Choosing the right mix of marketing tools is an essential part of connecting with your audience.
There are a range of marketing channels - including social media, email marketing and producing visual content - and research pointing to the effectiveness of them all.
But getting the right strategy is only half the battle, as brands also need to be thinking about storytelling. By speaking to customers through a clear narrative that takes them on a journey, companies can engage with them in a compelling manner.
Darren McColl, chief brand strategy officer of SapientNitro, is a big fan of the method, as he recognises the need to connect with people on an emotional level in order to be successful in the long term.
"Unless there is a meaningful connection, brands are just yelling to consumers. You can create as much content as possible, but it doesn't matter," he told Media Post.
Bearing this in mind, let's have a look at three examples of successful brand storytelling.
The football team is one of the biggest in the world and based on its online support, claimed to have 659 million fans last year. According to Econsultancy, the club recognised a few years ago that the majority of its interactions with fans were coming from social media, so it created pages on Facebook and Twitter. United regularly posts on the channels, runs competitions and generally seeks to acquire as much data as possible. It also has regular Q&As with players - tapping into their followers - shares the best photos from games and gives updates about upcoming fixtures. Last year, it also set up pages on Google+, Instagram and Renren as it seeks to further strengthen its online presence.
Visa has based its storytelling efforts on the fact that brands can only hold the attention of customers for 6.5 seconds. As a result, all of its branding is based around the GoInSix campaign, which consists of six-second videos, six photos or six word storylines. This interactive content is designed to inspire and engage potential customers by encouraging them to dine, shop and travel. And its success is clear to see, as GoInSix delivered 284 million earned impressions, which is five times more than any previous Visa campaign.
IKEA has long been a brand that was associated with delivering a low-cost, efficient service. The stores are set up to show what the products will look like at home, while the family atmosphere is extended throughout its buildings thanks to creches and restaurants. The company also brought the catalogue into the 21st century thanks to its augmented reality app. It comes with enhanced content for some of its pages, so people can find out more about products than is possible with offline methods. The app also allows homeowners to virtually put the furniture into their rooms and make sure it fits before being purchased, thus eliminating needless return trips due to wrong measuring. All of this makes the lives of its customers easy.