The Content Marketing Institute states that the roots of content marketing trace back to John Deere who started the first customer magazine. The institute also stated that story-telling has been the oldest form of communication. In India though, the written word had entered the modern conscious much before John Deere thought of publishing his magazine. Ancient Indian Texts are riddled with DIY tips for almost everything. We may forget, but most of our great kings of the world and their stories are brilliantly executed branding strategies. Stories have a way of making an event, a person or a brand immortal. The modern-day marketer has much more sophisticated tools at his/her hands to create brand stories which could intrigue the customer. Here are 5 times storytelling created an immortal brand:
Ancient Indian Epics: The vast reach of India’s oral culture is exemplified in the fiery spread of its two great epics, The Ramayana and The Mahabharat. Such was the description of each moment in the story, that every tiny character is a brand in himself/herself. The epics have been written down, converted into plays, interpreted and re-interpreted even tourism industries have promoted several places within India under the name of these characters.
If Marketers could take a lesson from the outreach of these stories, it should be strategic diversification and engagement. The stories are available on nearly all platforms and have a personal connection with the customers. A futuristic brand should have digital omnipresence without compromising on the personal touch.
Ashoka, The Great: King Ashoka’s story is an interesting one. Ashoka dramatically converted from being a ruthless conqueror to a peace-loving Buddhist in the span of one war. While most of us focus on this aspect of the story, we forget the brand Ashoka created for himself and the message he wanted the public to receive. Since he was unable to personally travel the span of his own kingdom, he found micro-influencers in popular public figures including his son and daughter and enlisted their services to spread his story and plea for peace. If that wasn’t enough, he ordered the construction of Ashokan Pillars with the inscriptions he wanted his public to know.
MicroInfluencers are becoming popular in the marketing world. In fact, most buyers these days buy a product on the basis of the reviews given by consumers before them. Relevant Communication, marketers today are increasingly focusing their energies on reaching out relevantly to their customers. Customer communication should be personal, direct and consistent with the image of the brand.
Akbar, The Great: Akbar is called great because of a detailed description of his court and policies in Ain-i-Akbari, the third volume of Akbar Nama detailing Akbar’s policies as a ruler and administrator. The book creates Akbar the Administrator as an innovative and par excellence brand. Smart Content can do the same for a digital brand. Creating content is no more the need of the hour, one has to create content that is smart. Content that appeals to the customer without limiting the scope and flavour of the brand.
Lore: Folklores/ Local tales have been around since humanity was able to communicate. Most folktales serve a very specific and local purpose, enabling the listener to navigate through local social mores and practices. It is important for content marketers to understand and justify why are they creating a certain kind of content. Simply creating content, in times when the customer is bombarded with content from all over will lead to a loss of customer engagement. A written/unwritten content strategy is required for a brand to thrive in 2018.
Harry Potter: In the last three decades, no written text has generated as much engagement as the Harry Potter series. The brand Potter reached such levels that an interactive site called Pottermore was incorporated in 2008 and launched officially in 2011. The site allowed the user to enjoy a virtual, immersive and interactive life at Hogwarts with real-time results. The site became wildly popular as it allowed the users to experience the brand.
Brand experience is increasingly becoming a differentiating factor for brands. A VR or AR strategy that allows the customer to experience the brand goes a long way in capturing the interest and loyalty of the customer.
Note: In 2016, Paul Writer in collaboration with Yorke Communications published The Red Book of Content Marketing.
Yorke Communication and Paul Writer have jointly launched a new survey for The Red Book of Content Marketing 2018. You can take the 5 minute survey here.