February 9, 2022 | 3-minute read (464 words)
"When companies connect with customers' emotions, the payoff can be huge," write the authors of a Harvard Business Review study. This suggests that an emotional connection creates brand loyalty and is one of the most significant markers of prospective customer value. According to another survey, customers are 71% more inclined to recommend organizations with whom they have an emotional connection.
Findings like these explain why so many businesses invest in their brand’s story. Most brand stories function on an emotional level, "Stories... activate sensory parts of the brain that help influence the meaning and purpose of what is seen and heard — helping provide a greater personal insight into life and events," writes Jonathan Gabay in an article published on Smart Insights.
While a brand story tells the audience who you are and what makes you unique, a social impact story raises awareness about issues in your neighbourhood and throughout the world. Such stories touch people's emotions and might even motivate them to effect change.
Here are some ideas for using your social impact efforts to increase sales:
1. Create extensive, verifiable information for your website/blog that depicts your business’s social and environmental impacts honestly and realistically. Don't try to hide shortcomings; instead, explain to your readers how you intend to grow and accomplish your social impact goals.
2. Include references to your impact story in all marketing and communications materials. This demonstrates your authenticity and reinforces your dedication as a firm.
3. Outline your desired client experience, and seek opportunities to incorporate your social impact story during each encounter. This might include everything from email marketing and your website to social media postings and the booklets and other materials in your product delivery lineup.
4. Figure out how to link your impact story to emotive, story-driven messaging. You may, for example, write blog entries on the issue or issues your organization supports and why they are so important to you.
5. Echoing item 1 in the list, always provide data-backed evidence of your company's social effect. Make it more interesting by presenting the data in an educational manner.
6. Involve your customers by explicitly linking their actions, habits and support to the impact your brand is making.
7. Publish annual reports showing your organization's social impact and set goals for the next year.
8. Form alliances with nonprofits and other groups striving to induce change in similar areas.
9. Don't be afraid to leverage your brand for the greater good. This will demonstrate to target customers that you are concerned for a greater good versus simply earning money.
10. Customers are always on the lookout for businesses that share their beliefs about social responsibility, climate change, carbon neutrality and other such issues. When feasible, support and publicize aims for sustainable development.