By Mercedes Westbrook
Storytelling that speaks straight to the human heart makes advertising campaigns memorable. Who can forget the BMW “Beat the Benz” ad campaign shot on Chapman’s Peak Drive with its clever play on words? Or the deliciously bling Kimmy Kool wannabe rapper for the Halls “Just Breathe” campaign? Or any one of Nando’s famously witty and controversially provocative twists of humor?
While the science of data and analytics can help create a digital communications strategy, only when it is married to good storytelling will it put a brand on everyone’s lips. Today’s digital strategies need to be rooted in creative dynamic storytelling in order to shape consumers’ perceptions about a brand and dictate their next actions through each of their digital journeys.
With brands able to message in milliseconds across digital, mobile and video platforms, it is programmatic media buying’s analytics which ensures a multi-layered story reaches the high-income 40-year-old male online at 9 p.m. at night in search for a luxury sedan; the busy mom checking her emails on her smartphone while waiting to collect her kids from school; or the youth alert to cool brands worn by his favorite rappers on YouTube. And with data technology so sophisticated today, it can intuitively present the same brand message to a different audience in language, color and placement in order to target the individual consumer better. The challenge now falls to the marketers and media creatives to craft advertising concepts that speak to these multichannel audiences with creative content aimed at the individuals defined profile and place of engagement.
Nelson Mandela provided a story of inspiration that upheld one of the most powerful African ideas of freedom. Today, it lives on at the voting polls, in history’s annuls and in hearts spanning continents. In this digital age, it is ideas which attract and build audiences. Mandela’s ideas upheld beliefs that fueled a nation – beliefs based on one man’s story that ultimately lead a country.
Let us take a programmatic journey with a man who became an unwitting icon and who birthed a journey of story relevance – a story which will be honored once again on his birthday July 18 and will serve to relive the ideas, beliefs, attitudes and connection to his culture that has shaped South Africa’s democracy.
Storytelling within the dynamic creative process
Step 1. Audience: To unlock the value of your brand’s story, understand that everything begins with the importance of storytelling. Some of Nelson Mandela’s first learnings as a boy were from listening to the tribal elders around the fire. As he grew into a man, he valued the art of storytelling as a way to instruct his legal clients, negotiate within politics and gain the trust of the most humble people within his community. Mandela understood both his opponents and his people. He understood what they wanted and needed.
Data will define your audience, right down to individual eyeballs, the device in use, the time of use and their location. This is data that will enhance your creative message; you are targeting your message one moment in the language of a suburban mom who likes running on a sunny day or the next moment for a tween wanting the latest video game.
Step 2. Awareness: Mandela’s actions created experiences which formed his story. Stories live on to produce more experiences. A relevant and dynamically creative advertisement that behaves, looks and speaks appropriately to each of your audience segments along their journey will create even more unique audiences and new sets of data for further optimization of one core brand message across every digital touchpoint.
Step 3. Memorable: In order to be memorable, your brand story needs to be authentic and resonate with those who are viewing, working or listening to it. Your brand story is more authentic when it is reaching a consumer in the right place and is underpinned by a responsive style of storytelling. The value of your core message represented by your story reveals what makes you unique.
Step 4. Emotional glue: Storytelling brings a brand to life and creates the emotional glue that connects your brand to your audience. Despite being incarcerated from the world for 27 years, it only served to increase the power of Mandela’s story as his advocates carried through the engagement of his ideas, leading to new forms of creativity and storytelling.
Step 5. Relevance: Each ad impression is not only targeted to the right person, but also presents the right person with the most relevant message. A story responsive to its target market will shape information into meaning through the storytelling of it. The most relevant message wins. Programmatic segmentation looks at the consumer’s larger motivations, is based on big data across a longer time frame and is intuitive in its predictions of future customer behaviors.
Step 6. Reinforcement: Message reinforcement to consumer segments ensures customer longevity. Like Mandela, brands are required to be a visionary, find advocates and write stories motivated toward a goal or action, share and then provide more storytelling.
Mandela preferred to speak face to face with people to get to know them first. Storytelling, driven by programmatic’s dynamic creative process, creates connections based on data gathered on the digital journey of its audience. Tell your brand story in a way that is customized and precision-targeted so it will grow audiences who continue to learn through your brand message as they carry the core value within each of their minds.
Want to know more about the art of storytelling for your brand when linked to the power of programmatic marketing? Book your free, customized Insights session here: http://atmosphereorange.co.za/training/
Mercédes Westbrook is the consulting communications manager at Atmosphere Orange, a full-service digital media management agency servicing the Southern African industry. Made up of an enthusiastic, entrepreneurial group of digital buyers, Atmosphere Orange applies exciting, new technologies to the media environment. Following a process of research and consultation with each client, Atmosphere Orange delivers a bespoke solution across mobile, online, search and attribution modeling that is both measurable and delivers visible results.