How to Tell Customer Stories During a Pandemic
Covid-19 has forced every company to re-evaluate how they do business. From supply chains to marketing, everything must come under a microscope.
How do we continue to market our company and tell our customers’ stories when customer experiences have become a moving target? Here are five tips for how to tell your customer’s story during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Your customers are feeling more uncertain and more isolated than ever before. Messaging that does not start from that understanding can be perceived as inauthentic and off-putting.
Luckily, you are likely experiencing the same emotions. Start crafting your messaging by investigating your own emotions and fears. Trust that your human experience, though certainly different from others, is still one that can be used as a reference point for your work.
Focus on Authentic Messaging Over Tidy Messaging
Now is the time to hand over the mic directly to the storyteller and relay their story. Their story might not be finely tuned or what you predicted but, if it is authentic, it will be more relatable. These stories give prospective customers a stronger sense of relatability to a product.
It goes against my instinct as a video producer, but I believe authentic storytelling should come before production quality. You should still rely on expert producers and editors to help make your end product look as spiffy as possible. However, if we need to shoot using a smaller crew than normal or even manage with phone footage, it can be done in order to achieve a stronger level of authenticity.
Make Your Stories More About the Customer than the Product
Nobody wants to be sold something during a stressful period, and many are likely putting an entire hold on purchasing decisions. Remember that your customers are the hero and not your product.
Advertising and telling stories now is a longer-term investment in future customers. If we focus less on the immediate sale and instead focus on building goodwill with long-term prospects, we don’t alienate those who currently cannot purchase and still attract those who can.
Make Your Stories Small and Local
This pandemic is happening to people right where they live, and they feel further away from everything all at once. Circles are becoming tighter, and it is harder to relate to stories from further outside our proximity.
We need to start thinking of our storytelling as a slice-of-life anthology series rather than a global movie event. By focusing on keeping stories small and local, we can tell more stories than ever before.
Ignore the Negativity
If you are telling enough stories, you are going to generate a lot of opinions. Opinions say more about the opinionated than they do about the object. Some will come from a point of cynicism and some from optimism.
Your job is to create a message for the optimistic and to prevent the loud cynics from deterring you from your mission. Being a marketer is hard. Telling stories is hard. When we listen to the negativity, we’re just making it harder.
I am extremely lucky to have had experience telling a wide range of business stories from dog-walking services to international banks. I would give this same advice to both. Most importantly, for your sanity throughout this pandemic, don’t be too hard on yourself if every swing isn’t a home run. What matters most is that you keep swinging.
Bryce Anderson is CFO at Lightswitch.