A great deal has been written about storymaking, a neologism used to describe the co-authorship of a brand’s narrative that consumers and marketers now share, particularly through user-generated content and social postings.
People have always talked about their experiences with brands and products, and those conversations have always influenced brand narratives. But the digital age has unquestionably made it easier to amplify those thoughts and spread them far wider than previously.
So whether storymaking describes something new or simply gives a new name to an old phenomenon, it’s worth thinking about what we as marketers can do to help shape the narratives that people co-create with our brands.
Jack Morton Worldwide is a brand experience agency, so our work is all about creating experiences that connect brands with people. We believe that it’s possible to shape what gets captured and shared in such a way that it contributes positively to a brand’s overall narrative if you ideate, design and execute work with that narrative in mind.
• Start with a deep understanding of the brand, and an insight-informed idea
Marketing communications work has the potential to generate positive social stories and widespread press when a brand truth intersects with a cultural truth. The best brand experiences are built from a deep understanding of the brand, its relationship to culture, and an insight-informed idea.
I’ve never seen the brief or the presentation materials for “Fearless Girl,” by State Street Global Advisors. But I suspect that the idea to place a statue of a young woman facing the famous charging bull on Wall Street was based on an insight that had to do with one or more of the following: that very few public companies have enough female senior leaders, that State Street Global Advisors had introduced the SHE fund, an ETF (exchange traded fund) that tracks firms that have women in senior leadership roles, and that the charging bull is a symbol, and a very male symbol, of Wall Street.
Fearless Girl worked so well because it acknowledged the tension inherent in those thoughts, and used that tension and the resulting execution to spark and shape a brand story that quickly spread around the world.