Happy new 2015, friends! We wish you a year full of exciting adventures and good stories.
Let’s start with an unusual question, which will take us on our first shared storytelling journey for the year: Do you want to know the future?
I bet you do.
Unfortunately, we cannot offer you a seat in the DeLorean, but we can offer you a trip further in 2015. How? We’re standing here with Edgar’s crystal ball and exploring the developments in brand storytelling that the starting 2015 holds.
I’m not going to spoil it for you by recapping what we’re seeing, but rest assured, there are no flying saucers involved.
Let’s dive in fortune-telling about storytelling straight away.
The new kid on the block grows up
The biggest wish we have here at Edgar is that storytelling will quit its overused but misunderstood buzzword status and will become the well-established player in the marketing game it deserves to be. And the future seems to hold precisely this.
As a distinct relative of content marketing, brand storytelling is already aligned with the goals of its other family members. In all truth, it’s actually embedded in all successful content efforts. So 2015 will be the year when people will start noticing its real power to change the trajectory of brand development.
This means we switch the focus away from random and ineffective advertising and move brands from being simple producers of content to skillful narrative creators. Creativity wins!
Brand story in the spotlight
While brand storytelling matures as a method, brands will naturally follow. No major change comes easy, but brands gradually start understanding the importance of an authentic brand story.
Why the brand story? Because quality starts ruling over quality in the realm of content marketing. Yes, content is nothing new anymore – we talk about good content. And coherent, well-rounded content efforts come with a truthful and emotionally engaging brand story. A story that shows how your brand changes the world for the better, and how the consumer can be a part of this.
That’s a clear step in the direction of more meaningful long-form content ruling the stage of brand publishing. This means we leave behind disruptive short ads and put the accent on wholesome storytelling that defines the complete character of the brand. While some big brands are good at this, it’s a valuable opportunity for small brands that are much closer (or even know personally) their customers to shine bright in the market.
Focus on people
More than ever, storytelling in 2015 will help marketers focus on people. Because it’s all about people.
To meet the real-time demand to engage their audiences and be present in their lives, brands will get more emotional. They will use more humor and will find better ways to connect with their customers on, well, a non-material level.
We’ll see more and more brands head in the right direction when it comes to relations with real-life people. Namely, they will embrace customer centricity and will deliver more wholesome experience for their customers.
This means more integration, consistency and personalization, paired with relevant and emotionally engaging content. Simply put: stories weaved with great ideas, set as an exciting experience for the audience on all relevant channels. And let’s not forget the power of user-created content.
Synergy between visual and written storytelling
There is design and visuals. And there is the written word. While we’ve already seen their happy marriage in the form of infographics and other visual blurbs, 2015 will mark the year of their harmonic relationship. After all, it’s likely that you’ve already made the resolution to do visual storytelling for your brand.
And yes, brand videos will rule this year, following the trend of heavily occupying the marketing stage in 2014. But now they will be ever more creative and well-told. Here the focus again will be on a good story – and one that makes a human connection.
Social media channels will follow and will make the sharing of visuals and video easier and more impactful. This will be done both through new platforms and through the maximising of the visual usability of existing ones.
Automation meets good storytelling
It’s the (unpleasant) norm these days for brands to have a designated marketing unicorn, the one-person around-the-clock marketer. In 2015, we will finally see this trend reversing.
On one hand, brands will recognize the need to have proper marketing teams and will slowly adjust their budgets accordingly. What’s better, though, is that automation will help them on two fronts: saving money and finding the right people for the job.
Edgar’s StoryMarket is a good example of how skillful storytelling can be paired up with useful automation. It will provide an artfully automated backoffice, which will pair the best storytelling creatives to the most suitable brand projects. Brands will get a whole team of professionals to work on their story – in record time and for an affordable price. Here at Edgar, we believe it will be a major force in brand storytelling this year.
Storytelling the future
So, friends, enjoy your storytelling 2015! And don’t forget: the future is now.
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