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Brand storytelling

Social and technological changes have disrupted traditional marketing models thus redefining what a brand is and what it can do. Therefore Brands must find active ways to drive conversations and create meaningful experiences for its consumers that also reflect the core values of the brand.

To do this, brands must evolve beyond traditional storytelling methods into full-fledged content creators. This requires the help of storytellers, influencers and technologists to develop new distribution strategies and innovative forms of content. Brands also have to exhibit a deep understanding of culture and community, and possess the authority to tie those things directly back to the brand itself.

Here are the 4 main modes of brand storytelling.

The Observer:
Brands in Observer mode look at what's happening in the culture and try to reflect that back to consumers, thereby associating their brand with that experience. By mirroring what has been popularized by others, brands position themselves as followers rather than leaders.

The Sponsor:
Sponsors take a more active role by underwriting events that represent their brands. By funding the experience, they give consumers access to something valuable, linking the brand more directly to that experience. But, as they are not part of building the experience, their role is still passive.

The Curator:
Brands in the Curator role kick it up a notch. It's not just sponsorship, but identifying what's essential and filtering out the extraneous. Curator brands help change how consumers experience the world and, in the process, gain credibility and acceptance as leaders.

The Creator:
The ultimate role for the brand is actually creating the experience itself. In Creator mode, a brand transforms from being a passive observer to actually leading the experience, as Mountain Dew achieved when they launched an in-house record label, Green Label Sound in 2007. To select the right partners, first, Mountain Dew had to know itself as a brand. Then, they could select artists, like Chromeo, Matt and Kim and Cool Kids, who embody their brand—people with a DIY ethic who operate outside of the mainstream and remain true to themselves—to successfully reinforce their own values and beliefs.

Which one are you?


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