I’ve written about the evolution and development of Marketing and Communications over time (“Marketing Era’s“, “From-functional-to-aspirational-to-meaningful-economy“). One might argue that such a discussion of trends and cycles is outdated even irrelevant, since the pace of change in society and culture today is so fast, things move on before we can dissect them.
But, I believe it is worthwhile to scope out the landscape we are working in, if for nothing else, just to know its modus operandi. Once we dissect and understand changes in people’s attitude and behavior, we will be better able to respond – to inform policies, product development and even brand conversations. It is also important to understand the impact of these changes and how to navigate and inspire the future. After all, the intelligent brand | corporation | individual is one who can adapt and be ready for the future.
With that in mind, I believe that the current brand / communication cycle is one of conversation | experiences. It is one where stories shine. If we consider the rise of Micro-blogging sites WordPress, tumblr, Wordpad and even Pinterest and Instagram, I believe one thing they have in common is the idea of sharing our ‘stories’ with people. Even when we tweet we are sharing a ‘story’ of sorts.
Thanks to (as a result of) the digital revolution, people have become accustomed to giving more media more of their time. People spend short – sometimes long – chunks of time engaged in watching videos (Vimeo, youtube), reading (slideshare, blogs, facebook and twitter links), playing games (with all the emotions they involve). Only an interesting ‘story’ makes people do that.
If you look at the print ads below (source: Archive magazine vol.3 2012), you will see that they tell interesting stories. They engage people with an introduction, main plot and conclusion of sorts.
The notion of stories in marketing is not new. But what I believe is important is the way we look at stories from a brand viewpoint.
A brand story is not just a manifesto. Everything the brand does is part of its storyline. Unlike in the past, the ‘storyline’ doesn’t need to continue identically through all communication touchpoints. In fact, we can consider all touchpoints and all aspects of the brand as having unique stories with unique sub-plots, characters and settings across all touchpoints. They don’t all need to look or feel or sound identical. As long as they tell the story in total! At different points in time, one may outweigh the other.
So, next time you’re briefing your agency, make sure they understand and have a plan to tell your brand story though various touchpoints. And make sure each touchpoint has its own engaging story. That’s what we do for our brands ☺ It’s what keeps our work fresh, intriguing and interesting.
Here’s a nice infographic from Brian Solis which may help you decide what platforms to use for your marketing channels.
Just when you thought advertising for Feminine Hygiene products couldn’t get any more interesting (Ha!) Hello Flo went out and created a highly entertaining film using a fictional young girl’s first period as inspiration to tell a very amusing story!
And their website http://helloflo.com is a highly engaging site as well focussed on everything to do with Females and Female issues.
Nice to see a brand breaking free from the mould of the “happy girl running carefree along the beach” cliche.
A fun initiative by the Australian Airline Qantas. The initiative encourages travellers to get creative and design their own travel art using the inflight bag in their seat pocket, napkin, or boarding pass, and share it online using the #qantasblankcanvas hashtag.
Is there a link with Creativity and the Spaces and Environments around us? There are patterns that are crucial to creating environments that are recurrently creative.
For starters, ideas take time to mature to become useful and accessible. Breakthrough ideas take a long time to evolve and may even spend a long time dormant in the background.
Not only do ideas start off as small ‘hunches’ that evolve over time, but good ideas usually come in the form of smaller collisions between smaller hunches. Side projects need to meet and other people’s ideas need to collide.
So, ideas need time to incubate and they spend a lot of time in ‘hunch’ form.
So how can we create systems that allow these hunches to collide together? For example, Coffee Houses were for a long time engines of creativity because they allowed ideas to collide and develop new forms.
So will our always connected, multitasking, internet lifestyle create less sophisticated ideas as we move away from a slower, deeper contemplative states (like reading)? Yes, the great driver of scientific and technological innovation has been our connectivity and ability to reach out to others and turn hunches into something new. But, although in our new internet lifestyle we are always ‘distracted’, but we have so many new ways to connect and reach out or stumble serendipitously on new ideas.
Chance favors the connected mind.
This lovely stop motion film describes the process so we can do it more often.
Often clients confuse Platforms with Formats and Goals with Triggers. This 7 step guide to generating content clearly frames each element in its consideration set and helps navigate the different areas to think about.
Google’s Night Walk gives you an immersive audio-guided tour of Marseilles. Try it.