Make a compelling connection to engage customers

An increasing number of businesses are looking for ways to enable them to reach mass audiences, share their story without compromising their bank accounts in the process, and that is where social and digital media come to the equation, with their effectiveness and lower rate in comparison to traditional media.

Although managing social media accounts is easier than ever, reaching a mass audience and grabbing their attention is not as easy as it seems, especially when you want to reach the right target audience. How can you make your story stand out and reach millions of people who are also being reached by other companies?

Let’s face it, we are often bombarded by different messages every day, via our email, social media apps and online, but if you look closely you will see that as much as you delete those spam emails and skip through online ads, there will always be a story that we could relate to, a story that made us stop what we were doing and look listen to what it had to say. Perhaps it sparked something within us, or reminded us of something we cherished.

Allow me to share a small story. Last week I had a meeting with my colleague. He took his phone out and showed me a video of an orchestra playing The Godfather movie’s theme song. That alone convinced me to watch the whole video, because it was one of my favourite movies. But he told me to concentrate and to see if anything stood out. As you probably know, the orchestra comprises many members, each playing a different instrument. With each member playing so beautifully, it is sometimes hard to stand out. But one flute player stood out, not because of her beauty or her location on stage, but because of way she moved to the music. She moved with so much soul poured into her performance that you could not help but stare at her and wonder what was going through her mind. What did that music remind her of? Could she relate to it? When it comes to reaching a mass audience, that flute player is exactly how you should be running your business.

Interestingly my colleague and I had this conversation after we had a meeting with our sister company, whose manager told us that more companies are interested in the kinds of services that my company offers. She said that her clients are looking for the right people to tell the story to the right target audience. My company has Emirati creative team members, which is extremely valuable for international organisations that would like to reach the target audience using a language that they understand.

Still, my colleague had a point. While you do need someone who knows how to speak the language of your audience, you also need to be telling the right story and your customers need to associate you with the right thing. When you think of Ferrari what comes to mind? Probably the colour red and a fast engine. How about Apple? Sleek, fashion statement and technological innovation perhaps. The best stories to tell are those that people can relate it. When you work on your business messages, make sure you connect to your audience mentally, emotionally and culturally. If they feel that you understand them, you can spark their interest and they will want to find out more about you. If your brand tells the right story, people could relate to it for generations and stick with it, no matter how many competitors pop up.

As you tell your story, make sure that your story and your brand can earn their trust. Be transparent. Do not build an image that does not portray who you really are. If you offer discounted items, do not go for a web design that consumers might confuse you with high-end brands. Share your story simply, share testimonials and be there for them when they need you by offering great customer service.

When it comes to reaching your audience, it all boils down to a story that everyone can relate to, a story that instantly establishes a bond between you. Invest in telling the right story, and building your customer’s trust. You could win them for life.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and communications consultant based in Abu Dhabi. Twitter: @manar_alhinai.

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