on brand standards for companies like Hewlett-Packard and Mitsubishi. An entrepreneur and former owner of award-winning studio Logic Design, John served as Entrepreneur.com's branding columnist for over 5 years and has written for the Kauffman Foundation's entrepreneurship.org. John's published articles include:
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