Goodbye, Interrupt Advertising! Say Hello to Sustained Storytelling.

More marketers move to brand storytelling as a way to engage with customers in an era where email marketing and 'spray and pray' campaigns no longer resonate.

Consumers are tired of being sold to. Instead they want to hear real stories from real people. Marketers are responding to this shift in behavior by engaging in sustained storytelling.

Companies like Coca-Cola and Red Bull are masters of creating and sustaining narrative throughout their campaigns. A growing number of marketers are taking cues from these leaders, as a new report shows that many are investing in the internal resources, skillsets, and technologies that will help them move from interrupt advertising to sustained storytelling. Skyword's recent "A Study In Brand Transformation" conducted by Researchscape, polled 190 U.S. marketers at large enterprises to better understand how marketing organizations are changing to satisfy evolving demand for storytelling. Some of the findings include:

  • Of the 38 percent of companies surveyed that have reorganized their marketing teams to accommodate storytelling, 26 percent reported being extremely successful at marketing compared to 9 percent of those who haven't yet reorganized.
  • Fifty-eight percent of companies invested in new technologies to help tell their brand stories throughout the past year, with reorganized firms being more likely to have adopted new technology within the past three months (24 percent).
  • While companies are beginning to invest in brand storytelling roles such as editorial manager (33 percent) and content marketer (28 percent), advertising managers (59 percent), marketing operations (58 percent) and brand managers (41 percent) are still the most common marketing team roles.
  • Forty percent of marketing teams expanded their content marketing efforts within the past year, with many citing video (49 percent) as the most common type of content produced. Yet, while marketers continue to invest in blogs, which constitute 45 percent of media produced, companies have cut back on longer forms of content, such as white papers (18 percent) and e-books (17 percent), in favor of short-form alternatives.
  • Overall, 73 percent of marketers claim they're extremely or very effective when telling their brand story. However, successful organizations don't rely on marketers alone, for the executive team (65 percent) and employees in general (54 percent) can be equally as effective in telling brand story.
  • Thirty-six percent of marketing teams polled already have their global content marketing strategy in place, and 39 percent plan to execute their strategy within the next two years, yet only 23 percent of marketing teams currently create content in five or more languages.

Key takeaway: Companies clearly understand that modern consumers are no longer receptive to the old ways of advertising. Yet, while most marketing teams recognize that storytelling can generate the level of engagement they seek, many don't have the infrastructure necessary to carry out these emerging strategies. Organizations that have already embraced this change, however, are reaping the benefits. Compared to traditional marketing techniques, storytelling offers companies the opportunity to build their brand narrative. Storytelling goes beyond promotions and discounts to engender long-term engagement, not just sporadic point-of-sale interactions. Consumers constantly long to be part of something bigger than themselves. Storytelling allows brands to create this level of community and grow their personal connections with customers. Those organizations that wish to remain competitive will need to invest in both technology and talent to ensure that their brand develops a story that resonates far and wide.