David Bertowitz recently wrote an article in Advertising Age that raises the question: Are the storytelling ways of marketers coming to an end in favor of becoming a “story maker”? My answer: no. I don’t believe that storytelling is coming to an end; instead I think that storytelling is now a part of story making. If you create a story, you or someone else needs to tell the story on the brand’s behalf. Sometimes the consumer is not interested in another story thought up by a marketing whiz at Corporate Headquarters.
This is where the consumer is being called upon. Brands such as AppleBee’s are filling their Instagram accounts with photos taken by diners. This tactic encourages followers, as people always love to be featured on someone else’s page. Shannon Scott, Executive Director of Marketing Communications at Applebee’s says, “People continue to prove that they’re more into the stuff they create versus the stuff we create”. This user-generated content is a great way to include consumers in the story making process. Now they are hooked.
Bertowitz cites the “Share a Coke” campaign as a “radical” new campaign that asks users to share their stories via custom labels. While, from a packaging standpoint this is a newer concept, Coca-Cola is not the only company including users as story creators. He states that story telling from the brands standpoint is fiction, but this is not always true.
To me the real purpose of the Coca-Cola campaign is to get the user involved in the story and become invested in the telling, sharing, and creation processes. Brands such as Apple, Red Bull, and Starbucks tell stories that allow the consumer to identify with the brand’s culture. Consumers are then encouraged to share their stories via social media. Here the brand has started the story or discussion about the product and then passed the baton to the consumer, starting a relay of sorts. Consumers then share, re-tweet, and post their stories; stories that create a brand buzz better than anything the marketing department could have conjured up on their own. The rise of social media, the Internet, and blogs has definitely changed story telling. The consumer can become part of the process in a way that was not possible 15 years ago.
Bertowitz, D. (2014, September 17). The beginning of the end of storytelling. Brands need to be story Makers not story tellers. Advertising Age. Retrieved from http://adage.com/article/digitalnext/beginning-end-storytelling/294975/
Johnson, L. (2014, September 22). Food porn campaign gives Applebee’s a social lift. AdWeek. Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/food-porn-campaign-gives-applebees-social-lift-160257