With the holiday season in full swing, there’s no better time of the year to show gratitude and appreciation for others. Businesses are no exception to this, and December is a great time for companies to show gratitude for their customers by telling them how much they matter. One way to do this is through the use of storytelling, specifically where the customers become the heroes.
Inc. Magazine describes in one article the importance of this concept by sharing how companies fail when they idolize their product, rather than celebrating the individuals who buy and use their goods and services every day. By using storytelling to show customers they aren’t taken for granted, it can impact a company’s success for the rest of the year. This can be done in a number of ways, but the key to putting this practice into action is always tying the story back to consumer’s importance.
TECHNIQUES IN PRACTICE
Coca-Cola is one company that has demonstrated this tactic using the “Share A Coke” campaign. By focusing attention on its customers and positioning them as the connection between a random individual and a heartfelt coke, the company was able to center the campaign around consumers and transform them into the hero. Similarly, by creating ads that showed individuals sharing a coke with someone they barely knew all the way to a lifelong friend, it evoked an emotional reaction that helped customers connect with the campaign.
Western Union also created a campaign called #WUHomeCooked that made its customers the heroes and cultivated an emotional response from its audience. After observing that food was a common theme on its social channels, Western Union hatched a plan to surprise customers with their favorite home-cooked meals from their family in other parts of the world. By interviewing customers about what food they missed most from home, Western Union then skyped the clients’ families for the recipes, made the dish, and served it to the individuals, alongside a video call from their family. This project not only expanded off Western Union’s key service of sending money between borders, but it also reminded customers that the company cared for them on an individual basis. Similarly, through the use of the hashtag “#WUHomeCooked,” many others were inspired to share their holidays meals via social media, further spreading the campaign’s message. By turning its customers’ families into heroes, while being the link that connected families, Western Union simultaneously demonstrated the company’s value for its clients, as well as its quality service.
There are many ways for businesses to turn their customers into heroes, but the key to success is evoking an emotional response. Whether it be the person who shares a coke with a stranger or the daughter who still ate her favorite home-cooked meal when she couldn’t afford to travel home for the holidays, engaging the audience is crucial. By telling a story that customers want to invest in, and then presenting them as the heroes, it provides the perfect opportunity for companies to relay to consumers how important they are to their organization. This season, instead of focusing on building up your product or service, work to build up the customers who make it all possible.