Storytelling to boost sales in the competitive market of FMCG, consumer appliances

Guest Column: Deba Ghoshal, Vice President, and Head of Marketing, Voltas Limited, shares targeted storytelling strategies to boost sales by tapping the right stakeholders

by Deba Ghoshal
Published - June 05, 2023
5 minutes To Read
Storytelling to boost sales in the competitive market of FMCG, consumer appliances

The consumer appliances market is a highly competitive industry with numerous brands vying for the attention of consumers. Businesses must constantly invest in research and development of new products and relevant differentiators to stay relevant and also find unique ways of marketing them.

This should involve investing in not only product design and engineering but also focusing on key aspects like eco-friendly and energy-efficient green technologies in communication strategies.

To stay ahead of the competitors, brands have started using different ways to create recall in the minds of their consumers - by connecting with influencers, announcing giveaways, collaborating with other brands, liaising with key opinion leaders among other such strategies. Brands have also started developing owned platforms for engaging with customers directly.

However, in order to stand out and make a difference in the share of mind and share of the market, companies need to employ effective storytelling strategies across all communication platforms. According to the insights by Statista Global Consumer Survey, the consumer appliance market is expected to grow annually by 4 - 5% globally, driven by a variety of factors including growing income levels, improving living standards, and the increasing availability of consumer offers. Given the growth potential, brands that differentiate themselves through unique story-telling strategies, will stand out in the marketplace.

In the last few years, the Indian economy has shifted considerably from being led by the bottom of the pyramid, to one led by the mid of the pyramid (middle class). This is a favourable sign for the consumer appliances market, as it indicates that more people are able to afford high-end products. Moreover, there has been a growth in disposable income as expensive brands are now being searched for in Tier-II towns and Tier-III cities as well. This has created a vast variety of affordable appliances in the market competing for the loyalty of the same set of target audiences for their offerings. This necessitates the creation of unique and hyper-customized story-telling techniques to attract and retain the newly risen customer base in India.

Below are some of the targeted storytelling strategies to boost sales by tapping the right stakeholders through appropriate messaging and platforms.

Adoption of digital storytelling techniques

Digital storytelling allows you to share your story in a powerful way with a wider community online. It adds to regular storytelling by allowing the storyteller to include images, pictures, music, and other things to their story that help brands stay on top of their customer’s minds. Brands that invested in digital customer storytelling in 2020 and 2022 witnessed an average top-line revenue increase of 70%.

Coca-Cola's #ShareACoke campaign is perhaps the most memorable example of what brands can do to surpass customer expectations. The campaign was wildly successful in driving social engagement (brand advocacy), getting teens interested (loyalty), and boosting sales (revenue).

Creating an emotional connect with the customer

One of the most effective ways to use storytelling to boost sales is to create an emotional connect with the customer. By evoking emotions such as happiness, excitement, or nostalgia, businesses can tap into their customers' desires and motivations. This can be done by sharing personal anecdotes or creating a brand story that resonates with the customer. For example, Voltas created a TVC of all-weather AC showcasing a protagonist, Murthy who was always transferred from one place to the other with extreme weather conditions like Cherrapunji, Kota and Mukhteshwar due to some unexplainable difficulties in his career. A consumer can easily relate to this situation. Though he is transferred to such extreme locations, he always remains cool just like his Voltas all-weather AC, always comfortable in any weather. Similarly, adapting the tonnage of the AC as per the number of people in the room, for better energy efficiency, was captured as an interesting story in the Voltas Adjustable AC campaign, where Gajraj, the protagonist, plays smart with his Voltas Adjustable AC with multiple tonnage options, during a marriage ceremony within the family.

Communicating how a product or service makes a difference in your customer’s life

Another effective storytelling strategy is to communicate how a product or service changes the perceived benefits of the category. By highlighting how the product or service can improve the consumer's life, businesses can increase their chances of making an impact. This can be done by using testimonials, case studies, or product demos to showcase the benefits of the product or service. For example, on the occasion of Daughters’ Day, Dove rolled out the sequel of the award-winning campaign #StopTheBeautyTest to break free from beauty biases. Netizens found the ad very engaging and applauded Dove’s vision of a world where beauty is a source of confidence and not anxiety.

To sum up, storytelling is a powerful tool that businesses can use to connect with their customers, increase engagement, and boost sales. By creating a brand narrative, telling stories around their products or services, and using social media to share engaging content, businesses can leverage the power of storytelling to increase customer loyalty and engagement. Storytelling is a “consumer-in” way for narrating the benefits of the brand, instead of being merely “manufacturing-out”, which promotes inclusivity of the TG.