Who doesn’t want to hear a good story? We are bombarded with words, images, videos,.. on screens of all shapes and sizes. But what grabs our attention and incites our curiosity? Not a button, no. Certainly not a minefield of bright red Buy Now buttons. But a great story? Yes. A story crafted and carefully thought out to envelop our interest and make us want more. More knowledge, more freedom, more stories to share with our friends by the literal or figurative fireside.
An interesting story behind me buying that thing.
It’s not just about the Buy Now button, it’s about connecting, remembering that we’re all humans.
Now is a very exciting time for the future of shopping, particularly with the benefits that interactivity can bring to storytelling, customer engagement and the ability to hear audience points of view first hand. Despite the excitement around the Buy Now button, it is not all about #SeeNowBuyNow, but about human interaction and establishing trust with the consumer. Digital brands can remove barriers, blur the lines that once identified us and speak a global language that can be understood by a generation that spans continents and wifi zones. Online retailers are developing meaningful relationships with their customers, creating a tangible experience that is friendly and evokes curiosity, and the need for more. That tangible connection is too often lost in an increasingly digital world, but it is evident that people are longing for that deeper human connection. Buyers and sellers alike inhibit that human urge to connect with the people and the world around us. Content creators are the magicians who weave those stories and bring brands to life, remembering that branding is a mutual experience representing the identity of the brand itself and its customer.
“What justifies the pricetag besides the product… It’s storytelling.” — Neda Whitney R/GA
Disruptions to Digital Retail
Periscope and Insta-shows, Snapchat stories, shoppable video, shoppable360 videos, Pinterest and Instagram Buy Now buttons, Messaging apps’‘Conversational Commerce’, VR experiences… It’s a long list and a lot of buying expectations from brands!
Rather than embark on a omnichannel digital stampede, jumping from one social trend to another and creating customer fatigue, the best approach is to discover what social channels best suit a brand and its audience. A business must understand sustainability and not compromise the brand’s creativity in favour of its commercial motivation. It is key to keep an eye out for new emerging channels and innovations and find your place within each medium.
The Content Crafters
The most successful brands are those who invest in bringing an emotional relationship with people to the core of who they are and what they do. Take a look at Burberry and Hermès who focus less on looking inward, and more on sharing memorable and playful experiences with their audience. Both have built an omnichannel presence, but each are aware of which social networks speak to their audience, at the right time and in the right place.
Like a good friend might.
“I don’t think the world is ever going to want to stop hearing stories.” — Angela Ahrendts, former Burberry CEO.
Creating content is all about surprise and entertaining your audience. Before Christopher Bailey owned the Genius title at Burberry, for the innovative content they dish out across a myriad of channels, he was working as Creative Director with Angela Ahrendts as CEO to resurrect the brand from Chav-ville . The pair set out on an expedition to re-discover Burberry’s story and to take it out of the trenches. They flung open the doors to disrupt what they knew, or had taken for granted, about the company’s identity. Angela Ahrendts hired a cultural anthropologist to understand Burberry’s story and, with that fresh perspective, they created Burberry World. From this,Burberry Acoustic was born, a gift of beautiful music video content, to their audience. Ahrendts notes, ‘music is emotive, a great connector’. With Ahrendts now Senior Vice President of retail and online stores at Apple, it’s no surprise that Burberry Acoustic got the smarts and followed its leader to launch as a ‘Curator’ on Apple Music last September and in January, became the first fashion brand to live broadcast on Apple TV, with their Menswear show.
Burberry Acoustic launches on Apple Music
“Our business is about creating desire. It can be fickle because desire is fickle, but we try to have creativity to suspend the momentum.” — Axel Dumas, CEO Hermès.
Hermès is the quintessential luxury brand. Also an optimal example of how to create a market in digital luxury. The brand creates their stories with a sense of humour, and with that, they have dominated all the channels with beautifully creative content that reflects the brand and entertains their audience. The quality of the stunningly illustrated videos is on par with the craftsmanship that the brand has heralded since 1837.
The best thing about the website’s World of Hermès is the ‘surprises’ option where the user can play with a wealth of whimsical interactive experiences, from which Hermès are reaping the rewards, according to the strength in sales for 2015.
Where #BuyNow Wins
Rather than rushing their digital strategy, getting lost in a maze of emerging technologies, these brands do not panic and drown their stories in a digital minefield. The winning content creators are carefully constructing a deeper, more meaningful connection — a mutual relationship with their audience, where they become a part of the brand.
Alas, the crafty storytellers are being rewarded for their efforts and it is reflected in their annual sales reports. They recognise the needs and wants of their customer and provide the space where their audience can have a voice.
The Buy Now button of storytellers becomes a welcome sight.