HOW CAN INNOVATION MAKE STORYTELLING MORE RELEVANT TO INDIVIDUALS
#Culture #Digital Marketing #Diversity and Inclusion #General #Technology and Communications

HOW CAN INNOVATION MAKE STORYTELLING MORE RELEVANT TO INDIVIDUALS?

Storytelling has been used by companies since the first brands appeared. While the codes of a good story are fairly stable over time, it does not mean that brands cannot evolve how they bring their stories to life – quite the contrary. Innovation is a formidable vector to make stories more engaging and relevant to people.

There are three major dimensions wherein brands can innovate to improve how they tell stories: changing their perspective on culture, developing a purposeful use of data and technology, and being audacious in the way they operate and communicate.

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A MORE PERSONAL APPROACH TO CULTURE

Culture is one of the most powerful drivers for storytelling, yet probably the most misunderstood. Nowadays, everybody attempts to jump on the culture bandwagon, yet in their haste to win at culture, they often overlook the two most important considerations.

First, they approach culture from a macro perspective, while cultures should be approached on a much smaller scale. Micro cultural moments are what truly matters. By embracing micro moments, by getting closer to what is happening in the streets of a specific city at a specific time, brands can tell stories from a much more personal perspective, in a way that is meaningful to people’s lives.

Second, some brands lose their focus on authenticity. I have seen many brands trying too hard to appeal to consumers by claiming to be what they are not. Audiences will be much more engaged with your brand and your products if your story is true to what you are as a company.

 

A PURPOSEFUL USE OF DATA & TECHNOLOGY

Today, data and technology have an important role to play in supporting storytelling – each in a different way.

Data runs in the background, informing and inspiring storytelling by providing the necessary insights. Until now, data has mostly been used across digital marketing. However, I think the biggest opportunity exists in how data can improve existing non-digital-first environments. If you think about people’s experiences in stores and in the streets, we are virtually blind - from a data perspective - about these experiences. Fortunately, this is changing and that opens opportunities for more informed brand storytelling and more dynamic consumer experiences.

Technology is also in the service of storytelling. However, unlike data, technology can be an active part of the story. Take the example of Burberry. They used Twitch to stream their fashion show in September 2020. Of course, the show itself was the cornerstone of their story, but the technology was an integral part of how that story was delivered to viewers. Who would have thought less than a year ago that a fashion house would successfully revolutionise more than sixty years of fashion show codes by livestreaming on Twitch, a platform mostly known for gaming?

 

A CALL FOR AUDACITY

The biggest challenge facing marketers is matching the speed of change at every level. Yesterday’s five-year plans are expected to be delivered today in half the time. Only brands making audacious moves can thrive at that acceleration level.

It starts with a different approach to risk-taking. To succeed in this fast-paced environment, companies should truly empower their employees to take risks. Change needs to be enabled at the individual level – and, yes, it means accepting the possibility of failure. When people are free to try new things, new opportunities emerge and fuel the brand’s story and growth.

Keeping pace with change also calls for a more transversal approach to marketing. I have always found it baffling when people say you cannot use a touchpoint to serve two objectives. If consumers see something they like in a TV commercial, why not give them an easy way to buy this product? It doesn’t mean negating your brand image by overlaying a blinking flash sale out of nowhere. It means providing the opportunity for viewers to make your story their story. Brands need to be clear about what audiences can do next, even in a subtle way, and I’m excited about the opportunities shoppable media open.

Finally, keeping pace with change requires bringing the right people around the table. Novel ideas appear where different specialisms and viewpoints intersect. In the same way, brands need to have their finger on the pulse of cultures, they need to combine diverse talents to create stories that will propel their stories higher. This is what we do at iProspect. We stand at the intersection of unique expert trajectories to identify fresh perspectives, new sources of value, and new forms of storytelling for brands.

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In conclusion, as brands reflect on how to infuse innovation into their storytelling, they should keep a key consideration in mind: scale. Not scale in the widespread sense of always bigger, but in the sense of approaching innovation and storytelling at the individual level. Culture, data, technology and experiences make stories much more relevant when addressed at the right level, the human level.