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BLOG: Changes in storytelling

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BLOG: Changes in storytelling

AKRON (Sept. 23, 2014) — Brand storytelling has changed so much in what feels like a really short time.

Commercial spots used to be a simple 15 or 30 seconds in length and review little else than a company’s name, location and any current promotions it was offering. Things seem so different today.

As marketing campaigns grow across multiple platforms — SnapChat, email, websites, TV, Instagram and plenty more — they have a great ability to say more about a company. However, that newfound freedom comes at a price.

The audience expects more from messaging. They want companies to take on a social persona and become more relatable and “more human.” They want companies that speak to them on a deeper level.

Companies are meeting that challenge by taking stands on social issues or current events and by turning the spotlight on their customers — who often can tell a brand’s story better than the company can.

Some firms that take messaging further to tell a story seem to get more publicity from their attempts. I’m seeing more pop up on social media, on Mashable and other sites I rely on for my daily dose of tech trends.

In all honesty, I’m more likely to sit up and take notice if a company shows me it cares about what I care about. I’m even more likely to give a company more recognition if it voices an opinion that opposes mine because I want to know more about the company’s principles.

And I’m not alone.

These socially relevant campaigns are popping up everywhere. It’s a trend that will make marketing traditionally even more irrelevant and challenging.

  • Take for example, this Pampers Japan ad. (Be sure to turn on the English subtitles unless you speak Japanese.) The ad is emotional and tells a story much deeper than what Pampers can do. It helps viewers identify with the brand emotionally.
  • Another brand that went beyond traditional television advertising recently was General Mills Inc. with this Cheerios commercial featuring an interracial family. Some of the comments on social media about the commercial were negative. But the company seemed to take the opportunity to take a stance on the social issue.
  • Mondelēz International's Honey Maid brand’s This is Wholesome marketing campaign that defined “wholesome” featured interracial and gay couples and a tattooed musician and other families. Negative comments on social media showed some public outrage about the families chosen for the campaign. The company responded with another much publicized commercial responding to the haters.
  • Unfortunately, taking a stance on a social issue will likely leave the other side disagreeing with the opinion. Just look at Chick-fil-A. The company experienced protests and outrage after it spoke out against gay marriage. But the company still managed to differentiate itself in the fast food industry as having a human side and an opinion on a current social topic.

Other companies that have used marketing campaigns to new levels with videos, TV commercials and social media aspects include General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet division with its “Find New Roads” marketing campaign; Coca-Cola Co.’s “America the Beautiful” campaign; WestJet Airlines Ltd.’s “Christmas Miracle” campaign that went viral at the end of 2013.

These changes in storytelling require a new marketing strategy. Price shopping alone. Products need to be marketed creatively to set them apart from competition. Winning customers is increasingly about how they relate to a brand and how the identify with it.

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Previous | Published March 18, 2019

Where can you expect to see the most growth in 2019?

Tire sales
45% (34 votes)
General automotive service
15% (11 votes)
Brakes, shocks and other undercar services
7% (5 votes)
Add-on business
15% (11 votes)
Anywhere we can get it.
19% (14 votes)
Total votes: 75
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