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The Storymaking Bible: The Future of Storytelling

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What is the future of storytelling? It's not just rehashing the same old stories makreters are used to telling and then paying more to get them out. On the heels of Inbound and released in time for Advertising Week, this new master compendium will be continually updated and refreshed with new examples from a range of verticals: consumer packaged goods (CPG), financial services, business-to-business (B2B), consumer electronics, retail, quick-service restaurants (QSR) and more. Follow this account to receive updates on when this deck and others are updated.


Note: I have made updates to this deck but SlideShare no longer allows re-uploads. If you are interested in the latest slides, email me - dberkowitz/at/serialmarketer/dot/net and I will send you a Dropbox link.

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  • Interesting piece. Story telling will be the future for most content marketing strategies. Companies which get this right will see better customer engagement & ROI. At ThoughtStarters (www.thought-starters.com) we have worked closely with many companies in defining engaging stories to showcase their thought leadership. Companies need to identify the right partner if they have to be successful in their story telling journey. You can read my post further on these thoughts- https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/stories-future-content-marketing-karthik-nagendra/
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  • Fantastic preso. Not only smart but useful and usable. Kudos, sir.
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The Storymaking Bible: The Future of Storytelling

  1. 1. THE STORYMAKING BIBLE The master guide, regularly updated, for how brands are backtracking on storytelling and building on customers’ stories instead David Berkowitz Chief Strategy Officer, Sysomos david@serialmarketer.net @dberkowitz Latest update: August 2017
  2. 2. As this deck is regularly updated, here is a list of recent revisions in case you have seen most of this before: • Added The North Face to Participatory • Added American Eagle’s Aerie to Reciprocal • Added Burberry to Reciprocal • Added Organic Valley to Reciprocal • Added Haagen-Dazs UK to Fan-Inspired • Added Palmolive to Decentralized • Added Storymaking: Unhappy Endings toward end • Added Guitar Hero Live to Reciprocal Recent revision history (previous updates are in the notes)
  3. 3. @dberkowitz Housekeeping david@serialmarketer.net @dberkowitz www.serialmarketer.net slideshare.net/davidberkowitz For more updates, subscribe to my monthly newsletter, the Serially Sporadic: http://mrktr.net/seriallysignup
  4. 4. @dberkowitz Before we begin… I presented a short version on this theme, A Story about the End of Storytelling, at Inbound 2014 (the link goes to the SlideShare from last year) and expounded on this in Ad Age. I then detailed a framework for storymaking at Inbound 2015 in Revenge of the Storymakers. Read those for far more context. This presentation gives more examples and offers a framework for storymaking. This presentation will be continually updated with new examples.
  5. 5. @dberkowitz Check links & notes Be sure to check the links referenced in the call-out boxes. Most go to videos that will give you a far greater appreciation for each example; some also link to featured sites or news coverage. Additionally, you can find even more links in the notes field, so feel free to download this.
  6. 6. @dberkowitz What’s storymaking? “The future of storytelling isn't about telling anyone anything. It's about storymaking, where the brand facilitates and taps into the stories people are creating and sharing with each other. Storytelling is the epitome of the old one-way, broadcast mindset that so many of us in marketing are trying to leave behind. Storymaking, by contrast, is far more fulfilling, and exactly what will matter to the people all brands are trying to reach.” – Ad Age, September 2014
  7. 7. 1) From storytelling to storymaking 2) 6 traits of storymaking 3) Way too many examples (you’re welcome) 4) Action items 5) Memorable quotes 6) Storymaking: Unhappy Endings 7) Resources BEST OUTLINE EVERRRRRR
  8. 8. This gem from Marketoonist (continued on the next slide) is really everything you need to know about the problem with storytelling.
  9. 9. Here’s what happens when searching for stock photos about storytelling…
  10. 10. Why are there always BEARS?????!?!?!?!?!??
  11. 11. Storytelling is an ancient art. We’ve been painting stories on cave walls for tens of thousands of years.
  12. 12. But storymaking is ancient too. The Hands Cave in Argentina shows a story that people told together – a story whose legacy spans 9,000 years.
