Focus on 'storydoing’, rather than storytelling

Fjord MD Bronwyn van der Merwe
By Fjord MD Bronwyn van der Merwe | 12 April 2017
Bronwyn van der Merwe

While brands have a natural preference for glossy, well-developed content, consumers are opting for content that is accessible, raw and natural. At Fjord, we believe the days of conventional brand storytelling may well be coming to a close, and as a result brands will need to re-model their marketing strategy and focus on ‘storydoing’, rather than storytelling.

Since the launch of the world’s first smartphone in 2009, enhanced video and photo-editing features have given ordinary people the tools and power to create—and publish—compelling user content. The popularity of apps that soon followed, such as Instagram, Snapchat, and other content-dominated platforms is reflective of the growing trend to create content, and the rising power of image and live video over text. This democratisation of content creation will require brands to take a step back to let consumers create their own stories.

As platforms give consumers tools to become their own ‘storytellers’, what’s next for brands that want to drive conversation? Even if brands are well-equipped to produce high value content – simply attempting to match the existing volume of consumer content is no longer enough.

A range of Australian companies have emerged looking to capitalise on this trend to create live content. For instance, HisSmile allows prominent social media influencers to take control of its company Snapchat account for the day, with no guaranteed exposure of their products.

For brands to succeed in this evolving landscape, they need to harness the power of content creation by integrating the following strategies:

1. Re-model marketing team to focus on ‘storydoing’:

To move beyond traditional brand-centric content production, organisations need to shift their focus to consumers. Human-centred design can act as a powerful base to create compelling content. In order to give reign to consumers to participate and contribute their own stories, brands should assume the role of ‘orchestrators’ rather than ‘creators’ of content.

The ‘tip exchange’ launched by Vanish Napisan, which invited consumers to upload their videos on how to remove stains, is one example of effectively formed ‘storydoing’. This exchange platform was shared across multiple channels and assisted Napisan to personalise its offering with behind-the-scenes content and raw, live footage. This consumer-produced content helped the brand to create an engaging platform that facilitated two-way conversations between the brand and its target customers.

2. Acclimatise to consumers’ new normal and think about their brand as ‘living’:

To begin the brand transition, it is important to define what type of content marketing strategy aligns best with the behaviour and needs of consumers. Brands must also have an awareness of how communication on social media platforms is evolving – for instance, the use of filters on Instagram. Using these insights, brands can assess how these can be applied to increase consumer engagement with their brand.

3. Nurture their content, for the love of compelling, usable content experiences everywhere.

Don’t just launch and leave it: Brands seeking to improve their usable content experiences should ensure they have the team and infrastructure available to not only test and refine content that is in development, but also ensure processes are put in place to allow content to be monitored and evaluated post-launch. In preparing for interactive consumer content, brands should avoid traditionally programmed content production by accepting a certain level of risk and embracing the art of experimentation.

By Fjord MD Bronwyn van der Merwe

Fjord is the design and innovation unit of Accenture Interactive, for Australia and New Zealand.

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