What you need to know:
- Forget B2B and B2C. The time has come for H2H.
- Storytelling is much more impactful than just talking about yourself or overloading your audience with data.
- There are frameworks available to help you build your story. We talk about the StoryBrand Framework below.
In today’s highly digitised, content overloaded world, modern audiences’ expectations of marketing and sales material has significantly changed.
Gone are the days when you can create an ad focusing solely on your key features. Creating advertising campaigns that compare your product or service directly to that of your competitors? Those are gone too. Consumers have woken up and blabbing about yourself simply doesn’t work anymore.
Today, customers expect customised content that makes them feel heard and valued. The trend in marketing now is not to focus solely on B2B or B2C, but H2H, or Human to Human.
- Enlighten me: Acknowledge why I’m here and don’t waste my time.
- Connect with me: Don’t talk at me.
- Bring me in: Make me feel invested in the solution and consider my needs.
What is Human to Human Marketing (H2H)?
Largely popularised by marketer, Bryan Kramer, H2H marketing is effectively just removing the hoity-toity language and industry jargon from your content. Consider how the average person wants to communicate and how you’d present yourself and your business, then apply that to your digital communications.
There’s a lot we can gain from practising this style of marketing. This interview with Kramer covers four key principles of H2H marketing:
- Speak naturally (and write that way, too) – It’s easier to build a connection if the way you communicate digitally is similar to the way you would speak if you met someone in person.
- Use humour – As long as it’s appropriate, relevant and reflects your brand – go for it! This may involve working through some communications strategy development with your team, but incorporating humour into your brand voice can be very powerful.
- Roleplay with your team – #awkward. Useful though. While you may cringe at the thought of it, conducting simple exercises with teammates with at least one person acting as the customer can bring out some valuable insights. This type of activity can really help you get into their mindset and uncover selling points or hurdles that you might’ve otherwise missed.
- Start with context – No one is going to buy from you if you launch straight into your hard core sales pitch. Start by slowly sharing information and building up a rapport before asking for the sale. Email nurture campaigns are great for this! As you build familiarity, you’re also informing the audience about what you can offer and how it relates to their lives.
By applying these learnings to a brand story, you can take your marketing to the next level and skyrocket customer retention.
Storytelling as a marketing tool
We’re sure you’ve heard that brands can meet customer expectations and build loyalty through the art of storytelling. This approach blends well with the principles of H2H marketing.
With so many brands still failing to emotionally connect with their customers, we need to ask: What are they missing?
At Persuaders, we find that many of our clients know that they need to include stories, but don’t fully understand WHY or HOW to do this.
Why using stories drives emotional connection
Stories are more than simple fairy tales. As it turns out, they actually alter our brains, and can even change the way we think and act.
Storytelling focuses our attention towards human communication, building connections between people and ideas. It also assists memory, so your audience is more likely to remember your brand if they related to the story you shared.
‘Storytelling will not only increase your brand favorability in your audience’s eyes, it can also be up to 22 times more memorable than facts.’
-Noah Zandan, Quantified Communications
Some brands use stories to give shape to the raw data and make it come to life. Through storytelling, they can do more than outline the simple facts. They can convey the benefits one will receive, the experiences they could have, and reflect the values of the brand that align with those of their audience. When you start to build this picture in the mind of your customer, the desire to own your product or experience your service grows. It becomes relevant to them. They feel recognised and they relate. This kind of alignment is invaluable to brands.
How storytelling drives sales and brand loyalty
For brands to leverage the power of storytelling, they can’t simply include a ‘Once upon a time’ story in their marketing and sales material. It may tick the box in emotionally connecting with your audience, but it won’t get their buy-in or drive commercial impact.
Instead, brands need to strategically apply the foundations of storytelling to their marketing and sales communications – let’s refer to this as ‘strategic narrative’.
There are several different versions of strategic narratives. We use a few different frameworks at Persuaders, but we’re big fans of the StoryBrand version. This easy to remember, seven step process, can be applied to many different types of communication and industries.
We’ve broken it down for you in detail here, but just to review, these are the steps:
- Hero – Your customer is the hero of the story.
- Problem – They have a problem and are looking for a solution.
- Guide – You are an expert, perfectly positioned to solve their problem.
- Plan – You give them a simple, easy to follow solution.
- Call to Action – As the guide, encourage them to follow the plan.
- Success – Show them what success looks like when they follow the plan.
- Failure – Scare them a little. Show them what it looks like when they don’t work with you – even if it just means that nothing changes in their lives.
While seven steps may seem like a lot, this can actually be done very simply. Once you’ve learned the framework, you’ll start to see it everywhere – even 30 second Snickers commercials.
The main thing to remember is that this is a flexible framework, so you should generally always start the same way (relating to your customer and establishing empathy). However, after that you can move the other elements around a bit. You can also repeat parts of the framework, depending on what you’re hoping to achieve.
You don’t have to go it alone
Get the team involved and start building your brand story with a 3.5 hour Narrative Finding Workshop.