INVNT APAC managing director, Laura Roberts, says the power of stories cannot be underestimated.
Storytelling, much like live events, has brought people together since the beginning of time. Consider the greats like Shakespeare, Hemingway, or Walt Disney – their stories are still studied, referred to and enjoyed today because of their ability to engage people emotively. They pull at the heartstrings, make audiences laugh, cry and reflect, and in doing so, create narratives that stay with people forever. They remember them, read them over and over again, and share them with their families and friends.
Crafting the all-important (and sometimes elusive) brand story
Every brand, business and organisation has a story to tell, they just might not know it. This is because there are often a web of complex messages, strategies, and product profiles at play. They can be so overwhelming for some that the underlying story – the unique fact or interesting soundbite that could actually mean something to the consumer – gets lost in translation.
As event marketing professionals it’s our job to conduct extensive research into the brand. We need to take a deep dive and learn about its product and/or service offering, core customer, history and why it should even exist in the first place. We then extract the elements that tell us something unique about the brand – the ones that will strike a chord with the audience, while still staying true to what it stands for. These are the building blocks for a memorable brand story.
We’ve created a proprietary strategic and creative methodology known as INVNTion™ as a means of telling our clients stories more effectively. It’s a seven-step process where we condense these various messages or ‘building blocks’ into a cohesive narrative so that they actually mean something to the audience. Because they are well informed and researched, these narratives move audiences emotionally and engage them intellectually, just like Shakespeare, Hemingway and Walt Disney did and continue to do.
Today, live brand storytelling is one of the most potent forms of marketing. Here are three key tactics to ensure it’s effective:
- Embrace the power of social media. When an event resonates with attendees, they are more likely to share their experiences with their networks via social media, so make it easy for them to do so. Do things like creating a dedicated event hashtag, and incorporate participatory experiences that tell the brand story in both immersive and informative ways. When there’s something different or memorable at play, guests will be compelled to take to their social channels and share these elements with their networks. It enhances their social currency and empowers them as they become ‘citizen journalists’, reporting back on what is unfolding in real time. Meanwhile, it means the event reaches a much wider audience than those in the room alone.
- Be purposefully creative. You’ve devoted a lot of time to crafting the brand story, don’t let it get lost in a sea of lavish colours and effects. Take a step back and ensure that each and every element of the experience serves a purpose and complements the brand, rather than detracts from it. It’s all about balance.
- Don’t forget about your audience. The concept of personalisation has been on marketers’ radar over the last few years in particular, and for good reason. While brand storytelling is both powerful and important, the way these stories are told always needs to be in the context of the wants and needs of the audience. That’s why it’s important we leverage the results from past and current events, and predictive analytics to identify trends and behaviour patterns so that we can tweak, adjust or completely reconfigure the brand stories we craft and the experiences we create to bring them to life.
As marketers and event professionals we’ve always been storytellers, it’s just that it’s not as easy to engage audiences as it once was. Now more than ever, we need to mine the data, hone in on the insights and be more strategic and creative in our approach to live brand storytelling.
Laura Roberts is the managing director, APAC, at global agency INVNT.