Marketing has arguably experienced the greatest noticeable shift in its entire history, and Snapchat and Instagram are highly to blame.
Today’s successful marketing is all about storytelling. It’s no longer about the products or solutions you’re selling, or all the bells and whistles your product provides that no other company can top. What makes memorable brands is the way they weave themselves into consumers’ lives and make themselves relatable and relevant.
Truth be told, marketing through storytelling is nothing new. But it’s where this storytelling is now taking place that’s having the biggest impact on brand success.
What is Branded Storytelling?
In simplest terms, branded storytelling is the presentation of ideas, experiences, and beliefs that people can relate to, but they’re delivered by brands in a non-salesy sort of way.
Branded storytelling differs from traditional marketing and advertising in that the product being promoted is oftentimes the brand itself.
There is no in-your-face sales pressure. There’s no ‘You Need X, We Have Y’ delivery. It’s not about highlighting products and features and benefits.
Rather, branded storytelling is exactly what it sounds like: a story where a brand plays a role in its telling.
At its core, marketing through storytelling isn’t new. Take a look at any State Farm or Sonic television commercial from the past decade or longer and you’ll notice the story represents moments you’ve likely experienced yourself. The whole idea is to make you a part of their story. They want you to relate to what they’re saying, because if you do, then you should also be able to relate to their brand… and ultimately whatever they’re selling.
What is new, however, is the fact that branded storytelling has shifted from traditional commercials to the social media airwaves. And Snapchat and Instagram are two of the main reasons why.
How SnapChat and Instagram Build Connections, Not Customers
So why the sudden spike in social storytelling?
Branded storytelling found great success on television, even as far back as the 1950s when television began to enter every home in America. But with the rise of streaming media services like Hulu and Netflix, portable media devices, TiVo, and smartphones, mainstream television’s heyday is just about over. People aren’t watching television in the same way they did a decade ago, which means they’re also not watching commercials the same way. Advertisements aren’t getting the same attention they once did.
Naturally, brands gravitate where their audience is most likely to be. In today’s digital age, more than 80% of internet users are active on social media. For brands to be there too just makes good sense.
Snapchat and Instagram are leading the charge when it comes to this new style of branded storytelling.
Their Stories feature introduced ephemeral content to social media. Where other platforms make a brand’s content accessible for its entire social media, Snapchat and Instagram mirror conversations and moments as they occur in real life – fleeting and spontaneous.
Of all the social media platforms, Snapchat and Instagram are the ones that most closely resemble real life. When you have a conversation with someone, 99% of the time it goes undocumented. There is no looking back on every word spoken, no longstanding history of your multiple conversations over the years. At best, your moments become memories.
Because of this closer representation of real life, and because of its ephemeral nature, Snapchat and Instagram are becoming the new storytellers that reach audiences on an unprecedented personal level.
As a result, their audience becomes more than just customers – they become connections.
Adding the Transformation Element to Marketing
Perhaps one of the most defining features of social storytelling is the added element of the transformation. Brands aren’t just presenting a problem and showing off a solution. Rather, they’re taking the story a step further by presenting the transformation of what their product can do.
Dove’s Real Beauty campaign is a classic example of this. Rather than promoting soap and lotion or using models as spokespeople, Dove instead focuses on the real, natural beauty of its customers. They didn’t use models, but rather a group of women of all ages and professions to highlight their brand. The campaign was meant to inspire and empower rather than sell or promote a product, and as a result, Dove was able to connect with their audience on a deeper, personal level.
Snapchat and Instagram Stories help to bring out this transformation element because they rely on almost-instant engagement. Users only have a short amount of time to view content before it’s gone forever. Because of the temporary nature, marketers are forced to get creative in their messages by making each one impactful and well-branded. This is the only way to create these memorable connections and take advantage of the best benefits of social storytelling.
Brand marketing is not what it was fifty years ago, or even a decade ago. Storytelling still remains one of the best ways to connect and relate to your customers, but the space where these connections occur has shifted.
For now, social storytelling on Instagram and Snapchat is it. But just as these social channels upended television’s effectiveness in brand marketing, never forget that something else could come along to overtake the social media spotlight. Only time will tell.
Guest Author: Alli Hill – As a long-time writer for NoStop Blog Writing Service, Alli’s dedication lies in solving business problems through content creation. With nearly a decade of marketing and SEO experience, Alli enjoys putting her expertise to work for clients. She thrives on all things fun, offbeat, and original, ensuring your audience will never have to read a boring piece of content on your website.This post was proofread by Grammarly