Thinking about some of the greatest fictional works in literature, you have some rather iconic characters. You have Bilbo and Frodo Baggins from J.R.R. Tolkien’s world of Middle-Earth, Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Pevensie children from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, and Harry Potter from JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series. It’s easy to think of your business as the hero in your brand story, but what do all these stories have in common besides being iconic pieces of literature? They all have strong supporting characters that help the main character achieve their goal.
Where would Harry be without Hermoine? Middle Earth would have been decimated had it not been for the leadership of Gandalf and the support of Sam Gamgee. The Pevensie Children wouldn’t have met Aslan if Mr. and Mrs. Beaver didn’t bring them to him. If there was no white rabbit, Alice would have never found Wonderland. When it comes to your brand story, we’ve already talked about your consumers being the heroes of the story. So where does your business fit in? You’re the Sam Gamgee to the customer’s buyer’s journey. You listen to them, provide information, and give some motivation when they need it. This is how you become the guide of your brand story.
Give a listening ear…
Being friendly is the first step to being a great guide. Anyone who has ever been on an adventure knows that the best guides are those who are friendly and hospitable. In this way, it should be easy for consumers to have your ear and receive your direction. Imagine if there was no rapport between Sam and Frodo or Harry and Hermoine? The story would fall unceremoniously flat and so will your brand story if you don’t engage with your audience in one way or another.
You can be a listening guide by having great customer service and utilizing chatbots for your website. Chatbots answer basic questions, reducing wait time outside of business hours. It’s also important to interact with consumers on social media. It’s actually expected. 90% of millennials expect brands on social media to reply within the day and 44% expect you to reply within the hour. Replying to their messages shows that this relationship is a two-way street, much like the aforementioned characters.
When talking about the wisest characters in literature, Gandalf the Grey (later Gandalf the White), deserves to be in the conversation. Most people recognize him as the initial leader of the Fellowship of the Ring and the instigator of the adventure in The Hobbit. He’s also referred to as “The Grey Pilgrim.” He earned this moniker by traveling through the Westlands of Middle-Earth to learn the land and the hearts of the inhabitants. Whenever Gandalf led the quest in The Hobbit, and when he guided the Fellowship of the Ring, he had lots of experience with Middle-Earth and the inhabitants therein.
Much like Gandalf, you have lots of experience in your industry and you can lead those who are on their own journey. You can show them the wonderful aspects of what you do and you can lead them around potential pitfalls. This is called thought leadership and it is important in gaining your consumers’ trust. Almost 60% of business decision-makers awarded business to an organization due to that organization’s efforts in thought leadership. 58% of decision-makers read thought leadership pieces for an hour or more a week. Becoming a thought leader is important to your marketing strategy but it’s also pivotal in your consumers’ purchasing decisions.
Thinking back to the Harry Potter books, Harry always made it through whatever obstacle in his path with a little help from his friends. With such a wide cast of colorful characters, we can’t overlook the motivator of Harry and Co, Albus Dumbledore. Professor Dumbledore was always there for Harry whether it was backing him up after Voldemort’s return, giving him information on Tom Riddle, or words of motivation scattered throughout every book of the series. Dumbledore was such a motivational individual, Harry named his team of wizards Dumbledore’s Army.
Sometimes your consumers are right on the edge of making a decision but they still aren’t sure. It never hurts to give them a little motivation. You can offer a loyalty program that rewards your consumer for repeat purchases. Repeat customers spend 67% more than first-time customers and customer retention can ultimately lead to a 95% boost in sales.
You can also use pop-up discounts to help sweeten the deal a little. While they may seem annoying, using them sparingly could generate 40% more leads. Awesome right? People tend to justify purchasing an item when they’ve been given a discount.
So, are you ready to guide your consumers on their next adventure? While they’re the main character and they have the choices to make, you can guide them on their adventure and show them the way, motivating them to make the best choice in the end. To be fair, who would rather be Frodo than Gandalf anyways?