Brand – What is Your Story?

How important is a brand story? Let’s start with a true episode … about a week ago or so, I am bugging my 11 year-old daughter to go up and shower and get ready for bed. She says to me, “Dad, I have to watch Glee.”

“We’re DVRing it. You can watch it tomorrow,” I said.

She replied, “No I can’t. I have to watch it tonight. Everyone will be talking about it tomorrow at school.”

Marketers – do you realize how powerful my daughter’s words are? Not because I am biased and think the world of her, but this is exactly what we want for our brands … That our audience feels the need to talk about it tomorrow.

And this is accomplished by having a story line with continuous, periodic episodes. Episodes where the characters that are developed are your values, benefits, products, services, and people. The content of your episodes reinforces why you are in business, not what you are selling (as I mentioned in the article “Marketing Leadership (with a Hint of Social Media“) .

You need a content strategy that plays like the best TV production you know. Glee is about production, character development, and supporting other marketing channels (soundtrack downloads, touring concert, and merchandise). The content each week reinforces their “products.”

I am not suggesting that you need to create and maintain a production as elaborate as Glee, but I am stating you need a storyline. And each content piece you produce is an episode of “your” show, your owned media reinforcing your brand’s value.

And why is a brand story so important?

What’s the story morning glory
Well
Need a little time to wake up, wake up
Well
What’s the story morning glory
Well

– Lyric excerpt from “Morning Glory”, by Oasis

Because stories are what connect us to one another. And if you want to connect your brand with your audience and potential customers/clients and deepen relationships, you need not only have a good story, but also have to determine the outlets or channels where your story will be told and the scheduling for your content releases. If you want people talking about your brand, you need a well executed and coordinated content strategy.

According to Kristina Halvorson, “Content strategy plans for the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content.” In her article, “The Discipline of Content Strategy,” she goes on to say that the best content strategy defines:

- key themes and messages,
– recommended topics,
– content purpose (i.e., how content will bridge the space between audience needs and business requirements),
– content gap analysis,
– metadata frameworks and related content attributes,
– search engine optimization (SEO), and
– implications of strategic recommendations on content creation, publication, and governance.

I would go on to say that a complete content strategy (your owned media) must also define integration with earned and paid media as I cover in the article “Integrating Owned Media, Earned Media, and Paid Media.” But I digress …

Mashable suggests:

- Knowing your voice
– Timing your content
– Knowing your audience
– Solving problems, and
– Being true

as their 5 Key Tips for a Successful Social Media Content Strategy“.” I would add that you need to think how you will stand out from the crowd (read creativity into this) and tactically plan how your content will be shared such that your audience continues to grow.

The point is you should have a brand story. This starts with a brand position but goes a bit deeper to explain why you do what you do. A brand story that is supported by a creative content strategy that views owned media as part of the product/service you deliver. Your content should be a production of episodes across different outlets and channels to continually reinforce the brand.

So what’s your story morning glory?

Make It Happen,
Social Steve

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12 Comments

Filed under brand communication, brand marketing, brand reputation, brands, owned-earned-paid media, social media, social media marketing, Social Steve, socialmedia, SocialSteve

12 responses to “Brand – What is Your Story?

  1. I’m with your daughter [not watching Glee] watch it live and feel part of the larger connected community in real time and in chat time the day after [just got to schedule the shower earlier or early next day haha], this is not advocating anyone just follows the crowd. Far better to lead but we now have the opportunity to connect and communicate like never before.

    What’s my story, having the opportunity to engage with like minded as well as unlike minded globally and to look through my window on the world and engage and participate inside someones elses window and world and on and on and on. nothing special just a chance to talk and share our stories.

  2. That is why you are getting transmedia ready ;-) Branded entertainment is the key business model for transmedia creation, transmedia storytelling and experiences. You should have a look at how brands are involved in experiencing this : Bar Karma on Current TV is one example. Creators from all media are preparing now content that will need brands to become producers. That is creating new professions as well. By the way check out the PGA, Producers Guild of America has created the title for “transmedia producer”. That is related to transmedia franchise when the story is extended to other platforms. There is so much to say and to do still. Maybe create also some agencies that can help brands understand better the situation for creator in the new multiplatforms performances and help creators to understand better the needs and constraints of brands. (I astonish myself in writing in English. I’m still French unfortunetly ;-) Best, Karine

    • Karine,

      Great examples. I know you are very involved in transmedia. My comments are simply from the perspective of a marketing executive looking at target audience behavior. I recognize what will motivate an audience to engage and adopt brands and continue to share my experiences and thoughts. I have not studies transmedia, but I do believe that my marketing assessments are drawing me towards more formalized transmedia. Would love for you to share more with me and the audience of this blog, some suggestions of where we can learn more about transmedia initiatives happening today.

      Much thanks,
      Steve

  3. I will ! But in the meantime some links for transmedia in NYC : http://www.meetup.com/Transmedia-New-York-City

    http://www.livestream.com/transmedianewyorkcity

    Basically the best blog for transmedia at the moment is still the one by Simon Pulman who actually lives in NYC and I met with him when I met with you too Steve ! You were the 2 persons I wanted to talk to in the USA before to get more involved on the web !

    http://www.transmythology.com

    I advocate for transmedia creation versus transmedia marketing trying to bridge the gap between creators and “advertisors” ;-) They are not used to work together directly, they should get transmedia ready ! If people like you and me work a plan for a transmedia production, the product, the IP, the creation, will have much more value as it will also undertake the values of the users/audience. At this moment I dont see yet a place or platform where creators can meet the brands, maybe that is the next step… Who is going to create that platform ? I would love to get involved ! ;-)
    I know, you say we have the “agencies”, they are not yet really transmedia ready and they will have to do a lot of efforts to get more expertise in many different areas of production, so they also need to bridge gaps, the same gaps i think. I will continue this thinking. I am experimenting. I would love to have your pov on the tool I am making now. I will show a little online. The complete tool is still a prototype. More soon on http://www.transmediaready.com (work in progress)
    Merci for hosting me.

  4. Pingback: Freelance-Zone.com » Blog Archive » Storytelling Your Author Brand

  5. Nicely said and presented, Steve.
    Best regards,
    Bill

  6. Love the idea of telling a brand’s story and reinforcing that theme in each content piece. What’s so interesting about your post is the enduring power of TV. Despite all the advances to record and watch shows whenever we want/on whatever device we have, there’s still the desire to watch a program when all of our peers are watching it. I wonder if your daughter’s age group communicates with one other using social media during the show or only face-to-face.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • My daughter (age 11) does not communicate on social media while watching, but my son (age 14) is multi-tasking on Facebook while he watches TV.

      Thanks for your comments and joining the conversation.

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