See you at #lift13

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As for the past 7 years – except for last year -, I’m getting prepared for an inspiring and insightful conference, Liftconference #lift13.

I’ve written a lot about it – see my last year’s “Make the most out of #lift12: Musings of a veteran member“.

My main focus and interests this year?

One of the main themes – as highlighted on the poster the lift’s team generously distributed before the conference and which is now proudly decking out my office wall :) – agile, is very relevant to our company and the service it offers (Solo and #solocloud). Resilience, which was also a main theme at TEDxLausanne this year, as well as the mobile session are highly interesting for me.

More broadly, creativity, inspiration, people, design, trends and the experience area are the main drivers to me.

Shaked, mixed and baked this gives me food for thought for the next months, it usually leads me to new ideas.

If you are going to LIft, please, tell me, connect with me or drop me a note at cloben at gmail dot com!

Storytelling: The Art of Creating Emotional Connection

The Journey to Shared Value - coca cola storytelling

The Journey to Shared Value – coca cola storytelling

As you might know, the power of “emotional connection” in a marketing perspective is one of the most digged tracks here, at ConvergentTracks.

In a time where people are hyper-connected, overwhelmed by a continuous data flow, it has become strategical for brands to capture attention.

And to connect at a deeper level, in order to grasp this attention and try to transform it into a more lasting action or effect.

In this context, “stories are illustrative, easily memorable and allow any firm to create stronger emotional bonds with the customers. (Wikipedia),
[…]

  • “Stories should be drillable.
  • Each piece of the story should be enriching, but not vital to the understanding of the story (so that a customer can still have a clear idea of the bigger picture even though he has missed a part of it)
  • Involve the fans in the creation process.
  • Build a world in which your story can evolve (such as Coca-Cola’s “Happiness Factory”)”

“The use of storytelling by marketers shows the beginning of a new narrative era in which brand content, brand story, advertainment, street marketing, guerilla marketing … will be essential communication concepts.”
Why?
Mainly because of the real-time over-connectivity, in addition, obviously, to the traditional triggers making stories powerful: “Stories or narratives have been shared in every culture as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation and to instill moral values. Crucial elements of stories and storytelling include plot, characters and narrative point of view.”

Stories help the identification. They create a bond between the conscious and the unconscious, they are rooted at an emotional level. The values, the hero(es), the tone, the drama convey individuals to the escape, the dream or simply a shared world.

When people are “emotionnally connected”, they will more easily remember your message (value), get more involved, thus more loyal and engaged, act as ambassadors, SHARE THE LOVE.

And here we stand at a crossroad, where marketing meets psychology meets technology, each of them augmenting, supporting and enriching the others.

The brand conveys values through a – long lasting- story. The individual is touched via different media. Touched, emotionnally connected, the technical connection will empower him and “help him/ share the love”, acting as an advocate, giving more visibility to the brand, strengthening the chain of the vertuous cercle.

Here are some key factors about the power of storytelling:

  • dream, as identification driver
  • humour, as adhesion channel
  • participation, as engagement factor
  • reward, as loyalty trigger
  • values, as community foundation
  • tools, as sharing support.

Extracted from my blog in French: Livre blanc: Le Storytelling, la stratégie marketing qui fait rêver

As of the key elements of storytelling, as presented by a research firm in a study aiming at uncovering “The Future of Storytelling”, they identified the 4 I’s:

the 4 I's of storytelling

the 4 I’s of storytelling: Immersion, Interactivity, Integration, Impact

New media, especially image sharing sites like Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook, with its timeline as a storytelling channel, offer innovative ways of telling your story:

Life magazine taught us that images are so often more powerful storytellers than words”, Forbes.

Think visual. Think values. Think emotion. Think service. Think shared stories.

“For instance, in addition to tell yourself your story, let your customers speak for your brand and tell your story: “Your customers’ stories add a universe of experiences, which reach beyond the physical properties of products themselves. Your customers’ experiences bring your values to life.” (Storytelling: Branding in practice)

What else?

For more, read this great insightful article:

Whoever tells the best stories wins - where the notion of storytelling as “pull technology” is particularly new, but many other aspects are worth the read. It gives great examples of brands using storytelling, like Nike, and you’ll find plenty of ressources to help you go further, if needed.

