Consumers now have the power to not only create their own content, but have been given almost unrestricted two-way communication between brands and large corporations. What’s more is that these interactions aren’t confined to court dockets and almanacs, but are curated real-time, digitally in online communities, forums, blog posts, and social media apps. The result is a level of transparency never before experienced in the history of humankind. However, this new technology is continuing to evolve and has only just begun to see its greatest potential.
That being said, many marketers, brands, startups, and consumers have yet to fully envision the looming industry shift. Stuck adhering to outdated business practices, they have failed to realize that their audience is privy to more information than ever. This paradigm shift in business marketing has led to a divide in how brands are reaching consumers, leaving one important question — Are brands creating content or storytelling?
What’s the difference?
Well, storytelling as we mentioned before is innately human. It is timeless in that it deepens our understanding of our humanity through shared experience. The industry, prior to the digital revolution, poorly used storytelling techniques to create branded messages focusing on their bottom line a.k.a. revenue.
These stories targeted consumers, appealing to their emotions in one-sided exchanges — stories in which the protagonist gets the girl because of his brand of deodorant. But what if you don’t get the girl? Was there anyone else who bought the product and experienced the same result? Will blank brand deodorant help me find out what I did wrong?
All of these are questions that consumers faced when a wonder product didn’t achieve its desired affect. But what is true storytelling then?