Stories and storytelling – its the future of marketing

Here is a good post from Antony Mayfield with some examples of the use of new technologies to tell stories.  As I have written about (at some length) before, storytelling and what I call narrative marketing is becoming incredibly important because social media is conversational and stories drive conversations, whereas propositions drive ads (or other forms of restrictive one-to-many mass messages).

The quick story on stories is this.  Before the printing press and movable type, the best (often only) way to spread a message to a mass audience was to wrap it in a story.  Stories were the channel.  Gutenberg gave the world a new way of distributing information but it was expensive.  The distribution of information therefore became  restricted within expensive, institutionalised distribution channels (media as we called it).  Because it was expensive, our messages had to be short and snappy and marketing evolved as a reductive process.  Social media makes information distribution free and therefore changes everything.  Stories are once again becoming the channel and marketing will have to change from being a reductive process to a narrative process.

As Antony’s examples show, this is initially manifesting itself in individuals working out ways to create and tell stories but where the individuals are going, organisations will need to follow if they are to be able to operate credibly in the new social media space.  Traditional campaigns and propositions just don’t work in social media (we are gradually learning).

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