Stories are an important element of every culture. They have emerged from oral tradition. Stories have the capability to attract and hold the attention of the audience. That is why it is one of the top strategies used in financial services marketing. Stories are of particular importance in the financial services industry. This is because they can be used to connect with readers, demystify complex concepts and sell products to potential customers. We will be looking at the use of storytelling in crafting compelling narratives to connect with customers.
The Importance of Telling Stories
In this age of high technology and data analytics, the role of the finance professional has transformed from being a number cruncher to that of telling and selling information that needs to be known and understood to gain support from colleagues and purchasing from customers.
People who just deliver financial information in presentations that are crammed with details are not really appreciated in today’s world. Their presentations lack the warmth and connectivity that are associated with others who have taken the trouble to include case studies and personal examples at decision points within a story that correlate with consumer experiences. This is why storytelling has become more important even within the financial services industry.
How Storytelling Can Help in the Financial Services Industry
Storytelling is a concept that has been used in the financial services industry for quite some time. It helps to know your customer aspirations, values and pain points so that stories can be constructed and buyer personas can be developed around these narratives. The following are four reasons why storytelling should be employed in the financial services industry.
1. It can help to demystify financial concepts.
It is true that understanding financial concepts can be difficult for most people. If you include a story that is engaging and impactful, it can serve as a hook for your customers. Financial concepts can be explained in the simplest terms so that potential customers understand them easily. Readers should understand the basic concepts behind each product so that they can decide if they are worth purchasing. They should also evaluate its pros and cons.
2. It can help in building trust.
Stories are a unique way of getting customers to trust you. A company can draft stories that identify with the values that a customer respects and reveres. Storytelling can help in building trust and credibility with customers. This is done with the use of compelling narratives and examples that align with a customer’s unique needs and desires. For example, creating a story that supports green initiatives and product sustainability will be appreciated by customers for whom these concepts are important. It can help them better engage with the company and its products and make the sales process that much easier.
3. It can help in communicating company culture.
Culture refers to the way of doing things within an organization and how its products and services are related to company values. A story created around diversity and inclusion of employees and narrating their journeys of success can help in building a reputation of trust and credibility among readers who are impressed with these values. They will be more likely to support the organization and its initiatives.
4. It can help in promoting social impact.
Companies are keen on promoting projects that have a positive social impact within communities. They can focus on reusable products or affordable housing for poor people. If a financial company invests in such projects, they are likely to create a favorable response from people who are seeking to buy financial products from them.
How to Create Compelling Stories
1. Capture unprocessed financial data.
Customer comments and reviews often reveal areas of concern or pain points. These can be used as the starting point for good stories. A conversation with a sales or customer services representative can give valuable insights into what is liked and not liked by customers. You can even ask these staff to record and give you feedback on what the customers said or were concerned about and draft a relatable story around this narrative.
2. Figure out what makes a good story.
Businesses that have used storytelling to their advantage ask many questions before creating a story for their intended audiences. Among these are why the company should care, whether the story is surprising or appealing, whether the target market for the product would be interested in it, whether it is a new product, how we will deal with competitors, and whether the quality of the product being evaluated on an ongoing basis.
3. Convert basic stories into useful content.
In the financial services industry, stories can be told differently. They can be blogs, guest posts, podcasts or even infographics that communicate interest and value to your customers. How and where you tell a story will depend on the type of audience, the content mediums they prefer, the main source of information, and the channels they use to communicate. You could use email for baby boomers but would have to transition to mobile-related content to appeal to millennials and Generation Z.
4. Make a list of potential storytellers.
After you have chosen the preferred channels of communication for your stories, it is time to look at who should narrate these stories in order to create credible and relevant impact. If you choose to write articles and blogs, you would need a team of quality writers and editors who would write in a style that is informative and engaging.
If you choose to record a video, you would have to consider who will appear in it. Subject experts who work in your organization are an excellent choice because they know and understand the products thoroughly. If you have a reliable and knowledgeable client, they can be considered to do the job for you.
You can also choose to work with third-party product specialists. This can help your audience relate to a known personality who knows about these products. They typically have a fan following and a prominent blog presence. You can tap into this potential and get extra customers.
5. Meet your customers where they are.
It is really imperative that you use the right channels of communication, communicate at the right time and engage them with the right story for maximum effectiveness.
There is great value in drafting compelling stories for audiences if you want to sell financial products to them. You just have to choose what story to tell and how to tell it if you want to appeal to the correct target audience.