It’s the ecommerce question of our time: How can brands build meaningful relationships with their customers? Or, to put it another way, how can brands evolve beyond momentary transactions and connect with their customers on an emotional level to build long-term equity, loyalty and revenue?

For anyone outside of the ecommerce/brand space, the thought process behind these questions must seem quite mercenary. But you don’t need to be an industry insider to know how competitive the world is nowadays. Simply put, there’s too much of everything – brands, products and services. Thus, it’s quite logical to assume that if a brand could make a deeper connection – an emotional connection – with its customers, it would not only be desirable but, in a hyper-competitive world, imperative.

How can brands evolve beyond momentary transactions and connect with their customers on an emotional level to build long-term equity, loyalty and revenue?

Over the Golden Gate

Recently, we had the opportunity to develop and execute a concept with a client in San Francisco that aims to create this sort of connection and, in doing so, demonstrate how stories are the ultimate vehicle for moving beyond moments and building a sustainable community.

The client, Above Category, is the world’s premier dream bike destination. At their studio just over the Golden Gate in the Marin Headlands, they bring to life exceptional custom bicycles. As part of a wider project to elevate the storytelling, design and usability of its website, we recognized that the brand mainly focused on talking about its products, with content that detailed the components and decisions that went into making a custom bike. In short, there was a clear opportunity to talk about more than what they make.

The concept we came up with is called “Out of the Saddle”, a film series spotlighting riders in the Above Category community and the dream bikes the brand builds for them. It’s a simple but powerful concept that focuses on the lives of the people who buy the bikes and the stories surrounding them. To explain the name, to get ‘out of the saddle’ is to stand up and pedal – usually out of necessity when climbing a steep hill. And as a play on words, it alludes to someone’s life away from the bike, which the series so far has been so good at illuminating.

You can do that?

With two films released and another in the works, the feedback from Above Category’s customers has been exceptionally positive. Indeed, the reaction across the social sphere speaks to an air of welcome surprise that the brand is capable of telling such great stories, content that is usually the preserve of premium media outlets.

The challenge, of course, is to keep the momentum going. But that’s for another day. In the meantime, enjoy films one and two in the Out of the Saddle series below.

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    Author Pete

    Founder of Where Beagles Dare!, co-creator of the Magento app Inventosaur, and co-founder of retail store Always Riding, Pete is at his happiest writing, helping brands tell stories and consulting on e-commerce.

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