From bagged salads to deodorant, everyone needs and buys consumer packaged goods (CPGs). Companies that produce or sell CPGs have the advantage of enduring demand, as consumers will always need these products, even in times of market fluctuation or recession. But, the CPG market is saturated, and switching costs are low for consumers who can easily substitute your brand for another. Something as simple as shelf placement can determine whether a customer buys your product or a similar-looking replacement, which isn’t good for brand loyalty.
So how can CPG companies increase brand loyalty and recognition? A brand storytelling strategy is a powerful tool that can make your product stand out in a customer’s mind and create a lasting impression. In a saturated market loaded with comparable products, minor distinctions in product performance or perceived quality aren’t enough to sway a purchase. But if you tell people a story that allows them to connect with the values your company represents, suddenly they can make a personal connection with your brand—and have a strong reason to choose your particular product.
The Importance of Branding: What Does Your Brand Mean to Customers?
Branding isn’t a new strategy and probably is one your company uses already. It’s a strategy that’s been around since at least the 1950s when the explosion in consumer products required a new marketing strategy that went beyond demonstrating a product’s efficacy, value, or price point. While most areas of business involve a scientific process of gathering and analyzing data to make decisions or follow a business model, developing a brand is an art.
To start creating a brand, determine who your customers are. Gather as much demographic data as possible to learn things like your customer base’s age, sex, geography, religion, political affiliation, or income levels. More importantly, do members of your customer base belong to any shared sub-cultures? Cultural involvement is important information because it can help you uncover your consumer base’s values, which are the most important feature of a brand.
When there are so many products on the market that fulfill the same purpose, consumers don’t have to make purchasing decisions anymore simply to fulfill needs or wants. Today, people make certain purchases to make statements about themselves. In this way, shopping has become a way to express one’s identity. And a well-branded product holds personal meaning for a customer.
Take a traditional branding example: PC versus Mac users. Both types of computers can enable users to work, play, socialize, and use the internet. Still, each type of computer has its own loyal customer base and few people own one of each. Sure, PCs and Macs have different operating systems and have differences in how they process information or create content, such as graphics. But these days Windows and Apple applications can be used on both PCs and Macs. That means something else is driving brand loyalty among consumers, and that something is brand identity.
How to Implement a Brand Storytelling Strategy to Solidify Consumer Loyalty
What sort of brand identity should your company assume? It’s simple: an identity that’s similar to that of your customer base. Your brand should value what your customers value. If your CPG is a sports drink popular with gamers, participate in gamer culture. If your oatmeal cookies are popular with older demographics, use packaging reminiscent of designs from the 1950s or 60s. The examples are endless.
If health-conscious consumers love your granola, donate a percentage of your profits to a charity dedicated to improving public health, such as the American Heart Association. Then, make sure to include that information on your product’s label. Knowing that a small part of the purchase price will go to a beloved charity gives your customers a powerful benefit; the feeling of participating in a good deed. This is a potent strategy for bringing a customer closer to a brand, and has worked for many Fortune 500 companies, such as Starbucks or Target.
In short, your brand should generally align with your customer’s beliefs, values, and dreams. It will make your brand resonate with new customers and deepen the relationship with customers you already have.
Elements Your Brand Storytelling Strategy Should Include
Tell people a story about who you are as a brand. People love stories, and stories can even make information easier to remember. One way of doing this is by imagining your company as a character or a mascot who embodies your values. Another is to mythologize the history of your brand. You might tell the story of the family or sole entrepreneur who began the company. By exemplifying it’s values—like hard work or determination—that family or entrepreneur grew the business into the success it is today.
Then, find places where you can tell your brand story in the shopping moments that matter. For example, imagine that a new customer encounters your product on a store shelf. The customer looks the packaging over; something about it has captured their interest. Wouldn’t it be helpful if you could tell the story of your brand while the product is in the customer’s hands? At a moment like this, a compelling brand story could be a strong influencing factor in closing the sale.
The good news is that with new technology, now you can. Using a mobile app, you can present your brand’s story while customers are at the store shelf. Until recently this was nearly impossible to do. But a mobile shopping app can play a video commercial while shoppers are in-aisle, teaching the customer about your brand’s story and values right before they make their purchase decision. Instead of putting your product back on the shelf and walking away, now the customer knows why your product is different and better than the similar ones around it.
A Brand Storytelling Strategy is More Effective With Shopkick
One of the best ways for customers to engage with your brand is through a mobile app. Users can access their apps from wherever they are, and the increasing popularity of apps makes them the perfect environment to foster customer-brand interaction. Try presenting your brand story to potential customers through a mobile shopping app that gets users attention, like Shopkick.
Shopkick incentivizes customers to develop brand relationships, try new products, and make purchases by offering reward points, called “kicks,” which are traded for online gift cards. Customers can earn kicks for engaging with branded in-app content, for visiting their favorite stores, and for interacting with or purchasing products. Push notifications can offer promotions or drive customers to shelves where they can interact with your product. And when customers aren’t shopping, they can still engage with your brand and learn more about your products just by using the app at home.
One of the best ways for customers to engage with your brand is through a mobile app.
After you’ve carefully crafted your brand storytelling strategy, present it to customers within the shopping app, fostering engagement. When you’re looking for the right environment for brand interaction, choose Shopkick, the app that has demonstrated success for several CPG brands.
Shopkick helps our partners get new or existing customers engaged with their brand’s story. Working with our mobile app will deepen your customer relationships, increase customer loyalty, and drive greater sales. Contact us and let’s get started.
Image courtesy of patpictchaya