brand storytelling, featured posts — June 17, 2012 at 1:35 am

Conceptual Smackdown: Bob Roan On Brands vs. Stories.


Brands are Static. Stories are Dynamic.

As part of a series of online research videos crafted created by Smarter Storytelling, we invited social business strategist Bob Roan to share his thoughts on brands and brand storytelling in our social media age.

Roan asserts that a brand is “an outdated Web 1.0 concept.”  “Web 2.0 is about stories that are somehow based in your product.  Customers don’t think in terms of brands but in terms of stories.”

Whereas brands, he continues, are permanent and static, like “the brand on a cow,” stories are “vaguer” and more dynamic.

Roan goes on to argue that contemporary marketers should generate and collect stories, and then “tie them up in some strategically meaningful way” to engage consumers in our new social media world.

Brand Storytelling: Converting Material into Meaning.

In fact, that’s what brand storytelling is all about: converting material into meaning.  Your job as a marketer is to make sense of all the material before you, converting data, insights and opinion into a coherent story with a sense
of direction and coherence.  Something that will engage people because it’s meaningful and comprehensible.

That’s never been easy.  But today the task is more daunting than ever.  You’re no longer just dealing with the stories delivered to you by your marketing department or advertising agency.  Now your consumers are broadcasting stories about your brand as well—writing blog posts, generating videos, re-mixing your jingles and mashing up your TV spots.

Moreover, the stories change all the time.  And they change fast.

So brand storytelling is essentially a dynamic activity.  Traditional branding was all about a relatively small group
of people making big decisions that were to last for years.  Now it’s about creating a meta-narrative that can encompass all of the stories that are being generated by the increasing number of stakeholders in your brand.
And about being able to adjust that narrative as the stories grow and evolve.

This requires a considerable amount of abstract thinking as well as artistry, not to mention the huge amount of grunt work required to simply collect and analyzing all the stories out there.

Good luck.

Become a better storyteller. Check out our Strategic Storytelling seminars and workshops.

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