One of the things which I have been wrestling with lately is this:
How can one keep one’s customers continually keen in one’s products and services beyond a short-lived campaign? More importantly, can we sustain their interest over a longer time span and find different ways to build on it?
In today’s marketing milieu, it isn’t enough just to have sufficient reach, frequency and brand recall. You need to generate enough momentum to sustain your product/corporate brands beyond the lifespan of your campaigns. Longevity is the new name of the game, and brands which are able to play this game well will win in the long-run.
The devil however is in the details. What can one do to continually enchant, engage and enrapture one’s base of customers?
I believe that the answer may lie in storytelling – transmedia or otherwise. The more fascinating, unique and authentic your story is (to your audiences), the greater the possibility of ensuring long-term relevance.
For a start, develop a central narrative or premise. What is the core storyline about your organisation and its products and services that would be interesting from a consumer perspective. Its what they want to hear or see that is important, not what you want to tell them!
Next, look for opportunities to make it as richly layered and textured as possible – without overcomplicating the issue – so that multiple plots and subplots can be developed for your followersto explore and populate. The more points of engagement and interaction you can create, the better.
You should also find ways to keep the dialogue ongoing without appearing too spammy. Is there something that you can raise as a talking point with your followers or fans? Are there ways to draw them out?
Finally, I believe that one shouldn’t just give the entire plot away at first sitting. Maintain an aura of mystique and let them slowly discover the pleasure of indulging in your product or service. Find a way to tease, taunt and titillate them – a piece at a time, like the Seven Veils strategy employed in Belly Dancing.
In the age of overwhelming advertising, buzz-marketing, and viral clutter, marketing needs to evolve beyond the here-and-now to the future state of customer relations. Developing a story that can captivate one’s followers for the long-haul is the only way to go.