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Why Luxury brands need better storytelling skills ?

Brand storytelling is a buzzword when it comes to the Luxury Customer Experience. Moreso today than ever, when a plethora of beautifully crafted products vie for customer attention, the brand story becomes a point of differentiation, inspiring emotion and a sense of belonging.  


I remember when working for a project with Ermenegildo Zegna, encouraging sales professionals to narrate what we called in short the “sheep to shop” story. The fact that they use wool from their own farm in Australia allows for fully integrated production and sourcing the highest quality merino for their fine creations. They take control of their primary raw material because they cannot compromise on quality.  When you hear this story, your inspired by their passion and want to share these values!  A Zegna customer can carry that story with them, feeling good about wearing an authentically crafted creation.


Another great example of brand storytelling is Apple. We believe in their mission to create user friendly products that make everyday life pleasurable. Because we believe in their mission, we buy literally everything they launch.  This example always reminds me of Simon Sinek’s Golden circle, “People don't buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.”


Today luxury brands have the opportunity to leverage omni channels to tell their brand story. Burberry is a great example of a brand that narrates it’s story in innovative and engaging ways. Whether it’s a video about their founder, a social media campaign around their iconic trench coat, or experiential physical stores their approach is consistent.  I often conduct brand audits at Dubai mall, and I have to say the Burberry salesperson was the only one that encouraged me to tour the showroom and explained how the new collection was a reflection of their new creative head.


If brand storytelling has the power to create memorable moments, why do sales staff shy away from it? In majority of mystery shopping audits this skill is the missing piece. Well many salespeople find it scripted and unnatural. They don’t believe it creates impact and rather use their time with a customer to focus on the sale.


How can luxury brand train salespeople to deliver the brand story in a natural, unscripted and personalized way ? Some suggestions that have worked when I train luxury sales professionals:


1.        Loose the script:  It’s common for brands to provide a few sentences and facts that need to be shared with every customer.  This script is rarely used because salespeople feel forced to deliver a series of facts that rarely evoke emotion. Instead educate them about the brand, narrate stories to them that engaged and evoke their emotions. Allow them to choose which nugget or fact they should share at what point so they can personalise their approach to each customer

2.        Be flexible : Typically in the customer journey instore, brands recommend the salesperson speaks about the brand in the beginning, especially if the customer is new.  Often customer’s don’t give the salesperson a chance and the flow of every interaction is unique – salespeople should be taught to respond to the customer opposed to acting in a certain order. As long as they are able to convey the brand story at some point, I would say it’s a victory!


3.        Ignite Passion: Immerse your salesteam in the brand story so they spontaneously share it with pride. Allow them to actually experience it – take them to that amazing factory, let them meet artisans, make sure they engage with founders/leaders and feel part of something. Do what it takes to convince them the story is worth telling.


Brand storytelling is an essential selling skill and a simple 2 hour workshop can rewire how the sales team approaches it.

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