Stats and facts are powerful in messaging. But stories are remembered up to 22 times more than facts alone, which makes a pretty strong case for developing a brand storytelling strategy for your RFPs.
When responding to RFPs, we marketers typically think about making the messaging professional and concise. We also work hard to ensure accuracy and compliance. Your competitors’ marketing teams are going through these motions as well.
As we’re ticking off the messaging requirements boxes, we’re missing something with our RFP content. That je ne sais quoi that hooks the reader and keeps them engaged until the end. We’re missing the brand story. This is how you make your RFP content more impactful.
Use brand storytelling to build a trusting relationship
81% of people say trust is a deciding factor in their purchasing decisions. When we feel connected to someone or a brand, we develop trust. We are more likely to call on that person or turn to that brand when we need help in their area of expertise.
“Doing business” is not just about what you do. It is about who you are. Brand storytelling is designed to build trusting relationships and deepen the personal connection with your prospects. Below are two examples of how organizations are using brand storytelling to develop trust and connect with their customers.
IBM launched a health care initiative “outthink melanoma,” which focused on the early detection of melanoma. They developed an AI-powered product called Watson that could detect cancer with 31% more accuracy than the naked eye. This technological advance can mean the difference between life and death for thousands of people.
Going after a passion project alongside IBM’s “business as usual” technology made a huge impact on their customers. IBM showed not only do they care about being at the forefront of technology, they also care about helping people.
The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library used brand storytelling to increase their Instagram following by 75% in 2019 with their “Insta Novels” campaign. The library literally brought storytelling into their branded content by sharing full-length classic novels like Alice In Wonderland as Instagram stories.
Using Instagram stories to bring the classics beyond their brick and mortar library building, people around the world were able to have a memorable experience with their brand. It goes to show that even more established brands can succeed with a modern brand storytelling strategy.
RFP response examples that use brand storytelling
When you receive a request for a proposal, much like IBM and The New York Public Library, you have a choice about how you are going to tell your brand’s story. Are you going to tick off all the basic requirements? Or, are you going to try your hand at brand storytelling with RFP responses?
You might be thinking…the RFP questions we receive from issuers are always a complete snooze. What is your organization’s approach? What are your competitive differentiators?
It’s true that you will need to work a bit harder to find the story when you’re responding to RFPs. But, the point is…you can still find it. Below are some RFP response examples that will inspire you to infuse more brand storytelling into your content.
Tell your why
Because you’re a marketer, you already know all about Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why.” You might be sick of it, but guess what? It’s a classic gut-check for almost any content you produce, even RFP responses.
What is your organization’s why? Why did your CEO/Founder/President start the company in the first place? Why does your product or service exist? Why are you here?
If we use ourselves as an example (because we too respond to RFPs), our RFP response may look like…
Before founding RFPIO, we were RFP responders too. We often worked overtime to meet deadlines and we spent 30% of our time responding to RFPs manually. We understand how inefficient the process can be. That led us on a mission to make life better for response management teams like yours.
Share a testimonial
Customer experience is a big part of your story. We all read online reviews before we make purchasing decisions and your prospects are no different. Testimonials are an easy way to bring brand storytelling (and customer validation) into your RFP responses. An RFPIO example may look like…
Here is the detailed outline of how RFPIO’s customer success team supports your proposal management team. Lori Coffae, a longtime customer and content writer with SHI, is proof of our commitment to your success. “The team at RFPIO has been tremendous in terms of helping me get other people on board, helping to push the tool forward so we are all using it in the same way…I feel like Andrew works just for me and everyone on the team feels eager and accessible to help.”
Show you’re human
What are you doing in your business that goes above and beyond? In what ways are you giving back to your community? Your team does many great things together, whether you are team-building outside the office or going above and beyond for your customers. Show the human side of your business with RFP response brand storytelling. Our RFP response may look like…
Each quarter RFPIO gives back. Most recently we donated to March of Dimes and supported an organization that believes every baby deserves the best possible start. By giving back, we receive so much more. We not only love to serve our customers but we love to serve our community.
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Simon Sinek is right. Reach your prospects on a personal level and demonstrate why you are the obvious choice as a partner. Use brand storytelling to build trust from the moment they read your first RFP response.