How storytelling can foster stronger connections between consumers and financial services companies

Great brands are built by crafting stories that put customers first and reach the hearts and minds of those customers to create a greater sense of loyalty.

It is true that the global lockdowns which forced people indoors, encouraged organisations to create even more content for consumers who suddenly had plenty of time on their hands. 

According to Statista, the total amount of data created, captured, copied, and consumed in the world is increasing rapidly, and reached over 59 zettabytes in 2020.

Customers are not only inundated with marketing messages daily but have also changed how they consume content. In addition to traditional channels, customers are interacting with new channels, such as web, mobile, and social media.

How can financial institutions break through the noise to connect with their customers?

Financial institutions have started adopting new channels earnest but do not understand how best to use them. As a result, busy customers feel bombarded by disconnected messages. They hear about savings accounts, life insurance policies, and retirement saving products—all in a day’s time, across a multitude of channels.

Added to this, in a market like South Africa where many consumers only speak English as a second, third or even fourth language, it is important that financial services companies create simple content that resonates with their audiences.

Most human decisions and behaviours are driven by emotion and good storytellers have always known this. Companies can tap into those instincts through targeted stories that reach people by connecting ideas with emotions.

A recent study found that 90% of customers are turning to a variety of sources for their financial needs – moving from one device to another at different times to accomplish a task. Financial institutions need to ask themselves how they can ensure a seamless customer experience when content is being delivered across multiple channels.

A consistent message, informed by knowledge about the customer and organized in a way that guides the consumer, is key. Successful companies achieve this consistency regardless of where or when the customer looks for information.

Storytelling gives the form needed to draw people in and create memorable moments. PwC suggests four steps to help financial institutions create stories that will foster deeper consumer engagement and loyalty:

Frame stories

Humans thrive on stories, not how-to manuals. Good content has a narrative arc, whether in a web piece, video ad, or series of social media posts. The central figure in the story is always the consumer, while the story links back to the brand’s broader narrative.

Combine content

Do not view individual pieces of content in isolation. Decide which channels or mix of channels best convey your brand’s values and message, then use a combination to build brand narratives — leveraging each medium to its strength.

Execute creatively

Plan, create, deliver and optimize creative content.

Listen and adapt

Adapt your stories and brand narrative based on analytics that reflect user behaviour and engagement. Listen to the feedback that consumers give you, both directly via comments and indirectly via data.