What does the future of brand storytelling look like?

Covid-19 has been rocking our little marketing world. As we move out of the alert levels we’re having to pivot our efforts quickly, which has made many of us question - what does the future of brand storytelling look like? 

We’ve spent the last few weeks thinking tactically, throwing all our strategical thinking to the wind, when as marketers we know we also need to be thinking about long-term brand building.

So in this current topsy turvy environment, where does that leave brand purpose and storytelling? Most of us will argue that, right now, it’s the most important time to share your “why”. But how in this weird time do you share this in the right light?

Luckily for us we sponsored and attended the Marketing Association Brainy Breakfast live digital event – The Power of Brand in Story Telling. Lauren Quaintance, Head of Content for Storyation and Peter Cullinane Founder/CEO, Lewis Road Creamery took us through their thinking about storytelling in our current world.

So, what did we take away from the session?

Here’s five ways to bring your brand story to life:

  1. When it comes to creating content to tell your brand’s story, think about what you are really producing. Being funny or even just useful isn’t enough anymore. Think – is the content authentic, relevant and most of all interesting?

  2. Good content doesn’t come from Google. Find real human stories that make people feel connected to their community. Lauren Quaintance believes that good content marketing comes from a perfect blend of copy writing and journalism skills – so get out of your bubble (now that it’s safe to) and interview real people. Find the highs and lows of life and figure out what your audience will react with.

  3. Peter Cullinane, a man of many brilliant words, broke down his brand work quite simply. It takes pressure to make diamonds. Great brands are based on great products. Think about it.

  4. At Lewis Road Creamery, everything is based on an internal brand thought starter, “we were sitting around the kitchen table and…”. It’s how they come up with everything from new products to campaign ideas while actually sitting around a kitchen table. This is how they create charm and delight for their beloved customers, including the self-proclaimed 93 year old milk expert from Mosgiel, who calls him on the regular to have a chat.

  5. And lastly, when you signed up to be a marketer you became a caretaker of your brand. It’s important so show respect for it as well as respect for the customers that are consuming your brand or product. Peter posed this thought as showing positive human endeavour.

During the session we ran a poll that I think you’ll find quite insightful. We asked the audience - what ways are you looking at pivoting your marketing over the next few months?

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The results were actually pretty even across the board – with products and services top of the list, then moving on to developing new creative and changing the media mix.

We also asked the follow up question - which New Zealand brand do you think has responded well over the last few weeks? And why?

When reading through the answers you could see that the audience has really appreciated the clear communication from Government departments, including the Government comms, NZ Police, Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and The Auckland Zoo. Even Mark Ritson, an esteemed international communications Professor, has commended the communication efforts from the New Zealand Government.

Another special mention went to all the supermarkets for their positive, upbeat messages and clear communication and guidance about what’s happening in store. For a while, going to the supermarket became a daunting task for people, so this was greatly appreciated.

And lastly, everyone has been loving AMI’s Kindcast, with Kiwis sharing kind messages to all the other Kiwis out there. It’s been heart-warming to see.

So, the upshot is, brand storytelling in times of crisis is more important than ever. But this isn’t the time for a clever hook. It’s about being truly authentic and genuinely useful. Tap into your customers and communities, and you’re on the right track to brand storytelling greatness.



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