An Introduction to Storytelling Marketing
The following is an excerpt from The Evangelists: Insights from Leaders of the Nation’s Most Beloved Brands. Written by Pancho Dizon, this chapter is titled “Story-Driven Marketing.” In it, Anna Victoria Alcachupas, the Vice President of Business Development and People Branding of TaskUs, is interviewed about how the organization executes its strategy in marketing.
Emotional Connection through Stories
At its core, marketing is about drawing the audience in and presenting them with a compelling reason for them to even consider your product or service. There are many ways to do this: catchy jingles, memorable slogans, and compelling commercials are just some of the common marketing tools the average person encounters each day.
It is a bit different for outsourcing provider TaskUs. Rather than rely on any of the methods above, the company finds that it is best to market themselves through telling their story.
To Anna Victoria Alcachupas, the company’s Vice President of Business Development and People Branding, this storytelling marketing method means sharing real-life stories of their “teammates”—a collective term for the company’s employees—and what they do to better illustrate what life with TaskUs is all about.
“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we posted stories on social media, for example, of what our teammates’ lives were like, both inside and outside of the office,” Alcachupas explained. “At the onset of the pandemic, however, we had to pivot towards showcasing stories of kindness and how our teammates helped their communities in these trying times. The changing circumstances called for a rethinking of our stories while staying true to our theme.”
One story featured a TaskUs teammate who looked after stray cats in their neighborhood when Metro Manila was first put on lockdown. “It was especially touching because it showed that help wasn’t limited to just human beings,” Alcachupas said.
What sharing these stories does for TaskUs is it immediately gives viewers an idea of what the company is about and how much they value their employees. It is made clear that TaskUs is not just another Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) player; they are a company that thoughtfully puts their values at the core of everything they do. It is actually part of the brand’s preference for pull marketing: where instead of actively promoting a product or service to a target audience, consumers themselves are drawn towards the brand or marketer. This is a strategy that often creates a loyal customer base.
“When we feature our teammates, we’re not just telling the world that they’re great at their jobs- that’s a given,” Alcachupas said. “We show they have passion and purpose that extend beyond the confines of and their roles in the office. For example, we have one teammate who is also a celebrated para-athlete and frequently gets invited as a motivational speaker. We also have a different take on performance appraisal: TaskUs’s Human Project incentivizes not only job performance but also personal endeavors.”
In fact, Alcachupas and her team have worked on an initiative during the pandemic to equip their employees with the right tools to create their own vlogs and to allow them to continue telling their work-from-home stories. “Our teammates are our best brand ambassadors,” she said.
It is also their employees who inspire the company to tackle sociopolitical issues relevant to the company’s values and to make their stand clear. For instance, the company expressed its solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests that rippled across the United States. In June of the same year, their annual Pride Month celebration used the platform of esports to spread HIV/AIDS awareness and help provide medicines to people living with HIV. In partnership with an HIV awareness centered organization, TaskUs was able to organize a gaming tournament where viewers were asked to donate towards a fund meant for the purchase of HIV testing kits and medicine.
TaskUs has the results to show the benefits of such an employee-centric marketing strategy. While steering clear of advertising perks typically used by competitors such as signing bonuses, the company was able to continue hiring even amidst the pandemic. “It’s a big deal for us to say we were able to keep hiring because it shows we could still generate employment opportunities at a time when many companies are contracting,” Alcachupas said.
The success of the company’s marketing strategy is observed beyond its hiring rate. “We enjoy a high retention rate as well here at TaskUs,” Alcachupas said. She pointed out that this is especially worth noting as the industry hires quite often through employee referrals, and that there is a tendency for employees to leave the company once their referrer resigns.
“We don’t have that problem here. People stay because they end up loving the company culture,” she said. “When your employees- the brand ambassadors- show that level of happiness and satisfaction, clients will know you’re doing something right.”
Alcachupas knows better than anybody else what makes TaskUs attractive to their clients. After all, she handles not only branding TaskUs in the Philippines but globally as well. Though it is challenging to create content for different markets, Alcachupas revealed that the job is made easier when working with the company’s executives, who are just as passionate in telling the company’s story as she is.
TaskUs is a shining example of how marketing does not have to be imposing. There are ways to attract customers and clients that resonate deeply with their values and beliefs, making them come to you instead of the other way around. Indeed, it can be as simple as telling a story.
To get more insights from other marketing leaders like Anna Victoria Alcachupas, please check out the full book, available for purchase here.
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