By Luke Stamper, Marketing & Sales Executive, Mando Agency
The science is in — as humans, we feel first and think second.
Trying to convince someone of their obligation to others? You could make a rational argument, using Aristotle’s virtue ethics, for example, about how the way we treat others not only affects them but also our own happiness. Or you could have them watch Les Misérables. What do you think will be more effective? (Let alone more enjoyable!)
We all know the power of stories. They’re how we construct our identity — “I’m from this family, grew up in this place, experienced these things, etc.” They’re how we connect with others. And they’re how we create and experience meaning.
Good storytelling for doing good
A registered charity with over 15,000 volunteers and 3,500 staff, the British Red Cross has helped millions of people in the UK and around the world get the support they need when crisis strikes. Whether inspiring employees or rousing volunteers and donors, one of their greatest currencies is story. It’s how they communicate community needs, their response, and the invitation to join them.
But there was a problem. Their storytelling platform was not integrated well with their main website. This meant journeys to and from the platform were far from seamless, creating a disjointed experience for every visitor. It was time for a change. With support from the agency Mando, a Sitecore Solution Silver Partner, they introduced “Stories,” a new modular section of their website built with Sitecore.
Fostering meaningful connections for impact
The Stories project is British Red Cross' new blog solution. But for British Red Cross, it’s more than just a blog. On the front end, it’s an engaging platform for visitors — something their online presence desperately needed. On the back end, it provides the organization with a new content model and strategy, enabling them to easily and agilely create content that connects with the public.
Reusable modules make curating the Stories homepage and category pages much more efficient. The website content team can now easily update Stories with content that connects with users in their current moment. The modules have also powered campaigns that improve engagements and deepen understanding of the charity’s work. In short, the new platform has driven more meaningful and impactful engagements, which is exactly the role digital needs to play in our new normal.
During the Covid-19 outbreak, for example, the Stories platform is being used to overcome challenges around loneliness. Stories has enabled British Red Cross to publish articles that show how simple acts of kindness, like making a phone call to a neighbor who is vulnerable, can make a massive difference to someone’s life. The Stories platform is also being used to raise awareness of their recovery response after a massive explosion in the Lebanese capital of Beirut.
Both pragmatism and the human element lead to success
We noted above that the British Red Cross’s online presence wasn’t as captivating as it could be. The reason? Their main website is heavily task-driven and service-user focused. This is essential. It ensures people get the help they need when they need it most. But while essential, this pragmatic approach has created barriers between British Red Cross’ brand and its users’ engagements.
The Stories solution has helped British Red Cross overcome this disconnect. It enables them to maintain the pragmatism of their site and offer a human element through storytelling, while also delivering content to respond to users’ needs and inspire actions such as donations or volunteer registration.
The Stories module has only been live for four months, but performance data suggests users spend more time there than on the main British Red Cross website, visiting more pages per session, and returning to the site more often.
In terms of channel performance specifically, British Red Cross has noticed that organic search is still their main source of acquisition. Since launching, Stories has experienced 10,000+ visitors and counting. And given the ease of use of the platform, it will enable teams to agilely respond to current searches, optimize their SEO, boost their organic traffic, and hopefully increase involvement.
When it comes to creating meaningful customer experiences, storytelling and empathy are essential. Learn more about leading with your heart for better customer experience.
Luke Stamper is the Marketing & Sales Executive at Mando Agency. You can follow him on LinkedIn.