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Is your website a shop window or a conversation?

Posted on Apr 10, 2018 by Rachel  | Comments (0)

Women in shop window with phone

Picture the scene. It's circa 2016. She's the head of marketing and I'm a fledgling brand storyteller keen to share my new found talents. We introduce ourselves and start chatting. Things are friendly enough. Pretty soon I'm brimming with ideas and explaining to her what she should be doing to improve' her organisation's 'outward facing' website.

Pretty soon (but not soon enough) I realise something's wrong. I ask her if I should stop speaking. A quiet 'yes' through pursed lips tells me all I need to know.

I stop. But the damage is already done... I wish that hole I'd just dug myself was real.  

Since then, I've dreaded people asking me what I think of their website (even though she didn't technically ask me). One day, the perfect response came tumbling from my lips. I've used it ever since.

It's a simple observation that asks: 'When you look at your website do you see a shop window or the start of a conversation?'

Thankfully, it's pretty easy to differentiate the two. 

Traditional branding? So last century?

A shop window website is all about your brand and what it does. Like a Bat Signal beaming your brand to the world. The word 'we' features heavily with phrases like 'We do this for our clients' and 'We are passionate about that'.  

Boy with Microphone

Most shop window websites promote traditional brands. Brands that were created using (dare I say it) moribund branding models. Have you seen Alan Partridge's definition of moribund?

Why moribund you ask? Because most traditional branding models were created for the broadcast era back in the 20th Century – namely print, radio and TV. During the past eighteen years of the 21st Century, communications has made a quantum leap into the digital era. A new era that requires brands to ditch broadcast stuffiness and connect with people on an emotional level.

People are now looking to engage with brands who speak and act from the heart – and share an authentic sense of purpose. 

The most suitable branding model for this new era... is, of course, to create your brand as a story.  

Embrace the digital age with brand storytelling

Humans have been telling stories since the dawn of time. After all, we're highly social creatures who just love to share. Just ask Mr Zuckerburg. Storytelling is hard wired into our DNA. Not only do stories help us make sense of our world. They also  importantly for brands – help us to connect with one another. 

Make your website a conversation 

It's easy to identify a 'conversation' website because it's written with one person in mind. You. That single soul sitting in front of a screen reading it.

Instead of saying 'we' all the time it speaks to you direct. In fact, the writer could even be standing in your shoes. Such is their ability to see the world from your perspective and they use engaging stories to pinpoint your problems, needs, desires and wants.

So there you go. It's not rocket science? But before I go, do you mind if I ask you a question?

Knowing what you know, is your website a conversation or a shop window?

If it's a 'shop window' and you'd like to find out how brand storytelling could help evolve your brand, feel free to get in touch or maybe you'd like to attend a Brand New Story workshop in Bristol or Stroud this summer.

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