2017 will be remembered as a year of radical transformation in marketing. Collectively, we finally admitted there are cracks in the broadcast model. And, we’ve recognized that digital and social media is at the core of the future of all communications. There’s been a shift in control, as well. No longer can brands use a medium, broadcast, to control their message. Today, brands need to evolve from being a singular voice to being the collective meaning of a larger community.
At the core of this shift is letting go of the age old perspective of the power of stories and storytelling. There is too much information to compete with for stories to be as effective as they once were. As Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Alphabet, pointed out in 2011, “Perhaps the most sobering statistic: five exabytes (or 5 billion billion bytes) of data could store all the words ever spoken by humans between the birth of the world and 2003. In 2011, five exabytes of content were created every two days.” Today, it is estimated that the same amount of information is produced in 2 to 3 hours. The internet has turned inactive consumers into ravenous producers of stories that compete with your brand. To make matters worse, in the age of Trump, stories are less believable.
Marketing needs a new philosophy, beyond storytelling.
Context Over Content
Yesterday, Patagonia’s founder, Yvon Chouinard announced that he was going to sue the Trump administration over the change in policy around the Bear’s Ears National Monument. The front of their website announced: The President Stole Your Land: In an illegal move, the president just reduce the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. This is the largest elimination of protected land in American history.
Patagonia is not telling a story. This is not marketing. Patagonia deeply believes in a larger mission and is aligned with their community around what needs to happen. They are not focused on content but are providing context to their community to make meaning and take action around something larger than themselves. To do something for society and generations to come. In this world of too much information and fake news, brands have a unique opportunity to use their power to give the communities they belong to more power to get things done for the good of all.
Narrative Versus Stories
In 2013, John Hagel wrote a wonderful piece on the power of narratives over stories that really resonated and is more true today.
“Stories are self-contained – they have a beginning, a middle and an end. Narratives on the other hand are open-ended – the outcome is unresolved, yet to be determined. Second, stories are about me, the story-teller, or other people; they are not about you. In contrast, the resolution of narratives depends on the choice you make and the actions you take – you will determine the outcome.”
Patagonia has created a narrative that is about the people in their community and their potential. This shift gives Patagonia the ability to be more than a brand, a platform and resource that allows others to express themselves and make the world a better place.
Every brand has the ability to do the same thing. To serve a higher cause. To move beyond their mere brand stories. And, create real positive change for the communities they serve.
The world needs brands more than ever. Brands that provide context and create narratives. Are you willing to accept the challenge?
More Info: www.forbes.com
Categories: Money Matters