Scan the business landscape of 2020 and you’ll see the power of an authentic brand story. Like the well-oiled synergy of a sports team, where every element is laser-focused on a common goal, the most effective firms in the digital age are underpinned by a cohesive ethos that flows from investors and management to content creators. And there’s hard evidence that when a brand’s actions and output are aligned – and rooted in an understanding of your audience – the benefits range from consumer affection to a clear commercial upturn.
What we’re seeing is that brands that communicate a purpose and have an authentic brand story outperform the stock market by 134%, according to data from Havas Media,” says Lianna Kissinger Virizlay, Director Of Performance Marketing at Investis Digital. “And, in fact, people will even take a pay cut to work for a company with a purpose that aligns with their values. Whereas brands with a negative reputation pay 10% more per hire, based on a report from Harvard Business Review."
Right now, against the backdrop of COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement, the brands that fumble a false brand story have been publicly vilified. “You can’t say something in your marketing, when the reality is that the way you do business is at odds with that,” explains Lucy Hartley, Director Of Creative Content at Investis Digital. “It isn’t enough to just have a great brand story. That needs to be echoed in how you act, how you communicate internally, how you treat staff, and in meaningful earned communications. That way, you build trust with your audience, because what you’re saying is legitimate. You also build advocacy because if you truly know your audience, those values and actions will align with their own and their expectations of you as a business.”
Investis Digital has helped its own clients avoid such missteps, developing authentic, coherent, long-term brand stories, while planning proactive content strategies that pinpoint the right audience, at the perfect time, on the ideal platform. “We create every kind of content from illustrations to 3D live-action film content,” says Hartley. “And we’re always asking, how do we make sure that every action fits with what it is that the company is trying to communicate and achieve – but also what the audience wants?”
But for Investis Digital, a unified brand story is just one strand of a wider communications ecosystem. Today, the firm is renowned for its revolutionary concept of Connected Content – a holistic four-pillar approach, comprising ‘Tell It’, ‘Build It’, ‘Run It’ and ‘Find It’ – which helps companies tell effective brand stories supported by cutting-edge online platforms, agile web services, and powerful, data-driven performance marketing solutions that amplify the brand in all the places that matter.
“A brand foundation won’t succeed without a sound infrastructure and digital platform that allows you to respond and produce content on an ongoing basis, in both a proactive and reactive way,” says Kissinger Virizlay. “The other thing is the sophistication of data insight and analysis. You have to get so much deeper now. You need to be looking at your financial data, audience data, engagement metrics, listening to social channels. And then, all that data feeds back into how you tell the brand story. So all four of those elements work together.”
Connected Content might be a perfect circle, but a good place for smart companies to start, says Kissinger Virizlay, is by approaching their brand story with honesty and integrity, even if that means owning their current shortcomings. “Being transparent with your audience that you’re not perfect is exactly where we need to start. That’s how you humanise brands as well. People aren’t perfect, and brands aren’t perfect. So it’s really about taking stock of your brand internally, and then being authentic in how you’re communicating that.”
Register here for the Investis Digital webinar 'Beyond the Buzzword: What Connection Looks, Feels, and Sounds Like for Brands & Businesses Today' on 24th June at 3pm.