“As marketers, we tend to overcook the storytelling process.”
That was the message from Carlton and United Breweries head of creative and production Jonathon Bernard, during a special B&T Webinar on Storytelling at Scale, presented in partnership with Shutterstock.
“Successful storytelling is the ability for a story to resonate and connect with its audience. As humans, and most of the time as brands, we place a lot of pressure on ourselves to have a great story and to tell it in a great way,” he continued.
And while ‘overcooking’ the message might be a crime for marketers, with the data and analytics capabilities that are currently available, it’s an easy one to make.
So how can a marketer deliver data-driven messaging that is still simple enough to resonate with customers?
“It has to be creative created by creative people, backed by data,” said Shutterstock creative director Flo Lau. “That’s the future and the current.”
“You have all of this data created by data analysts, that will allow you to serve this really effective creative at the right time, at the right mindset of the customers.
“You really need a good combination of creative backed by data.”
With COVID-19 and related lockdown measures ensuring individual’s screentime has risen in recent months, marketers now face the challenge of audiences with an increasingly deteriorating attention span.
It’s something Bernard described as the ‘eye glaze’ factor.
“The job of a creative is to hold off the eye glaze,” he said.
But with this comes the opportunity for marketers to put data-driven creative to use, he explained.
“Data takes a lot of the pressure off a creative in trying to tell the entire story on that one particular platform. If we’re crystal clear on the one message we’re trying to tell and this one environment at this one moment we will have a lot more success,” Bernard said.
Purpose (that aligns with customer values)
Also speaking during the webinar was Garnier at L’Oréal marketing director Alexandra Shadbolt.
Speaking in reference to the brand’s new end-to-end approach to sustainability ‘green beauty’, Shadbolt stressed the importance of brands evolving alongside consumer expectations.
“Naturally, we’ve seen the evolution of consumers and society and the expectations of those and we’ve shifted in line,” she said.
“As a strong brand, you don’t last decades if you don’t evolve.”
On the topic of adjusting a brand’s changing their messaging to reflect customer’s values, Lau cited the recent example of McDonald’s introducing a range of swimwear made from recycled plastic straws.
“They used the product to support the message of protecting our world,” she said.
the rise of challenger brands
While global brands like Garnier and McDonald’s have been able to adapt in line with these consumer interests, smaller ‘indie’ brands have been equally effective here, Shadbolt explained.
“We’ve seen this rapid evolution of these smaller indie brands,” she said.
“They don’t have the massive marketing and media budgets that bigger brands do but they’ve really got traction very quickly. Consumers are super engaged and really loyal with these brands.”
But according to Bernard, an ‘indie’ – or challenger – brand doesn’t necessarily have to be an actual independent brand.
“COVID, and this world we’re living in now, has almost forced big brands to take on a challenger brand mindset in how we adapt and how we listen to what our audience needs are and consumer needs are now,” he said.
He reflected on the fact that during the early days of the outbreak, it was often these challenger brands that were the first to react and respond.
Speaking on CUB’s experience during the pandemic, Bernard argued trust is now one of the most important factors for customers when selecting brands and products.
“We’ve found that people are going back to brands that they trust. People are returning to brands like Carlton and VB because it reminds them of something, it gives them something they’re familiar with,” he said.
To hear the entire chat, click here to watch the webinar.
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