Brand Storytelling In 2019: Why It’s No Longer In Your Hands

Brand storytelling has emerged in the wake of the fusion of article writing, brand journalism, and content marketing. Marketers are trying to predict the ways brand storytelling in 2019 will change to create real, meaningful relationships with their customer base. In 2019, we will find that audiences have become more central to brand identities than ever.

Brand Storytelling in 2019: Adapted to Ever-Decreasing Attention Spans

Data reported by Forbes Magazine show Generation Zers’ attention span is a mere 8 seconds, and they disregard traditional media completely. Every next generation has a shorter span than the previous one, and the following brand storytelling statistics show why: the average US citizen consumes 100,500 digital words daily. Thus, having relatively shorter content and a great title is more important than ever.

92% of consumers want brands to make ads that feel like a story, so we have to create content communicating a clear narrative. Finally, the effect of images should not be underestimated because the brain processes them 60 times faster than words.

Evolution of Media

From oral tradition to TV and the Internet, the way we tell stories has changed. Still, a good story is a good story. The advent of interconnected objects, the Internet of Things, and a countless number of new devices and networks will be central to brand storytelling in 2019. Today’s media is increasingly contextual, participatory, and augmented.

Some of these innovations will compel us to expand and adjust our approaches to brand storytelling in 2019. The quest and the hero’s journey are stories older than time itself, but they’re still good stories. They just need to be told in new ways.

Audiences Are a Force to Reckon With

As consumers claim an ever-growing stake in their favorite brands, the top-down paradigm is beginning to fade into oblivion. Brands are creating products together with their audience. The Australian company Black Milk Clothing sets a hallmark example of how brand storytelling will grow and develop in the years to come.

The online retailer mainly sells Spandex tights, but also offers skirts, dresses, and workout gear. Black Milk is revolutionizing the way audience-generated content and social channels are used to sell online. The company has never advertised or even promoted a post, but is wildly successful despite that.

Why? Because of an initiative of its fans, who posted pictures of themselves wearing BM tights. Simple, but effective. The authenticity of the images – real people wearing your product – was not the only factor working in the retailer’s favor. Allowing fans to monitor and guide product development proved crucial. BM’s audience plays a key role in setting themes like Star Wars and Game of Thrones for product lines. Consequently, all the collections are highly anticipated and inevitably become collector’s items.

User-Generated Content Is on the Rise

Audiences aren’t satisfied with simply expressing an opinion about what they want to see from brands or what stories they want them to tell. Younger generations in particularly are not inclined to wait for an experience that aligns with their preferences and tastes. Audience members are tired of consuming overly branded content that is unmemorable and feels contrived or fake. They are creating their own branded content – stories that are real and powerful and to which their peers can relate.

Who are their peers? Other potential members of your audience. This type of content can be very influential and have a unique impact on the way your brand is perceived.

An Example

In the spirit of the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s holidays, Starbucks is pouring its seasonal peppermint mochas and pumpkin spice lattes into the highly popular, attention-grabbing red cups their consumers carry around while doing holiday shopping. Starbucks runs an event called the #RedCupContest every December, in which customers have a chance to win a Starbucks gift card by uploading creative images of their favorite crimson-colored drinks on Instagram. So far, caffeine addicts have posted 40,000 original photos of their red cups in a variety of settings, such as against the backdrop of a wintry landscape or reflecting glittery holiday lights.

The #RedCupContest and other user-generated campaigns are not only enjoyable, but also feasible from a marketing point of view. Data from the Internet Trends Report for 2017 show user-generated content can drive up to 7 times greater engagement on Facebook than brand-generated content can. This is because content created by users resonates with members of their reference group, whose needs and preferences are similar to their own. A brand can’t always secure this additional reach on its own.

Authentic Content: The Heart and Soul of Brand Storytelling in 2019

Original and authentic content will be even more important to brand storytelling in 2019 than it is now. In 2018, it was very valuable because consumers craved authentic stories and content in ever-growing quantities. As a result, brands found it hard to meet demand within budget limits. A brand storytelling strategy can be defined by user-generated content, maximizing the brand’s impact over the long term.

This is yet another advantage of user-generated content. However, the question begs itself: How much control over brand identity should a company ultimately give its audience?

When it comes to brand storytelling in 2019, there will be a fine line between self- and other-determination. In the quest for authenticity, it may seem like brands are losing control as they engage in this dialogue with consumers, but that’s not always the case. The best option is taking the middle road -supporting content generated by users and listening to them to further mold and augment user experience. This way, brands will become more aware of and responsive to their audience’s wishes, increasing trust in the brand and reinforcing brand loyalty.

Trust Iris Content with Your Brand

When it comes time to pick a content provider, a bargain isn't always the best way to go. Content is more than filler; it's what draws visitors to your site, but inspired content keeps them there. It keeps them coming back. Content is a relationship. It's your brand. We get it. Furthermore, we can deliver it. Contact us today for a quote.