Brand storytelling is one of the latest, and occasionally misused, marketing buzzwords of the moment. Many global marketers now have “Chief Brand Storyteller” as a C-Suite title. Sure, we all want attention. However, storytelling has evolved into a much more complex beast – particularly when it comes to brands. Today, brands can no longer simply slap a picture and some text on a piece of paper, or place a 30-second ad, and expect it to stick. Consumers are more sophisticated and demand an interaction with the brand while expecting to be a part of the storytelling partnership – one that provides emotional depth and a feeling of belonging. How then does a brand create that appeal? Two words: creative technology.
Virtual reality continues to receive praise as the hottest new technology with an unlimited future – and for good reason. Brands no longer have to tell their story as a first person narrative; consumers can experience it for themselves. Recently, Patrón demonstrated a new side of themselves to consumers – a less glitzy and more artisanal view. Known more for their celebrity associations than their brand heritage, the company aimed to share a new perspective – one made possible through creative technology. Using professionally operated drones, Patrón captured unique footage of their tequila-making process at its Hacienda Patrón distillery in Jalisco, Mexico. When the consumer straps on the headset, he is taken on a journey from the lush agave fields, to the distillery, and finally to the bottling room – all seen from the perspective of a bee, Patrón’s graphic symbol. That level of detail and immersion doesn’t just tell consumers a story; it lets them live it and extend the narrative through social channels.
The fascinating, first person view that virtual reality creates is truly remarkable, but brands have uncovered other interactions that make the consumer just as much a part of their story. Toyota’s “Make Your Mark” campaign for the 2015 Corolla focuses on the vehicle’s “unexpected styling and technology.” To evolve that idea and spread it throughout their audience, Toyota executed an interactive experience for all to participate in. Brightline Interactive created a tweet-activated paintball auto showcase to disrupt and engage event-goers at Art Basel and SXSW. By simply tweeting #MakeYourMark, consumers instantly became part of the story, leaving a paint mark on the canvas behind the Corolla. Consumers gained the satisfaction of contributing to a unique piece of art while actively contributing to Toyota’s overarching message.
In the end, brands are always looking for new ways to express value, relevance and efficacy. Creative technology is bridging an outlet to completely reimagine how consumers interact with, and ultimately perceive, the brand. Every brand’s story is open-ended – leaving the consumer as the captain of this ongoing journey. It helps sell more stuff to more people, more often through engagement rather than traditional persuasion.