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Each of your merchants are unique...

Every one of them has a story that sets them apart from the rest, no matter the products they sell or the services offered. That story is becoming increasingly important in a world overrun with advertising. Consider the following information published on Forbes: Each day Americans consumer over 100,000 digital words and 92% of Americans want to see their favorite brands’ stories among those words.
 
So how exactly is a brand supposed to tell their story, especially considering the enormous amounts of data constantly being published and pushed?

Answer the Basic Questions

Who built the brand and why? 

Who is the face behind the name? Forty-one percent of millennial women know who founded their favorite brands and 40% follow the founder or a brand affiliate on social media. This creates a sense of connectedness and can significantly improve brand loyalty.

When was it built?  –

Older brands will have some longevity and credibility on their side while new brands can grow a support base by telling a compelling story about who they are and what they hope to accomplish.

Where did the dream come from and where was the company first established? –

Place is a strong indicator of identity. A company built in Silicon Valley will have a significantly different feel than a company from New York, just as a business founded in the Desert Southwest is has a distinct image when compared to one established in Georgia or Florida. Was it in a small town or a big city? No place is better than another, but it can help customers relate to a business.

Finally, how? –

The NPR Podcast “How I Built This” is wildly successful for a reason. People love to know how. It creates a sense of possibility and it feels a little confidential, like sharing a secret.
 
This story can be told in a blog post or a series of blog posts. It can be emailed to a customer base a newsletter, and incorporated into ad messaging. It can be posted in small snippets on social each week or month, and the whole story can be shared slowly over time. It doesn’t matter how the story is disseminated, simply that it is. Readers will find it because it is the content they are looking for and craving. Fifty-three percent of consumer respondents prefer brands that are transparent on social media for their next purchase. Additionally, a lack of transparency might lead 86% of consumers to choose a more authentic competitor.

Personalize Outreach

Emails –

Once a business has established its brand story and knows where it came from, it’s even easier to understand the audience base and establish an authentic voice. If a merchant has an automated marketing platform they are using, it would be very valuable to personalize the automated emails to reflect some of that sense of identity. Use images that resonate with the merchant’s location and language that reflects the business’s unique identity.

Review Responses  –

According to a study conducted by Brightlocal, 89% of customers read the responses that local businesses write on reviews and nearly a third of consumers highly value those responses. How a business responds to both positive and negative feedback also helps paint a picture of who the business is and how they interact with their customers.

Listen to your Audience  –

Take feedback into consideration. This allows customers help participate in the growth of the brand story. This means going beyond simply responding to reviews. If there is realistic and useful feedback there, then businesses should take the opportunity to make a change, and announce it in their social feeds. Furthermore, businesses can let customers know they accept open communication by sending out consumer surveys and offering rewards for participating. Customers are the reason a business exists, and it’s important to remember to show appreciation. Consumers are more informed than ever now, and taking that extra step to listen and show appreciation will not go unnoticed.
 
All of this can seem a little overwhelming at first: Blogs, reviews, surveys, emails. There is a lot to manage and consider. Fortunately there are a lot of great tools out there to help merchants, and many of them integrate directly to the POS so that business owners can avoid having to manage tons of extra accounts, dashboards and reports.

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