Consumers validate brand strategy by welcoming and accepting a brand. Third party, “unbiased” authentication of a product or service continues to be a pillar in almost every content strategy. By placing the public first, it is no wonder that the traditional discipline of PR has been on the leading edge with brands and all things social. But it’s come a long ways since the days of Edward Bernays.
The disintermediation fueled by digital and social networks has created an environment of pervasive communication, in which no one rules. This shift to collective journey storytelling is being leveraged by smart marketers who no longer subscribe to the idea that brands own and control stories. Instead they actively listen and are prepared to engage in the ‘no-rules’ ‘everything changes’ world we’re in today.
It’s no surprise the leading PR agencies around the world have evolved significant storytelling, digital and content marketing chops. Unlike classical marketing, PR is usually quick, fast, capable, and owing to its foundations as a “relational” discipline, generally good at creating stories that are compelling and engaging. Today’s stories are about less flash and more about substance. The mystery of ‘the perfect thing’ that prevails in the kind of hero’s journey storytelling that dominated the broadcast era has been replaced by stories wherein consumers are the brand and they control the narrative. Would you have ever thought a bunch of people complaining on social media networks would force major CEOs to institute dramatic changes to policies in the span of a day or two?
Borrowing insight from the PR discipline, these five qualities of brand storytelling are essential today.
- Be clear: PR people will always argue for the best information condensed into the smallest package, written in a way that can be “lifted” to help other publishers share the content. And figure out how to pivot quickly if the wind changes.
- Over-deliver: Leave room for a positive “surprise” about the product or service. Creating a conclusion the consumer of the information can make on their own.
- Don’t be something you’re not: Understand the mission and vision of the product, service and brand.
- Be consistent: Make certain that the same story is being told in all media. This doesn’t mean an approach from different angles can’t be taken to reflect the media vehicle chosen, but a consistent message must resonate.
- Be the leader: Innovators and early-adopters will make the most noise. If you aren’t leading, find something about your product or service that is remarkable and sets it apart.
The need for modern, pervasive communication thinking now falls to everyone in the marketing department. It is essential that consumers engage and share your brand story, so make it the most refreshing, authentic story that is possible and that they feel empowered to own it. In doing so, brands stand to gain consumer trust by focusing on reliability and delight, not their self-interest.
The Blake Project Can Help: The Strategic Brand Storytelling Workshop
Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education