  13. 13. 6 TRAITS OF STORYMAKING
  14. 14. @dberkowitz Storytelling Storymaking Proprietary Participatory Idea-inspired Fan-inspired Centralized Decentralized Predetermined Unpredictable Unilateral Reciprocal Approved Authentic Storytelling vs. Storymaking via @dberkowitz
  15. 15. 1) Participatory Participatory here means that the whole campaign or program is dependent on people sharing their own stories, and brands then amplify those. In this overly sweet video (or maybe I’m just bitter because my high school years looked nothing like this, Coca-Cola demonstrates how it seeks to strike a chord with its target audience.
  16. 16. 1) Participatory In this video, see the results of Coca- Cola rolling out such a participatory campaign. It’s all about creating opportunities for moments like this to happen.
  17. 17. 1) Participatory Coca-Cola continued #ShareaCoke in 2015. One tactic used was buying the first sponsored emoji on Twitter and then setting a world record for “World’s Longest Cheers” with 170,000 tweets. Also note Coca-Cola is the first brand to sponsor emoji on Twitter.
  18. 18. 1) Participatory During the 2015 Christmas season, ‘love it or hate it’ spread Marmite created a Facebook app to personalize jars and give them to friends who are either naughty or nice. Not every brand is willing to say, “Give this to someone because they’ll hate it.” Authenticity matters.
  19. 19. 1) Participatory It’s not just Coke doing this. Digiday covers how JBL had people share their #cordfail moments to promote wireless headphones. See the story for an example of how JBL worked with Vine star Logan Paul to kick it off (the video’s pretty funny).
  20. 20. 1) Participatory What kid in America didn’t grow up playing horse? (It was the only game of basketball I could occasionally win as a pint-sized bookworm.) Foot Locker tapped into that accessible fun by encouraging fans to challenge star James Harden in a game of Horse.
  21. 21. 1) Participatory Foot Locker and James Harden teamed up again for a game of “Play My Tweet,” forcing the basketball star to sing “I’m a Little Teapot” and take selfies with camels.
  22. 22. 1) Participatory Storymaking isn’t just for B2C brands. For a great B2B example, check out how Owens Illinois articulated the wonders of glass through customers’ stories.
  23. 23. 1) Participatory For the 2015 Peanuts movie, word spread rapidly about it with the Peanutize Me feature where people could create avatars resembling characters in the series.
  24. 24. 1) Participatory For the 2015 holiday season, Oreo piggybacked on the interest in adult coloring books and let customers customize packaging. Even before buying a pack, creations could be shared across social channels.
  25. 25. 1) Participatory Pedigree New Zealand launched a radio station for dogs, K9FM, in 2014. Owners could call in and leave shoutouts for their dogs listening to the station at home.
  26. 26. 1) Participatory Betabrand, a retailer that crowdsources fashion trends, teamed up with The North Face to customize sweatshirts. Betabrand emailed customers, “The big idea at Betabrand: let consumers create products hand-in-hand with designers. Normally, a product like the Belayed Back Hoodie would steam to market, and only then would consumers potentially start clamoring for new or different features. You changed the history of this design by making it full-zip instead of a pullover — and demanding cuffs with thumbholes. INNOVATION!”
  27. 27. 2) Fan-Inspired Storymaking often starts by following the stories fans and customers share about a brand and category. Burger King noticed the groundswell of support in social media around the then-discontinued Chicken Fries and used that as the impetus to bring back the product.
  28. 28. 2) Fan-Inspired By offering content such as Chicken Fries emoji, the brand enabled its young-skewing target audience to include Burger King’s brand in their own stories that they share with their friends. That’s powerful brand placement, becoming part of people’s messages rather than an ad unit.
  29. 29. 2) Fan-Inspired What about directly tapping fans to come up with products? Betabrand enlists eager entrepreneurs to do its R&D. That’s how Jesse Herzog crowdfunded the Suitsy.
  30. 30. 2) Fan-Inspired If you only watch one video referenced in this presentation, you’ll find a year’s worth of inspiration in Jesse Herzog’s Suitsy pitch. Warning: your neighbors may need to peel you off the floor after.
