This week I had the opportunity to speak at the Modern Marketing Summit Upfront @ Internet Week 2016 discussing the topic of the transformation of storytelling. Below is a recap of my key talking points.
The discussion covered 4 territories tied to how storytelling is being transformed.
1) How do you define storytelling from your company’s perspective? What is a story?
I’d define Epsilon’s approach to storytelling as finding a compelling difference through data that leads to a consumer truth then completing a narrative around that truth. The truth/data will often reveal the correct medium by telling who, what, where and when of the audience. We then use traditional tools of persuasion formatted by channel to reach the audience.
For us a story can be any type of format that creates a connection with a consumer. This can come through brand created, co-created or user created content. We further delineate storytelling and storymaking by working with our brand partners to make them the catalyst for the stories consumers are making for themselves.
2) How does the context of where and when the story is being told affect the way you choose to tell it?
Context is key as this informs whether we should use storytelling vs. storymaking moments. We then align moments with personalized elements of the story based on our data findings and use cross device identity to create personalized story delivery at scale.
We partner with a major sports speciality retailer to generate and optimize 1 million versions of the brand story that aligns with key contextual moments.
This is approach is based on transactional and online click stream data and that in turn continues to drive actionable insights across all of our initiatives to inform and optimize our creative process in near real time.
The key is consistency of message across various formats and having the ideal understanding of cross-device behaviors to deliver a message at the right time.
3) How do you coach your clients to think from the consumers perspective? What do you hope a good story will achieve for your client?
We show them what consumers expect, how they perceive their brand and category and align strategy where there are opportunities to create new points of connection. This includes understanding when to leverage branded content vs. co-created vs. integrated vs. user created content to tell the story for the brand.
We focus a lot on consumer behaviors. This comes in the form of machine learning and artificial intelligence that looks at specific domains and mobile ethnography studies. We also leverage our proprietary assets that highlight key behavioral, transactional and affinity based data that allows us to demonstrate how we find unique ways to tell or make a story.
We not only show them what consumers expect, how they perceive their brand and category we focus on the potential outcomes tied to our storytelling and story making efforts.
Our goal is to start or change a conversation, create advocacy and ultimately drive purchase and business outcomes.
4) How important is data in informing your decisions about your storytelling methods?
Data is the fuel of our creative process. It enhances the creative, it does not replace or stifle creativity.
We realigned our planning with data science to inform creative territories & strategic themes we then use this to map the story as well as deliver audiences all with an eye towards outcomes and building models that show the impact of our storytelling efforts
One of the other great assets is our ability to map to individuals across devices. This makes it easier to deliver highly personalized and dynamic creative. Mapping high level themes through to relevant micro-moments. This allows us to connect with consumers regardless of where they are in a heavily fragmented media landscape.
Data also informs consumer readiness when it comes to emerging storytelling mediums. Whether it’s the shift towards conversational user experiences to immersive experiences such as Virtual, Augmented and mixed reality. data is a foundational element to our approach to creativity and innovation.
Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360
I recently had the privilege to serve on the iMedia Agency Summit advisory board as well as speak during one of the master track sessions.
I moderated the panel master track discussion focused on “the new world of content marketing“. The discussion focused on what constitutes content. This included perspective from a content purist stating that only deliberate, publisher centric content is truly content and not formats like TV spots. The other perspective was that everything is content. The audience was split 50/50 which was surprising.
Next we discussed approaches to creating consumer centric content that connects. Approaches included the use of micro-segments to align contextual content and I discussed the use of data + creative as well as the content continuum of branded, co-created, integrated and user created content.
Finally we discussed current and future form factors to consider such as conversational and immersive user experiences.
Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360