Last week, I attend Medill’s annual TalentQ Expo, which brings together Medill students, alumni, and marketers from around Chicago. This year’s theme, “Brand Storytelling in an Era of Disruption,” focused on how technology is changing marketing. But really, technology just highlights how important the “old school” IMC pillars (brand, audience, and measurement) really are.
Scott Bergren’s keynote, “Engagement in the Age of Technology,” reminded marketers that since “engagement is now liquid, linked, and constantly evolving,” it’s not enough to have content. Rather, that content has to be perfectly targeted and tell a story that’s worth sharing.
So what do people share?
People (not just consumers) share things that pique their interest, through surprise or a challenge to their existing beliefs. As Bergren quipped, “Without tension, no one pays attention.” The challenge is telling a compelling story that creates enough tension to be share-worthy.
As panelist James Moorhead, CMO of Dish Network, noted, “When there’s no difference in product or price, the difference is in the story.”
To get the story straight, you have to truly, deeply understand who you’re targeting. Search analysis can help, since knowing which terms bring people to your site reveal what’s on their minds. But true understanding starts at the generational level, and goes beyond just knowing when people were born. Rather, as this fantastic Digitas video demonstrates, you need to grasp how people live, which cultural experiences have touched them, and how they see the world.
When your brand story hits that sweet spot of cultural understanding, surprise, and uniqueness, it’s probably worth sharing.
Now it’s your turn. Can you share an example of something that resonated enough that you wanted to share it? For me, the Digitas video above so closely echoed my own story that I found myself sharing it with others the very next day.