  31. 31. 2) Fan-Inspired Heading up customer service at McDonald’s can’t be a fun job, as the brand’s an easy punching bag. Yet McDonald’s in Canada launched a program dubbed “Our Food, Your Questions” where it fields many of the tougher questions that consumers answer, effectively disarming some critics.
  32. 32. 2) Fan-Inspired Nest encourages users to send clips from its home monitoring cameras in the #caughtonNestCam campaign. It has created a video of the best submissions. “Here’s to home” reads the tagline.
  33. 33. 2) Fan-Inspired During the 2016 Wimbledon tournament, Haagen-Dazs UK filled its Instagram account with crowd reaction shots. On occasion, spectators were eating ice cream, but such shots were in the minority.
  34. 34. 3) Decentralized Storymaking can benefit from decentralized campaigns, where marketers let fans share content wherever they want, rather than through a specific site or platform. For Universal’s movie Ouija, they worked with Fullscreen to make social media star Kian Lawley disappear in a video stunt, and fans participated through a range of platforms.
  35. 35. 3) Decentralized Beats created a brief meme with its #SoloSelfie, showing fans how to do it, and inspiring some odd examples that had little to do with the headphones.
  36. 36. 3) Decentralized Palmolive promoted its Naturals line with a branded filter in the hot artsy photo styling app Prisma. The app itself isn’t a destination, so Palmolive gave up control as to where the photos themselves would live.
  37. 37. Halfway there. Let’s use this image again!
  38. 38. 4) Unpredictable When engaging in storymaking, brands should accept that those stories will often go in unforeseen directions. When Visa Checkout tapped Odell Beckham Jr to set a Guinness World Record for one- handed catches, it inspired others to try the stunt too – including Iowa Hawkeyes star Tevaun Smith. In such scenarios, marketers can proactively reach out to others to encourage them (if not pay them) to co-opt such stunts.
  39. 39. 4) Unpredictable Not everyone’s going to love everything you do. Sometimes, especially if it’s politically charged or addresses a social issue, many people will hate it. Honey Maid’s inclusive “Wholesome” campaign took a lot of nastiness and made something positive out of it.
  40. 40. 4) Unpredictable For one of the stranger examples, check the Lincoln Music Selfie Experiment (or the teaser for it), where you turn yourself into a sound.
  41. 41. 5) Reciprocal When tapping customers’ stories, what’s in it for them? In Adobe’s “Make It With Creative Cloud” campaign, students get experience and exposure that can change their lives. Always think about what value you’re providing your fans, influencers, and customers.
  42. 42. 5) Reciprocal Adobe is a consistent storymaking brand. It featured customers’ art in its TV spot celebrating the 25th anniversary of Photoshop.
  43. 43. 5) Reciprocal Tiffany shared customers’ stories about true love, and that was enough to get people to participate. After Tiffany launched its What Makes Love True campaign and a mobile app to find engagement rings, it reported sales spiking 20%.
  44. 44. 5) Reciprocal Bertolli, celebrating its 150 year anniversary, encouraged fans to share how they like to celebrate and then delivered some personalized content in return. Even when automated, a soupcon of personalization can make a campaign feel more meaningful.
  45. 45. 5) Reciprocal New York City recruited Instagram Ambassadors in the fall of 2015 tapping some high-profile judges to feature #AutumnInNYC photos
  46. 46. 5) Reciprocal “Taking a cue from from customers who have been doodling designs on cups for years,” Starbucks in 2014 invited consumers to send in their white cup designs, with the winning design printed on a limited edition Starbucks cup.
  47. 47. 5) Reciprocal Danish rock band Mew teamed up with Microsoft Denmark to have Microsoft Office 365 orchestrate a music video co-created with fans. The final clip of “The Night Believer” includes 1,000 individual contributions from 65 countries.
  48. 48. 5) Reciprocal In another example from Coca-Cola, in Brazil, Sprite is putting consumers’ Snapchat IDs (Snapcodes) on millions of cans of soda as to give its customers more followers. Initial users chosen had their Snapchat followers triple in two weeks.
