We're happy to share some of steps we walk clients through to repair brand storytelling imbalance. It requires a bit of work to properly profile content, but it's worth the effort to be able to create content with purpose and achieve storytelling balance.
We got some good feedback on my last blog post, with a couple of people asking what to do if they discover their brand story is out of balance.
In response, we thought it might be helpful to share some of the steps we walk a client through to help determine the best course of action for balancing your brand story.
1.) Determine if the lack of brand story balance is a good or bad thing
Imbalance in your brand story isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You first need to figure out if the imbalance is hindering purchase before you plot a plan to fix it. In our original post, we identify the most common storytelling imbalances we see, namely an over-focus on Revealing Offer and Driving Action. We know that gross imbalance in these areas is likely harmful to your customer experience. We have, however, also seen brand stories with heavier emphasis on other elements in the arc. While these could also be less than optimal, it is to analyze how your prospects and customer are engaging.
To determine whether your brand story imbalance is good or bad, ensure the heavy focus isn’t on offer and action, and then analyze your engagement (Google Analytics, etc.) for storytelling pieces. Which storytelling elements are driving clicks, time on page, have the lowest bounce rate and are leading to conversion? This will help bring clarity as to whether your imbalance is a good or bad thing.
2.) Compare against competitive profiles
In many industries, brand story profiles look similar across the competing brands. This is usually a signal that there is copycat or “me too” marketing happening in the industry. Sometimes some imbalance is ok if it means you’re distinctive.
You can achieve this by doing a manual audit of competitive content or use a tool like 8-Point Arc. Either approach is valid as long as the evaluation factors remain consistent across each competitive brand.
3.) Understand where buyers are slowing in the journey or opting out
Storytelling profiles roughly line up to the buyer’s journey and experience. For example, communicating Market Dynamics and Reflecting the Customer’s State of Mind makes more sense when presented early in the journey, while Revealing Offer and Driving Action makes more sense toward the end. Look at where your buyers seem to stall and determine if you’re light in some of the corresponding storytelling elements. A lack of balance may be presenting a disjointed experience that slows or stops the buyer’s journey.
4.) Alter your strategy to fill the holes and present the right parts of the story at the right moments in the journey
Once you’ve done the work to understand which pieces of content represent particular parts of your story, the task of lining them up to the buyer’s journey is easier. This can be as general or specific and as simple or complex as you have the capacity to handle. Ideally, you are taking into account other factors such as persona/segment, inclusion of messaging pillars, engagement type, use of persuasion techniques, etc. However, the more elements you take into account, the more complex your approach becomes. Start by getting the story balance you feel is distinctive and supportive of a generic buyer journey, and work from there.
The key is smarter content delivery will rule over more content delivery, and considering your storytelling balance is a great first step in achieving smarter content delivery.