Brand storytelling has always been full of “you had to be there” moments – stories with meaning to the teller, but which struggle to resonate with their intended audience.
In the traditional media environment, such failures of relevance could be offset to some degree by repetition – hammering away break-after-break at a captive audience via linear TV broadcasts; presenting your case every day in the daily newspapers; bombarding commuters on their way home with incessant radio placements.
Eventually, with deep enough pockets, a brand could figure on at least some of their messaging sinking in.
How things have changed, huh?
In the disrupted media world, with so many touchpoints and so distracted an audience, no brand can bank on repetition even happening, let alone delivering a measurable degree of effectiveness.
As we know, the power is – literally – in the hands of the audience, who have the choice to consume and share content where, when and how they want.
In such a fickle environment, there are no ironclad guarantees of success. For every viral sensation, there are thousands of forgotten stories, often representing a large investment of time, money and hard work in their creation.
Which is why relevance is so critical when you do catch an eyeball – you might only get one shot, so you better make it count.
As marketers and creators, we owe it to the audience to make it a guiding principle that the content we deliver speaks firstly, if not solely, to what matters to them.
That probably doesn’t include a shopping list of features, a re-interpretation of divisional KPI’s, or any other internal priority that matters not one jot to the viewer, but which so often finds itself front and centre when a brand tries to connect with them.
These are the ingredients of a sure-fire “you had to be there” moment, falling flat, dead in the water at the point of delivery.
Ironically, the disruptive technologies that present so many challenges also offer unequalled opportunities for brands to get their content in front of their audience, and the tools to understand what makes them tick.
With such depth of understanding, and in collaboration with expert partners who can use it to define compelling narratives, a brand has all the tools it needs to always deliver content of genuine importance and value to the audience.
In the context of brand storytelling, we think that’s just about the only thing that matters.
Andrew Marsh is the principal of Marshlandia.