Are We Human or Are We Data?
Personally-driven brand narratives are the most under-utilised content strategy — but it’s exactly what your followers want.
Too often, companies keep what happens in the office behind closed doors.
You may think that your company’s story is not interesting to the public. After all, no one is begging to know when you run out of staples.
But that’s not what a brand narrative is at all — nor what it could be.
You have a brand-narrative whether you want to or not. So start telling your company’s story instead of letting others tell it for you!
Your company’s narrative is a much more complex than you think it is — and it’s an integral part of your brand. Understanding it, and moreover harnessing it, is one of the most powerful marketing tools of 2016.
What do I mean by company or brand narrative?
The term has a different name depending on which publication you are reading: it’s storytelling to Entrepreneur, strategic branding to Forbes, and brand narrative to Emotive Brand. While it doesn’t have a singular definition, the idea has come to be understood as the personality + history + story of your company and/or brand.
Giving clients and customers contextual details about your office, employees, or corporate structure provides you with not only an opportunity to bring a face and personality to your company but make a crucial differentiation between you and your competitors.
Memorable & personally-driven videos or tweets which integrate your personalities are ways to put a human spin on old, dried-up marketing tools of the past.
What makes you real is what makes you strong.
In the new rush to understand branding, too many companies have focused on looking cool and impermeable. They used known branding strategies to recreate the look of previously successful companies. Everyone wanted to be the next Apple or Facebook and no one wanted to celebrate who they actually were, right now.
The tools and strategies that ended up defining the huge changes that came to Marketing in the last 5 years are ones that embrace radical kindness, honesty, transparency, and humanness. The videos that went viral showed viewers a glimpse of reality, not fantasy or utopia. And the marketing campaigns that failed were the ones that clung to impersonal social media strategies, cliché representation, and unrealistic expectations.
As we move into the age of Big Data,our marketing insights are smarter than ever. We can (and should) target, study, and engage with our most ideal audience and waste less time and energy on uninterested demographics.
These radical changes have forced us to develop content & marketing strategies that are bespoke and genuine, as opposed to vague and open-ended.
Despite better targeting, the client feels more alone than ever.
People turn ad blocker on more often and are skeptical of data or email collection. Too much targeting & you risk overwhelming and annoying.
So try something new.
Go viral. Be honest. And show your followers that you’re humans too! Integrate this stripped-down and rugged transparency into your next video-marketing concept, content-campaign, or social media strategy.
What others have tried:
- Stop tweeting anonymously — incorporate a personality into your twitter. (MTV links in their bio to the account of who runs their twitter, giving a distinct identity to their account)
- Take a social-stance; while businesses should probably stay out of politics, having an opinion on a major event is a great way to capitalize on trending topics and make a strong social statement. (TicTacs openly condemned Donald Trump’s comments, particularly when their product was lightly mentioned)
- If you mess up — really say sorry. (Don’t avoid an apology like Samsung)
- Create more down-to-earth and creatively original video content. (We used our app zipstrr to tell a story about our office through video collected by every employee).
- Value engagement over likes.
- Use positive reinforcement instead of competition or negativity.
- Value your aesthetic as if it were a product.
- Be ethical and nice.
There are so many more possibilities for this new world of human-driven marketing — more of which will be included in my upcoming, in-depth research piece on the relationship between Big Data & the new anti-Brand. But the biggest step in this new genuine approach to marketing? Well, who says it has happened yet?
written by Olivia — the social media strategist for zipstrr.