Storytelling is probably the oldest form of communication. Stories told over coffee, a campfire, or through television has greatly influenced decisions. The power of storytelling lies in its ability to convince and create an impact on any listener.
The best use case in modern marketing for storytelling is customer-led storytelling. It has become especially popular with top brands vouching for this strategy. Sharing your story is a critical part of brand building and helps connect with the listeners or audience. Storytelling does not involve a hard sell. It is a pull marketing technique where demand generation happens. Customers get involved with a product if they find the story convincing and impactful.
Customer-led storytelling helps share personal experiences with the product or service leading to message creation in the circle. Customer-led storytelling is blending the product, creativity, and narrative to connect with customers.
People choose to get associated with a brand when they know the story a customer tells them is authentic. Here are 10 inspiring customer-led storytelling examples.
10 Inspiring Customer-Led Storytelling Examples
National Geographic needs no introduction for nature and adventure lovers. The magazine utilizes the talent and skills of top photographers, nature lovers, artists, and even readers. The magazine encourages readers to click the best pictures and engage with the audience. The National Geographic Photo Contest is a user popular annual event that creates ripples on social media with user-generated content. The magazine takes the creator’s permission to publish the content.
Tesla is a global favorite- but the customers are few. To go beyond the Elon Musk following, the team at Tesla came up with a bunch of customer stories for the website and YouTube. The aim of the customer-led stories was to project the image and lifestyle of a Tesla owner. Real-life stories empower prospective buyers to choose the car.
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Microsoft Surface Pro
Microsoft Surface Pro is a winning tablet computer. While it was launched, Microsoft featured creative entrepreneurs and showcased how they run their business from the tab. Innovative users who like the product speak in a candid fashion about what works for them in the brand.
Hugo is a top-notch meeting notes platform SaaS company. To show differentiation, it was important to enhance how the users perceived the brand. Hugo used the concept of emails to customers to drive their strategy. After refining the customer target audience across personalization, segmentation, and conversion rates, Hugo was able to convince the customers through customized communication. This was then warped around customer testimonials to create a strong social effect.
Nike is a promising known brand that has been telling great stories through its people and products. The company came out with a commercial featuring Michael Jordan without over-pushing its products. Instead of an advertisement that focused on shoving the brand down, Nike knew that an emotional and impactful advertisement would do the job. An authentic story will help the brand sell more products. Storytelling resonates with customers to make a lasting impression on the brand, its emotional ethos, and the product.
Another thing Nike does is create product launches in an engaging fashion. A new collection is not just a collage of pictures. Instead, every product comes with quotes, a backstory, and a philosophy to back it. The brand also looks at harboring change through sport. The Equality campaign looks at celebrating differences through sport. The brand has also contributed heavily to indigenous communities to promote respect and fairness.
Warby Parker is a popular eyewear brand that is engineered to meet customer needs. It is a try-on model for eyewear so that customers can get the in-store experience at home. The brand encourages customers to share their eyewear trials on social media. This promotes the brand plus creates waves in customers’ circles. Through AR, the brand revolutionized customer eyewear trial experiences.
Warby Parker customers who like the product can buy it with the click of a button.
Slack is a popular product in the SaaS productivity space. Slack uses humor to display its product. The tool has a great customer-led storytelling video. Slack is used by top companies across the globe and enhances workplace productivity and insights. This video shows how the team at Slack featured customers who mentioned in a candid manner what they felt about the company.
Airbnb is a well-known brand that is 100% about the customer. Airbnb, apart from being a space for hosting, offers great experiences. Airbnb allows customers to put forth their own ideas of the experience. They can present meals idea, book options, lake views, etc.
Airbnb allows customers to tell their stories in a dedicated section. The campaign Belong Anywhere is a series of short films that focused on exploring a place like a local.
Dropbox is a SaaS company that is a workspace for tools, content, and equipment. The company also builds brand awareness, promotes the product and its benefits. In this video by Dropbox, top executives like CEOs, product heads, and security heads mention what they wanted in a product and how they found it in Dropbox. This customer-led storytelling video increases product engagement and helps build knowledge.
When Amazon first launched in India, it knew it faced tough competition from the existing retail market. In 2020, the brand help 30% of the market stake. Amazon found a unique way to tell a story- through packaging.
Every time someone orders on Amazon, they can scan a QR code which is attached with the seller’s photo. The customer can know the seller’s story through the site or app. This is a great way to highlight small businesses that are learning new things and making a living on Amazon. Personal stories of breakthroughs, product creation resonate with the customer and allow them to connect with the seller. Titled #IAmAmazon, the campaign led to a dedicated microsite for users to connect with the brand and local, small sellers. It gave a new lease of life to small artisans, home entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs on the site.21
Customer-led storytelling combines logic and emotions to explain a story. It allows the customer to find the brand and engage with them personally. Can you think of any other storytelling examples you loved?
Shivani is a talented CS manager with the skillsets to elicit, scope and manage end-to-end B2B SaaS project delivery. She has a keen interest in depicting her learnings in customer success by writing resourceful blogs and articles.
Published April 21, 2022, Updated March 02, 2023