How storytelling can drive brand love and a better bottom line

How storytelling can drive brand love and a better bottom line

Marinn Jackson, Head of Premium Sales Strategy at Oath.

There's no question that today's marketers face a unique set of challenges, from shorter consumer attention spans, to a more crowded and noisy landscape, to concerns around brand safety and trust. And yet, consumers expect more from brands than ever before, and the tools available to marketers – like innovative ad formats, premium content, and growing video platforms and distribution – are the most robust they've ever been. So, what's holding back great ads from becoming great content, and marketers from driving brand love?

To break through the noise and create an emotional connection that not only grows brand love, but impacts the bottom line, brands need to rethink storytelling. By thinking creatively and leveraging the powerful tools at their fingertips, marketers can have the impact they crave.

Here are three ways brands can succeed with storytelling.

Make mobile video the star of your show

There's no doubt about it: video is the most powerful medium today. Video allows brands to get creative, it has the ability to evoke emotion from viewers, and it helps brands build deeper connections with their audience. Mobile plays the lead role: last year, over half of all digital video consumption occurred on smartphones, and 83% of total mobile data was used on streaming video. With today's consumers 'always on' and craving content across every screen, purposeful, personalized and interactive storytelling matters more than ever.

Live streaming video is also rising quickly in popularity, with technology powering more seamless experiences on mobile devices. Now thanks to a better mobile video experience – including a faster, sharper, higher quality video stream – consumers can enjoy video content wherever they are. The IAB recently reported that 47% of people are streaming more live video than they did last year, with sports leading the way. Brands have a huge opportunity to align their content with these growing consumption habits, and reach consumers where they are and alongside the content they enjoy most, whether it's news, finance, sports or entertainment.

Brand safety always has and still matters

Aligning your brand with content, specifically high-quality content matters more than ever. We conducted a study recently with advertising decision makers to better understand their challenges, and we learned that 99% of advertisers are concerned with their ads appearing in brand-safe environments. It matters to consumers, too: 75% think that advertisers are accountable for the content where their ads are placed.

What can brands do? Work with partners that have technologies in place to minimize advertising risks, and third-party verification providers integrated for even greater security. Trust is key, and a powerful storytelling experience, told in the right environment, can protect brand integrity and help cultivate trust.

Experiment with XR

New technology and extended reality (XR) formats like AR, VR, 3D and 360 videos are empowering brands to push creative boundaries and deliver exciting, immersive experiences for consumers. These formats work especially well for smaller screens and shorter sessions on mobile, allowing brands to engage consumers where they're spending an increasing amount of time. XR ad formats take storytelling to the next level and provide utility that today's consumer desires.

Take for example 3D ad formats, which can create an interactive experience that allows people to explore objects from any angle to help them make an informed purchase decision. Or AR ad formats, which can help consumers try out products; wouldn't you want to see how that sofa looks in your living room before you make that purchase? Nearly 75% of consumers already expect retailers to offer a mobile AR experience. We're seeing brands like Pottery Barn and The Home Depot implement these ads on mobile with impressive results. Beyond XR, e-commerce formats like Mobile Wallet allow consumers to shop from their mobile device and jump on the hottest sales – providing a truly seamless experience that doesn't disrupt the storytelling journey.

With more content being produced than ever before, more advertisers vying for attention, and distracted consumers splitting their time across screens, brands are increasingly seeking ways to stand out. It's an incredibly hot topic for marketers and something we'll dive even further into during Advertising Week New York. Creative and authentic storytelling driven by mobile video, premium content and innovative ad formats will help brands' messages resonate, drive consumers to act and ultimately build brand love.

Original article ran in Adweek on 10/01/18. View full article here.