  49. 49. 5) Reciprocal Guitar Hero Live asked fans to lip sync to Ed Sheeran’s pop song “Sing” via the hot Gen Z app Musical.ly, generating 100,000 entries that were collectively viewed more than 100 million times. You can watch the compilation.
  50. 50. 5) Reciprocal Organic Valley updated its site in April 2016 to focus on its farmers, telling their stories and encouraging people to visit them. The New York Times called it “table-to-farm marketing.”
  51. 51. 5) Reciprocal Burberry shows off how its customers wear its iconic coat in “Art of the Trench,” where people who submit such photos are featured on its site.
  52. 52. 5) Reciprocal American Eagle brand Aerie took a Dove-inspired twist and launched its #AerieREAL campaign in early 2014 featuring entirely unairbrushed models. Some could be stereotypical prom queens, but a range of body types are featured, and Aerie features young women who tag themselves, especially on Instagram. Most impressive is that the campaign never ended and became a core part of the brand’s identity.
  53. 53. 5) Reciprocal Bag company Minaal shows customer photos in a prominent section of their site called “Pages of Love.”
  54. 54. 5) Reciprocal Betabrand takes a more literal approach to reciprocation: they offer 20% off if you submit a photo.
  55. 55. 6) Authentic6) Authentic None of this storymaking stuff matters unless it’s done a way that’s true to the brand and resonates with the stories people really tell. “Meet Me at Starbucks” worked well in this regard, as so many people have made meaningful connections there.
  56. 56. 6) Authentic6) Authentic “Taking a cue from customers who have been doodling design on cups for years, this year’s design is another way Starbucks is inviting customers to create their own stories with a red cup that mimics a blank canvas.” – Starbucks on its 2015 red holiday cup design
  57. 57. 6 ACTION ITEMS FOR STORYMAKING
  58. 58. @dberkowitz Storytelling Storymaking Action Proprietary Participatory Invite Idea-inspired Fan-inspired Listen Centralized Decentralized Organize Predetermined Unpredictable Plan Unilateral Reciprocal Incentivize Approved Authentic Accept Storytelling vs. Storymaking
  59. 59. Gratuitously using this one more time.
  60. 60. “” STORYMAKING QUOTES
  61. 61. Jeffrey Fields, Starbucks VP of Design & Content “In the past, we have told stories with our holiday cups designs. This year, we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.” Source: Starbucks
  62. 62. Raja Rajamannar, Mastercard Chief Marketing & Communications Officer “Consumers don’t want to hear brand stories; they want to be part of the story, so we have shifted from storytelling to storymaking. We enable, create, and curate experiences for consumers; that’s the way to connect to them.” Source: WSJ
  63. 63. Julie Clement Cochran, Global Social Media, FedEx Services “At the end of the day, by letting our customers and fans across the globe be our brand storytellers, we have been able to transform our perception from being an out-of-reach corporate entity to an authentic, personable friend that our audience can trust.” Source: Visual Storytelling
  64. 64. Doug & Jimmy, Co-Founders, Minaal “Half the fun of bringing gear into the world is seeing what our users get up to with it. We wanted to create a space to share their stories and the awesome images that go along with them. At this point there’s way too much to showcase in one spot so ‘Page of Love’ content is all over Instagram and our other social channels.” Source: Visual Storytelling
  65. 65. “  ” STORYMAKING: UNHAPPY ENDINGS
  66. 66. @dberkowitz Unhappy Endings Storymaking doesn’t always work out so well. This section will include examples of what can go wrong and how to avoid it.
  67. 67. Forced Coca-Cola’s 2016 “GIF the feeling” campaign let people customize branded GIFs and share them on Tumblr, but it felt too much like an ad, so some people hacked the campaign. Soon, Coke banned some words – including expected swear words, and also off-brand words like “obesity.” That can backfire further though, causing rebels to put in even more effort to ‘break’ the system.
  68. 68. • SlideShare: A Story about the End of Storytelling • SlideShare: Revenge of the Storymakers • Ad Age: The Beginning of the End of Storytelling • Ad Age: 6 Characteristics of Great Storymaking Resources
  69. 69. @dberkowitz Keep in touch david@serialmarketer.net @dberkowitz www.serialmarketer.net slideshare.net/davidberkowitz

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