The key to business success is winning and keeping customers. And the key to winning and keeping customers is, and has always been, relationships. And the way to create and build relationship is only through connecting with people.
One of the best ways to connect with people is using people to deliver your brand story. This humanizes your brand and gives the audiences someone to relate to. Choosing the right person to deliver the story is crucial to not only grabbing attention but also keeping it.
People attract people who they share commonalities with. So how you do you choose a character for your story? What are the qualities of a compelling character? How do you find the right person to deliver your message? And finally, how many people do I need to deliver the message?
Secrets of a Compelling Character
To keep your audience’s attention, you must choose a character that is closely connected or appropriate to your brand identity. There are a variety characteristics of your brand and the key is to choose those you want to represent and then match them to your character. Look for these 3 characteristics as you narrow your character search.
Look for someone who is relevant to your brand and your audience. They need to share similar qualities to your brand and those listening. Naturally we relate to people based on shared interests and similarities in personality, experiences or values. For example, if your audience is moms and dads, use parents to deliver your message. They are walking in the same shoes and dealing with the same experiences. Using parents enables the audience to relate better than say using a nurse or a doctor. Remember the video of the baby cochlear implant that heard it’s mother’s voice for the first time. This was a great example of using a relevant situation to parents who have kids with hearing loss or difficulty. The result of this video would have been drastically different if the doctor would have been holding the baby versus the mother/child bond.
A compelling character is one that the audience can empathize with. Understanding and sharing the feelings of another is a powerful way to tap into the emotions of the audience. Empathy is a powerful way to bring people together. We are able to sense others’ emotions and imagine what others might be feeling or going through. Just think about when a solider returns home and you choke up as you watch the tears of joy flow as the family reunites.
In order for the audience to connect with your brand character, they must feel connected with something inside themselves first to spark a connection with your character. The audience will relate to the characters that have similar needs, wants, or troubles.
This video we did for the Columbus School for Girls is a great example of parents who want the best for their little girl, they want to see her succeed and be confident. Parents empathize with this family, as every parent wants the same for their child.
Packed with Personality
Individuals inspire by exhibiting qualities like honesty, fairness, decency, humility and empathy. Not only that but someone who gives energy as they speak. They leave you wanting more. Someone that shows enthusiasm or optimism will energize your audience.
A character that exudes genuine body language helps give the listener more insight and understanding to the message. Non-verbal language is powerful. This includes the way they are sitting, how they use their hands, facial expressions and eye contact. You want to choose someone who delivers the whole message using both verbal and non-verbal cues.
Find A Compelling Character
First understand what your brand identity looks like. Is your brand cool like Apple, rebellious like Harley-Davidson, classic like J. Crew or free-spirited like North Face? Consumers like brands that mirror ourselves, or who we’d like to become.
Take a deep look at those in your organization and your customer base to find someone who matches your brand identity. Maybe your character is a loyal customer of maybe it’s a passionate employee. Once you find a few options ask yourself these questions:
· Is this person genuine?
· Is this person seen around your brand often?
· Is this a character they could eventually get to know on a deeper level?
· Has this person struggled in his or her own life?
· How did he or she come out after the struggle? Did it shape them in positive way?
· How transparent are they?
· Are they willing to share not only their successes but also their failures and frustrations?
Throughout your selection process always consider your audience. Are you talking to parents? Are you talking to medical professionals? Are you talking to corporations? Each of these audiences requires very different characters to effectively connect the messenger with the message.
One Vs. Multiple Characters
When listening to an impactful story, your brain develops thoughts, opinions, and ideas that align with the storyteller. The most effective way to connect and tap the audiences’ emotions is to use a single character to deliver the message. This method gives them someone to care about and sympathize with. Focusing on one character gives you the chance to include more details about that person in turn causing the audience to connect with them on a deeper level. Using multiple characters dilutes the message and doesn’t have nearly the effect on the audiences’ emotions or actions.
Characters Are Powerful
To stand out amidst the marketing noise you have to get in front of enough people in an interesting and unique way. Using a strong and compelling character that your audience relates to and has empathy for changes the way your audience thinks and behaves with your brand.
You have to get them to fall in love with your message and the person delivering it so much that they'll talk about you, tweet about you, and tell all their friends to go buy whatever it is that you're selling. To get customers and potential customers to remember you and keep coming back you need a powerful brand story delivered by a compelling character.