Laura Roberts
Dec 21, 2018

Why ‘live brand storytelling’ should spearhead marketing spend in 2019

The managing director of INVNT on turning customers into advocates.

The Atlantis Sanya launch by INVNT
The Atlantis Sanya launch by INVNT

We’re all familiar with the experience economy, and while the term was first coined by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore back in 1998 after observing that consumers had come to ‘unquestionably desire experiences’ the term remains ever so pertinent.

How can we connect with this the modern, experience-centered consumer? Enter live brand storytelling – a potent form of marketing that enables us to capture the hearts and minds of our audiences, transforming the way they think, feel, behave and peform.

So, what is live brand storytelling exactly, and why should we embrace it?

Live brand storytelling combines the physical interactions that are made possible through live events – which are no longer about simply adding balloons and streamers to a space – with the centuries-old practice of storytelling.

It is a strategic and creative-led approach based around the idea that every brand has a story to tell. It’s about unearthing and simplifying a brand’s key messages and creating a compelling narrative that can be shared in immersive and interactive ways.

The result? Memorable, hands-on experiences where audiences can learn about a brand by seeing, touching, hearing and smelling. It’s where customers become instant brand fans as they learn about a company not by reading about or watching it through a screen, but by physically experiencing it for themselves.

This physical element is especially important today. It ties in with the rise of the experience economy, and also taps into our inherent human desire to connect with others face-to-face, and to belong.

There are a ton of reports and studies out there that highlight the benefits of tapping into this desire. A recent survey from the Harvard Business Review Analytics Services, which found that the respondents who have seen their revenue grow by 30% or more over the past two years have been choosing to focus on events the most. There’s also Event Marketer’s experiential marketing industry forecast 2018, where 91% of consumers reported their feelings were more positive towards a brand after engaging in an experience it had created.

The sweet spot? This is where audiences become citizen journalists, and share what they are seeing and doing at an event with their networks in real time. Whether they know it or not, they are acting as advocates – ambassadors even – for a brand.

While a third-party endorsement is potent in itself, equally powerful is the fact that sharing these experiences extends both the reach and lifespan of an event.

Here are five tips for leveraging live brand storytelling to achieve maximum cut through and customer advocacy:

Embrace universal themes

Take the time to get under the skin of a brand and the sector in plays in, while also looking at the bigger picture. Craft stories that audiences can relate to.

Be authentic

This is key, as consumers today are more critical of brands than ever. A recent report from M&C Saatchi Group owned Clear says it all: 52% of the 34,000+ people they surveyed never take anything brands say at face value.

Embrace the data

Leverage predictive analytics to design your experiences. By analysing past and current facts, you’ll be able to determine what your audiences are truly looking for in your future events, and gain an understading of what needs to be done to deliver on those expectations.

Adopt a purposeful creative approach

Don’t incorporate a lavish component into an event just because. Stay true to the brand story and only add those creative elements that elevate it.

Integrate, integrate, integrate

Social media is a form of social currency – sharing an event experience online equates to instant street cred. From creating a dedicated event hashtag to incorporating Insta-worthy installations, leverage the brand story to create prime social sharing moments. 

Laura Roberts is managing diretcor of INVNT APAC.


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