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People Want to Hear from People: A Strategy to Build Trust

In a time when dis­trust is the default, and con­sumers’ BS meters are astute, how can your com­pa­ny build trust? Peo­ple. With lim­it­ed per­son­al inter­ac­tions the past two years, tap­ping into that crav­ing for human con­nec­tion is a way to authen­ti­cal­ly tell your sto­ries while build­ing trust with your con­sumers. And, who bet­ter to speak to your sto­ry than some­one who knows it – and lives it – day in and day out.

What does that look like? It can vary, but cre­ativ­i­ty is key to inspir­ing action, think­ing out­side the box to deter­mine who might be the right fit for you – per­haps an employ­ee, com­mu­ni­ty mem­ber or local sub­ject mat­ter expert. To help spark your next inno­v­a­tive idea, here are a few exam­ples of how we’ve been using peo­ple-focused sto­ry­telling to help our clients.

“Faces of Duluth”

When it comes to telling the sto­ries of Duluth, there’s no short­age of places, busi­ness­es and activ­i­ties to high­light. The ques­tion was, how do we share all these sto­ries in a way that will res­onate with prospec­tive vis­i­tors to start not only start build­ing a rela­tion­ship with them, but to get them to fall in love with the city and want to trav­el there. The key: focus on the peo­ple. Work­ing with the city of Duluth and our part­ners Lawrence & Schiller, we launched the “Faces of Duluth” series to tell the sto­ries of the peo­ple behind Duluth’s icon­ic attrac­tions, hid­den gems and every­thing in between. From the Aer­i­al Lift Bridge super­vi­sor, to the UMD women’s hock­ey coach­es, to a renowned nature pho­tog­ra­ph­er and writer, we’ve uplift­ed Duluth and its offer­ings in an unex­pect­ed way, shin­ing a spot­light on the peo­ple behind the sto­ries to authen­ti­cal­ly show­case who they are and why they are so pas­sion­ate about their com­mu­ni­ty. While we love see­ing the pos­i­tive com­ments come in about these fea­tures, the met­rics also point to the suc­cess of this approach, with these blog and social media posts con­tin­u­al­ly com­ing in among our top month­ly performers.

The Peo­ple Behind Malco

Many of our clients also fall in the busi­ness-to-busi­ness (B2B) cat­e­go­ry, which many times draws the assump­tion that you can’t apply the same focus on peo­ple when try­ing to con­nect with a dis­trib­u­tor or part­ner. When in fact, telling the sto­ry of the peo­ple behind the brand to both exter­nal and inter­nal audi­ences can be a great way to build trust, cred­i­bil­i­ty and pref­er­ence, even in a B2B industry.

A great exam­ple of this is in the work our team does with Mal­co Prod­ucts, SBC, a man­u­fac­tur­er of high-qual­i­ty hand tools for the trades. For the past 72 years, Mal­co has built a sol­id rep­u­ta­tion of pro­duc­ing some of the best tools on the mar­ket, and has a strong and loy­al fol­low­ing with its end-users. As the com­pa­ny con­tin­ues to grow and inno­vate, focus­ing on the prod­uct is still essen­tial, but we’ve also been help­ing Mal­co share more about who they are as a com­pa­ny, high­light­ing their sto­ry as an Amer­i­can man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pa­ny that is suc­cess­ful thanks to its peo­ple. This means shar­ing sto­ries of inge­nu­ity, hard work and the true grit it takes to keep pro­duc­ing in-demand prod­ucts and giv­ing cus­tomers a behind-the-scenes look at how prod­ucts are made – and the peo­ple who make them – which is what real­ly sets the com­pa­ny apart from its competitors.

Princess Kay of the Milky Way

Mid­west Dairy has been lean­ing into the idea of a peo­ple-first sto­ry­telling approach for years. One exam­ple of how this takes shape is the annu­al Princess Kay of the Milky Way pro­gram, which uplifts young dairy farm advo­cates to help share how dairy is deli­cious, nutri­tious and sus­tain­ably pro­duced. Each sum­mer, we work with the team to secure oppor­tu­ni­ties for the new­ly crowned Princess Kay to share her sto­ry – and con­nect with con­sumers. By hear­ing first-hand from some­one who is direct­ly con­nect­ed to a dairy farm, con­sumers can relate with farm­ers – and the whole dairy com­mu­ni­ty – ulti­mate­ly help­ing build trust and dri­ve demand.

As you con­sid­er how to approach your sto­ry­telling, con­sid­er both how you tell your sto­ry in unique, authen­tic way, and who can help share it. Have you found suc­cess using a peo­ple-focused strat­e­gy, or do you want to dis­cuss how this strat­e­gy could help meet your com­mu­ni­ca­tions goals? Drop us a line – we’d love to connect!

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