Social Media Marketing and Storytelling


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Herskovitz, S., & Malcolm, C. (2010). The essential brand persona: Storytelling and branding. The Journal of Business Strategy, 31(3), 21-28. doi:10.1108/02756661011036673
Herskovitz, S., & Malcolm, C. (2010). The essential brand persona: Storytelling and branding. The Journal of Business Strategy, 31(3), 21-28. doi:10.1108/02756661011036673
C., Bonnie. (2012). Using Elements of Creative Storytelling in Marketing. Swipely. Retrieved from
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Retro Branding and the Revival of Brand Meaning. Journal of Marketing, 67, 19-33.

Simply Zesty. (2011). Social media has evolved into the art of storytelling, and we must all become masters of it. Simply Zesty. Retrieved from
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Cheddar, C (2012). #McFail? McDonald's Twitter campaign gets hijacked. USA Today. Retrieved from

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  • According to the National Storytelling Association, storytelling is the art of using language, vocalization, and/or physical movement and gesture to reveal the elements and images of a story
  • Storytelling has long been a part of our culture. From cave/rock art to oral then written forms of language, we use it to educate and entertain.
  • Just as the invention of the printing press once revolutionized storytelling by making stories available to the masses, social media has revolutionized the industry by allowing the masses to share their stories with one another2. We are no longer passive participants, merely watching, reading or listening to stories. Rather, we are empowered by interactive media to tell new stories, participate and build on existing ones. In addition, stories are now ubiquitous. Those shared on Facebook walls and Twitter posts are accessible whenever and wherever using smart phones, computers and tablets. Stories are no longer about thepast. Today, they happens in real time.
  • Marketers understand the value of storytelling. Stories are effective marketing and advertising tools because they are memorable, make sense of the world, create and strengthen emotional connections, and allow consumers to recognize and identify with brands of any type. Telling a tale gives brands competitive advantage.
  • Good marketing and advertising have all of the key elements of a narrative.
  • the brand persona (the main character) is the most important element of the story it is the character and personality of the brand that creates an emotional bond with the audienceNike, FedEx and McDonald’s are all excellent examples of brands with personas
  • - the conflict is the unmet need or problem that the brand seeks to fulfill or solve. - OfficeMax found that people, especially women, wanted workplace with patterns, colours and textures. The result was 4 product lines that met this need and a tagline that addresses the conflict. (Aaker, D. (2011). Brand Relevance Making Competitors Irrelevant. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley and Sons Inc.)
  • - the setting is the space where a brand conducts business (a restaurant, a store, a website, etc.). - A place for conversation and a sense of community. A third place between work and home. (
  • the plot pulls together all of the elements previously mentioned and incorporates the customers’ experience with the brand. For instance, Helly Hansen invites the audience to imagine their own stories with the tagline “The Front Line Between You and the Elements”. This week’s reading discusses how strong brands that stand the test of time. It identifies allegory (brand story) and aura (brand essence) as key element to a revival brand
  • With social media, these stories are becoming less fictional. We as consumers are becoming a part of these stories as we share our personal interactions with products, services and brands.Effective social media marketing encourages customers to become brand advocates, thus, influencing them to tell stories for you.Allen Blonde has identified a formula to make this happen. It starts with good content(story) that is packaged for the right media channel(telling). Content that is delivered in the right language engages consumers. Conversations are fuelled and connections are made through shared experience. Then, users become participants and stories are passed along through word of mouth.
  • The onset of social media has expanded the creative possibilities for marketers and allowed them to create a 2-way story directly with their customer. Storytelling in a 2-way fashion ultimately helps create brand recognition and loyalty as the customer not only feels they are, but sincerely are, part of the brands’ story. A recent example of fantastic storytelling using social media is with Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign. After tremendous success with their television ads, Old Spice took storytelling to an entirely new level by creating personalized ads for their customers and posting them on YouTube. Isaiah Mustafa, the star of the commercials, created video replies addressing bloggers and twitter followers by name, who had commented on the campaign. The YouTube video’s success can be attributed to the fact that Old Spice had created great content, fuelled connections with the consumers, and allowed them to be participants in the story.
  • Another great example of storytelling done well using social media is the story of OB Ultra Tampons. They were discontinued in the fall of 2010 and there was massive customer backlash. In fact, as inventory depleted the tampons started showing up on eBay, selling for as much as $100/box! In the fall of 2011, OB finally got the message and created a customized apology video to OB customers, with a downloadable coupon for customers their apology cover all three requirements: there’s great content, it connects with the customer (they heard their complaints), and it creates participation (entering their name)
  • I’d like to close off the discussion with a very recent example of storytelling gone wrong: the McDonald’s twitter campaign. It was intended to get customers to tell their own personal stories about the excellent quality of mcdonald’s products and great experiences they had with the fast food restaurant by using the sponsored #McDStoriesThe campaign went horrible wrong and people started using the hashtag to talk about non-eatible items they had found in their food as well as a platform for animal activist to rant. McDonald’s quickly pulled the campaign and now facing the backlash of the negative press. With that, we’d like to open the floor to questions.
  • Social Media Marketing and Storytelling

    1. 1. AGENDA1. What is storytelling2. How SMM has changed storytelling3. Why storytelling is important to marketing and advertising and how it can be used effectively1. The key elements of effective SMM storytelling2. Examples of both good and bad SMM storytelling
    2. 2. STORYTELLING (sto·ry·tell·ing)The art of using language, vocalization, and/orphysical movement and gesture to reveal theelements and images of a story.(as defined by the National Storytelling Association)
    3. 3. Storytelling has long been apart of our culture• cave/rock art• oral then written forms of language• printing pressEDUCATE and ENTERTAIN
    4. 4. With social media storytelling isinteractive, ubiquitous, and happens in real time
    5. 5. Why are stories important to marketers andadvertisers?•memorable•make sense of the world•create and strengthen emotional connections•and allow consumers to recognize and identify with brands of any type
    6. 6. Good marketing and advertising haveall of the key elements of a narrative Main Character Conflict Setting Plot
    7. 7. THE MAIN CHARACTER{the brand persona} is the winged goddess of victory according to Greek mythology A trusted brand known for reliability, speed, and service
    8. 8. CONFLICT{unmet need of the consumer} “Life is beautiful, work can be too.”
    9. 9. SETTING{the space} A “third place”
    10. 10. PLOT{the culmination of other elements plus customerexperience}
    11. 11. Shared Experiences Word ofEngagement Mouth Content Connections Participation + Influence= Reach/Conversion/Awareness
    12. 12. {The New Story of Old Spice} “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” Campaign 3 Key Elements:  Great Content  Fuelled Connections  Invited Participation
    13. 13. {Apology Accepted: OB Tampons} OB Ultra discontinued in the fall of 2010 Customer backlash: OB Ultra started selling on eBayfor over $100/box OB creates Interactive apology Fall 2011 “We heard you and want you to know that we’reworking hard to bring o.b. Ultra Tampons back to themarket”
    14. 14. {#McFail} McDonald’s #McDStories Twitter Campaign3 Key Elements: Great Content Fuelled ConnectionsWrong audience became Participants