5 Ways to Avoid Blah-Blah in Wine Storytelling
Lately there is a lot of noise about storytelling. It is in vogue. Titles like “Storytelling is the New Marketing…” or “10 storytelling wines for Valentine’s day” or even “The Most Important Question To Ask A Winemaker” all point to the same topic, storytelling.
It is a hot topic and branded stories are coming into the spotlight because it is a great way to grab the attention of consumers. However, few brands are doing it well and authentically. To tell a good story and engage audiences takes a lot of listening in the first place. Listening to the audience means taking time, time that businesses are not willing to give themselves. They just rather throw things, ideas, and tales out there. That is just plain dangerous and useless.
A lot of blah-blah-blah creates only noise and confusion.
In theory, storytelling is about giving goosebumps, not about simply telling a story. Anyone can tell a story, it can either be a bedtime story or it can be one that is compelling and evokes emotions. It can be an emotionally engaging story, as the one told by Gabriella Opaz at the Digital Wine Communications Conference in Switzerland that made many cry, including myself, or it can be a story of the many generations a winery has been desperately holding onto its family traditions.
Storytelling is about personal connections. We connect with a story because we can empathize, put ourselves in the shoes of the protagonist, antagonist, or the situation in itself. We listen to a story when that story evokes some sort of emotion, experience, or any form of association in us. Are wine brands doing this?
On a practical note, storytelling is a marketing and communication activity. Has anyone ever questioned what exactly makes THE difference in wine storytelling? Has anyone questioned why storytelling is important for businesses? For sure putting the product up front is not a good way to tell an engaging story. But also constantly talking about how magnificently a business is run is not a perfect way to engage with consumers either. In reality, understanding, and executing on the answers to these questions is where telling a story about a brand can make a difference and stand out from the crowd.
Before embarking on telling a story, businesses need to think of these key points:
1. Have a strategy. Storytelling is communication and as such make it an essential part of your strategy. Without a clear marketing and communications strategy, your storytelling will be just another story that consumers have already heard before. Create a highly personal marketing strategy; putting people in the center of your efforts will make all storytelling much easier.
2. Be authentic. An approach based on personal interactions, stories and experiences can be extremely successful because they communicate authenticity. Genuineness is often lost along the way for business success, however, authentic brands, just like authentic people, will always succeed no matter how big or small, pretty or ugly, right or wrong they are. The trick is to stay truthful, honest and humble. Show both good and bad sides of your business. Share the bad as often as you share the good. Don’t glorify your product, glorify your audience.
3. Be human. Think of telling your story as you would tell the story of your life. Be emotional. Be personal. Most big FMCG brands have long understood that the way forward is connecting with consumers on a personal and emotional level. Put people, their values and their behaviors up front. Do not advertise; be human.
4. Know your audience. Who is listening to your story? Who do you want to listen to it? Who cares about your story? What is relevant for them? Know what makes them tick and know how to speak their emotional language. Remember? It is about the people, not about the product.
5. Don’t be desperate to sell. Don’t tell a story for the sake of selling an extra bottle. Do it because you want to leave a lasting impression. If you want consumers to buy from you, tell their story not your own story. Make it about them, not about your product.
To show an example of the above, PooPourri’s “Girls don’t poop” video is brilliantly making their product relevant to their female consumers. They based their brand story on a well thought out strategy, it’s authentic, human, they know their audience, and they are not desperately selling the product.
If PooPourri can do it, any wine brand can do it too! Brands shouldn't concentrate on telling the story of why their wine is different from the neighbor’s wine, or of how they are made, and why they are so great.
To market and communicate authentically with the purpose of creating a loyal consumer base, brands should tell the story of what they stand for, about the values they carry, and how they can make a difference in customers’ lives.
Communicating brand value through storytelling, not only acquires loyal customers but has also the huge potential of retaining them. Why? Because that is what consumers want, they want to connect; they want to know how your story relates to them and their lives.