For a while now brands have sought to create stories of who they are in the hope that consumers will feel more of an emotional attachment to them and to give them more of a sense of purpose and meaning. Brands began creating a narrative and conveying it across multiple channels in order to persuade consumers that they were more than just pedlars of soulless consumerism, rather they were organisations built on specific personalities that could add meaning to consumer’s lives. However, with some consumers, specifically generation Z, storytelling is not that effective a way of bolstering your brand’s appeal. Generation Z value a brand’s social good over its heritage and status. For them what a brand does rather than what it says it does is important. That’s where storyliving comes in.
What is storyliving?
Storyliving, unlike storytelling, is all about action. Whereas through storytelling, brands talk about their values and beliefs in the hope of creating a personal connection with consumers, storyliving is all about brands actually performing specific actions and demonstrating the ways in which they express their beliefs out in the world. This is so much more effective than simple storytelling, which can often be perceived as empty rhetoric and inauthentic. Through storyliving, brands encourage positive behaviour, demonstrate how to effect change and display positive action.
Be the change you wish to see
According to recent research, 87% of US consumers will purchase a product because a company advocates an issue they care about. By demonstrating your commitment to particular causes you align yourself more strongly with your target consumer set. It is no use talking, you must actually do the things you say you believe in. A good example of a brand who have done this exceptionally well is Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. They have for years maintained that they are a force for good in the world and that they never forgot their humble, hippie beginnings. All their marketing was initially geared towards storytelling; they spoke of the origins of their company at great length. In recent years however they have shown how committed they are to not forgetting their hippie roots by immersing themselves in environmental causes, such as funding energy efficient manufacturing facilities.
Involve consumers don’t just talk at them
Another key reason that storyliving is so much more effective than storytelling, is that it involves consumers, it doesn’t just bombard them with messaging. Consumers are message-fatigued. They are burnt out by the amount of marketing and advertising messaging they receive and the effectiveness of message-driven ads is dwindling. Rather than keep communication one-sided, storyliving is about opening up a dialogue between consumers and brands. This can be done through things like “communities”. ASOS has a section of its site called ASOS insiders where you can engage with models wearing the clothes on sale on the site by following them on Social Media and seeing them incorporate the clothing into their everyday lives.
Create valuable experiences
The final component of storyliving, is experiential marketing, where you allow your consumers to fully immerse themselves in your brand experience. The experiences you create are all about leaving the consumer with a positive feeling rather than promoting a specific message. Lucozade created an event where consumers were allowed to play 5 aside football in the same humidity as Brazilian players and they were given feedback on how their bodies performed under the conditions. The product’s ability to provide hydration was mentioned throughout, but the experience was all about the brand demonstrating its knowledge of what its customers enjoy and providing them with a space to feel good, doing something they love.
As a brand, it is not just about having a clear and compelling story to tell. To really convince your consumers that you are who you say you are, you must live your narrative and invite consumers to join in along the way.