The Evolution of Storytelling
With the evolution of technology and digital media, the relationship between brands and consumers has changed dramatically. The evolution of digital media allowed brands to adopt an “always on” approach to advertising which created the need for fresh content at rapid-fire speed. But as we know today, digital media is a different arena than traditional channels where a standard 30-second spot isn’t native.
Social media’s emergence is arguably one of the most pivotal shifts to society in recent generations. It marked the transition of power where consumers now had control over the content they wanted to see and brands they wanted to follow.
People were not frequenting the platforms to see ads. They were there to share their experiences and see the experiences of people they relate to (and to watch funny dog videos, if we’re being honest). People want to smile, laugh, and be inspired while on social; not necessarily be sold to. Marketers responded by adopting a new form of branding that was not hyper-focused on driving sales. Instead, the new goal was to influence their consumer’s emotions which would then motivate them to buy. This was the dawn of storytelling.
So to sum it up, storytelling is the modern word buzzword for branding. But as they did before, the desires of consumers have changed in tandem with advancements of technology and e-commerce, but it’s important to note that this change doesn’t mean that storytelling is fading, but actually pushing brands to upgrade their efforts to something much more involved: creating experiences.
It’s important to note that a consumer’s experience with your brand is influenced at every point of interaction. Experiences can be something physical in-store like the buckets Home Depot gives shoppers instead of baskets. It can be over the phone with a customer service representative or in the form of a sassy reply on Twitter from Wendy’s.
All-in-all, experiences occur at every touchpoint, no matter how small. And the most important part of each interaction is the emotion a consumer feels afterward because, as mentioned before, emotion is a primary motivator in purchasing behavior.
For retailers specifically, this means that consumers are no longer making purchases based simply on the practicality of the product. A man shopping for a new pair of dress shoes isn’t going to buy just any pair. Maybe he had a negative experience with his last purchase because he was initially sent the wrong size and had to go through the return processes. While this mistake may have been fixed, his overall experience with the brand was complicated leading him to explore other brands.
But this new emphasis on creating positive experiences doesn’t mean storytelling and branding should take a backseat. In fact, brands like Apple are winning in this space because they’ve found a way to marry the two. Whether you’re watching their recent “Behind the Mac” ad or visiting an Apple store for an appointment at the Genius Bar; the experiences are seamless. How are they seamless? Because the focal point of both is the people that use their products; not the products themselves.
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Apple is a primary example of why the future of storytelling is bright. Because if brands truly want to improve their overall consumer experience, they’ll need to continue with this modern day approach to branding that puts the consumer’s wants before their own.
Posted by Marc Bautista
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