Once upon a time, traditional marketing ruled the world, targeting people through tactical messages, via traditional media, of course. Today, with the world going mobile and people connecting online, this model has proven to become less effective, and borderline obsolete.
Marketing nowadays, has taken a whole new form, pushing brands to go beyond the conventional selling strategies and engage consumers through a whole new media mix, inspiring them to strengthen their relationship with them. This new model of marketing is known as Content Marketing. The basis of content marketing lies in storytelling. Brands are taking their new promise and translating it into a continuous story that spans over different media channels, with online being at the center of the mix.
The earliest forms of content marketing and storytelling, took place with Redbull, and more specifically their “Stratos” activation. On a strategic level, Redbull somehow proved their great slogan “Redbull gives you wings” to be quasi-possible to happen. By focusing on the old concept of aspiration, Redbull told the story of “Felix Baumgartner” whose aim was to break world records with his free fall, in other words by flying. They told their story through a mini-website, social media and pre-promotional videos. But more importantly they streamed it live on YouTube, rather than mainstream television. The activation went viral to a point that traditional media like newspapers, magazines and TV stations covered this inspiring and revolutionary story.
Storytelling indeed has been ruling the field. Iconic brand, Coca-cola is known for selling happiness, a promise which has created strong bonds between them and their audience. But they didn’t just stop there. Through a series of activations, they took happiness and social bonds to a further level. A notable activation to mention, is “The Friendly Twist”, which has been circulating for quite some time on social media. The activation focused on bringing freshman students together, to get acquainted. Coke created special bottle caps with a twist, that can’t be opened unless they are matched with someone else’s bottle cap. The brilliance of this offline activation that went viral, is Coca-cola’s initiative to create real relationships between people and spread happiness by the simple gesture of breaking the ice and striking up conversations.
Another inspiring example of brand storytelling is Dove’s real beauty campaign which probably everyone has seen or heard of. The campaign not only served as a great marketing approach for Dove, but empowered women worldwide to appreciate their real beauty with confidence and not fall for the mainstream culture of fake plastic surgery. With CSR at the heart of their strategy, Dove strengthened their tale of natural beauty and reached millions of audiences via online channels, a result traditional media couldn’t have done as easily.
I could go on and on about how brands are telling their stories and mention more examples, like Harley Davidson and living life to the full, or Nike and defying obstacles. But the bottom line here is that nowadays, storytelling is key. Engaging users with the right media and becoming their longtime partners through consistent promises, is what marketers all around the world are seeking. And it has proven to be very effective.
Tony Raad Content Creator and Creative Writer