At a time of digital disruption, the mantra ‘customer is king’ remains as true as ever. In 2018, enhancing customer engagement through highly personalised communications will be a fundamental ingredient for business success. A personal touch in storytelling and writing is back in vogue – and it will differentiate your brand from the rest.

After 10 years in business, Manning & Co. still has an important focus on personalised marketing, storytelling, content and digital mediums. To carve out a competitive edge in business, a return to old-fashioned writing and storytelling is needed.

A recent example of the power of letter writing is the lovely personal note I received when I attended the CBA’s Women in Focus business conference last year. The CBA team researched all the conference participants and wrote a personal note to every single person. I was very impressed by how much CBA knew about my background and the time and care they put into writing me a letter. This reinforced for me the power of personal notes, as Richard Branson talks about in his new book, Finding my Virginity.

Here are five key strategies to focus on to create a personal touch in your brand, across any medium or platform.

  1. Connect emotionally through video.

    Video is a great platform for showing the human side of your brand personality. Engagement with a company video in real time enables viewers to seek the information they need at their own convenience, triggering an emotional response to the brand.

    Video presents companies with a great opportunity to maximise emotional impact and enhance customer loyalty. In conjunction with other strategic communications, companies can use video to build trusted relationships with customers.

    Put simply, moving pictures and sound convey emotions in ways that written words can’t achieve. The value of video is that it provides a powerful platform for telling stories.

  2. Engage your audience through podcasts.

    More and more leaders are now looking at telling their stories through relevant influencers, such as chatting to an interviewer via a podcast. Talking directly to people about your brand in a conversational way will help you to establish a reputation as an expert in your field.

    Podcasts and videos are human-oriented and bring a personalised approach to your brand philosophy. A key benefit of podcasts is that listeners will often subscribe to your segment and tune in regularly.

    Your listeners might also recommend it to others, leading to increased traffic generation and potential new customers for your business.

  3. Don’t rely too heavily on automated/mass marketing.

    Relying too heavily on automated/mass marketing makes a brand feel detached and inhuman. It’s also easy to spot automated text in a sentence that doesn’t quite flow as it should, reducing your brand’s professionalism.

    Customers know when they are being targeted as part of an automated marketing campaign – so be sure to provide a personal touch in your written communications. Ensure your content is engaging, relevant and strongly aligned with your customer engagement strategy.

    It’s not about churning out content for the sake of ticking the content marketing box, but about immersing readers in the ‘why’ of doing business with you.

  4. Get social media savvy.

    While social media is an excellent engagement platform, it’s important to be strategic about the information you share. Multimedia posts typically get higher engagement – so include links to those aforementioned videos and podcasts. Provide visibility of your internal culture through team photos, guest posts and so on, so that people can see the human side of your business.

    Be careful not to bombard people with stuff on social media or churn out impersonal material, because this will drive customers away. With so many companies vying for clicks and followers on Facebook, the platform has become highly commercialised, and its organic reach is dying. Instead of scrambling to post ‘filler’ content every day, try posting once a week about something meaningful and exciting.

  5. When it comes to blogging, less is more.

    Today’s digital natives are very savvy about what is insightful content, and what is a puff piece designed to get traffic. If a blog doesn’t address a customer’s pain point, the reader will leave after a few seconds.

To truly get people engaged with your brand, it’s important to be targeted, specific and relevant in any blog you write. Keep your content short and snappy, while telling a compelling story. Sharing powerful and immersive stories is one of the most effective strategies for driving greater engagement with your brand.