Story before Statistics - How we can learn from Subaru
I sat in silence as Andrea wiped away the tears from her eyes. The sound of suburban America permeated the room around us. I had no words, no right to understand what she had gone through. Sitting in front of me was not a statistic of human trafficking, not just another number, but a young girl willing to tell her story in the hopes of helping others like her heal from similar experiences.
Stories move us; they connect us with others, helping us empathize with the subject. Stories give us hope, motivation, encouragement. We are given a path to follow in the struggle with a common desire of fulfillment at the end. We grow up learning social behaviors and lessons from stories told. Why, then, have we fled from the notion that a product’s statistics are better than why it exists and what it stands for?
At the end of the day, your customers will decide to go with you because of what you stand for and what it means to stand with you. According to PR Newsire, a study by Mintel says that 45 percent of consumers buy products from companies they perceive as ethical. They use their heart and their minds together to make their decision. This means there is a time and a place for statistics and advantages, but what should be in the foreground of your brand is the journey you set up for your customers, utilizing the struggles as a common ground to stand together, help each other, and set yourself up as a mentor, not a pusher.
A story can drive a person to action, connect them to the message, something they’d be willing to share; facts rarely accomplish this. Tweet this
Once you have connected with your customer on a personal level, you now have the foundation to showcase your advantages over your competitors. Those advantages will equip the hero (the consumer) with a tool to sing your praise. This benefit should not be overlooked. Your community forms a choir of voices when it has a company who aligns with its values and desires; that choir will always supersede the single voice you as a brand will make bragging about yourself.
Apple built themselves upon their community and values, and without them, they would not be in the position they are today as one of the world’s most admired and valuable companies. Their story makes the customer the hero, with a desire to be unique and the struggle to find a voice. Apple rarely speaks of their competitors and their advantages; they instead have created a community who fights the battle for them more effectively. This community’s voice is stronger and easier believed as they are speaking to their friends and relatives, showing them the reasons they are proud to be a part of the Apple branded community.
Subaru aligns themselves with the lifestyles their customers resonate with, talking benefits only on their website and at the dealership, once you’ve taken the step to find out more. Why does this work? Because we as humans make far more decisions based on emotion than on reasoning.
The challenges you face as a company can resonate with your customer if you are willing to be transparent enough to let them be a part of the struggle and a hero in the victories. Are you ready to make a shift in your voice and speak out?