New Yahoo!/BBDO study uncovers tips for brand storytelling
POE_2Storytelling is a key theme at Advertising Week this year. "Great stories and storytellers capture our emotions," noted Simon Bond, Chief Marketing Officer, BBDO and Proximity Worldwide, during the session "Branded Storytelling in the Digital Era" at IAB Mixx in New York on Monday. This truth, he noted, is "vital for brand marketers to understand," because "advertising at its best is storytelling."
Who can argue with that? The conundrum for marketers, said Bond, is that "social media has changed the way we have to tell stories."
Understanding how consumers engage with brands today, and how they get involved with a brand's story, was the subject of "Branded Storytelling," based on a new joint Yahoo!/BBDO study, "What's Your Story?", released today. Bond was joined on stage by Lauren Weinberg, Yahoo!'s Vice President of Strategic Insights and Research.
"What's Your Story?" asked more than 1,000 consumers and marketing pros how they felt about brands and they way brands interact with them. One of the key findings, noted Weinberg, is that "almost all consumers -- 95% --crave some sort of engagement with brands."
"What's Your Story" centers on paid, earned and owned media, often abbreviated as "POE" in modern Mad Men lingo (no disrespect to Edgar Allan). "How do brands tell stories through paid, owned and earned media?" asked Weinberg. Advertisers should think of "paid, earned and owned" as steps in a relationship.
"When done right, this is a love story," said Bond.
The first date
"Think of paid media as a kind of first date," Bond added. He's referring to "traditional" advertising, like billboards, banners and the guy on the street corner flipping the "We Buy Gold" sign. "Paid media is the primary source for brand information and creating awareness -- it gets people through that first date."
"Seventy-three percent of consumers found information about brands through paid media," added Weinberg. But, she noted, "Eighty-two percent of consumers will ignore a brand if it is viewed as being intrusive...They're saying 'Don't shout at me!'"
Thinking about a commitment
Owned media---your website, your app, your store, etc. -- is more like a third or fourth date. "It's about getting closer," said Bond. "It's where marketers have the opportunity to get consumers to take action…It's important for brands at this stage of the relationship to tell consumers "why they should care about them." In fact, 54% of those surveyed for "What's Your Story?" said just that. (Hey, we've all been in a relationship where the other person just can't stop talking about themselves. Next!)
Earned media, in which people willingly share information about your brand through word-of-mouth, texting, social networks and so forth, is like being in a relationship -- going steady, if you will -- with your consumer, where consumers talk about you with their friends. "This is where you build trust," said Bond. "Almost eighty percent of consumers we talked to expect brands to be 'genuine,' and nearly as many expect a brand to be 'responsive and engaging'," continued Weinberg. "Consumers understand that brands make mistakes, just like people. The key is to address those mistakes."
The earned stage is "where brands can become 'passion brands'" that make customers into evangelists, Bond said. "Today, the consumer is demanding to be front and center of the story."
-- Michael Mattis