See also: The Economics of Emotion, by TechCrunch 

Update Oct. 3, 2012: Valeria Maltoni (Conversation Agent) adds the “long tail effect” , too, as a benefit of social networks helping spread the word (of your story)

Update Oct. 4: Have a look at this article, too, by FastCompany: WHY STORYTELLING IS THE ULTIMATE WEAPON 

Here some examples of brands using visual storytelling:

oscar de la renta pr girl storytelling instagram

Oscar de la Renta using Instagram to tell their story via OscarPRGirl

diesel instagram #loverdose

Diesel innovates with a campaign on Instagram #loverdose

Burberry backstage facebook timeline  storytelling

Burberry offers on their Facebook’s Timeline pictures of the new look taken by their photographers

#love #instagram: Mixing Technology, Emotion, Marketing

love instagram: mixing technology, emotion, marketing
Instagram is more than just an app adding vintage filters to your pictures and sharing them on other networks: it’s the crossroad where technology and human interactions meet, with, at its heart, the emotional connection, which makes it so powerful.

Powerful for brands that have a channel to communicate with their community in an emotional way, a way of strenghtening the love.

But there’s more than that: there’s also the power of the “# hashtag”, allowing for themed, convergent channels, the hub of “the shared love”.

There’s a big potential for brands to tap into the emotional and technological power of Instagram, with a good use of the “# hashtag” as a hub and it’s surprising to see so few examples, yet.

The best example so far is given by Ford, who has launched a campaign in Europe for the Ford Fiesta using all the above mentioned elements: the Fiestagram, in addition to more typical marketing tools, such as contests with incentives, prizes, etc…

There’s a channel on Instagram and a dedicated Facebook page.

And to make it more relevant and lasting over time, there are more than one #hashtag. There’s the main # for the contest, #fiestgram, and then there are different themes, where people will be asked to take pictures of selected items or situations and tag them accordingly, to make them participate to a weekly challenge. The aim is to highlight the technology, pleasure, special features, etc.. #hidden (for hidden gems), #listening, etc.. In other words: to share the love.

And here’s the challenge’s rules in video: wXme8JAMPwM

Another example that I really liked, mixing also some of these elements is given by Bergdorf Goodman, extracting all pictures on Instagram containing the tag #bgshoes and displaying them on an interactive map of New-York: http://blog.bergdorfgoodman.com/bg-shoes/. They ask people having bought shoes at their store to take a picture “of their shoes in NYC” and to upload it on Instagram with the tag. The result is a map “augmented” by a very special look of NYC, it’s beautiful, emotional, original and mixes the love of the shoes, of New-York, and, in the end, of Bergdorf Goodman!
So, it’s your turn now to imagine original campaigns, tapping into your customers’ love for your brand, to empower them and highlight the result!

UPDATE 24 Nov: seen on PSFK, more stat about the contest: “The submitted images appear in a Facebook gallery and the best submissions will be published on billboards and photography galleries across Europe. The contest has received over 11,000 images in just over 4 weeks and the winner will be announced December 9th.
UPDATE Jan. 24: a couple of weeks later, I stumbled upon this great article on MarketingProfs, written by Ann Handley (love her!), I had the feeling of reading the reflection of my mind! Except that it added an important notion that I forgot in my article: the notion of “story”. True. Just read the full article!
UPDATE Jan. 17: there’s been another innovative campaign using Instagram “power”: the bmibaby campaign, asking people to tag their pictures with specific tags related to their country. First I saw it was about “#myswitzerland”. This allowed thousands of – beautiful – pictures, with as many perspectives as there were peopple and pictures. It results into a destination catalogue made out of pictures taken by others, with a much more powerful impact.
And, also, as mentioned in the article, AirFrance embraced Instagram too with a contest and beautiful pictures. See pictures below.
Did you notice other examples of brands using Instagram? Would you share them here? Or more personal experiences on Instagram?
Or would you just share your Instagram ID so that we can connect?
Mine is @clodia_me :)


fiestagram-flyer contest ford fiest on Instagram

fiestagram europe

Example on Instagram

The Dawn of the Social Consumer – Emotional Connection at its Heart #socialconsumer #digitalmarketing



Original article via briansolis.com
Emotional connection is at the heart of what makes social media in its whole so powerful and empowering.
The long-time readers of my blog know it represents one of the central pillars of my work, so central that I even state those values as core values in my posterous profile (and many others). Here, the inaugural article.
Valeria Maltoni, Conversation Agent, has – brilliantly – dug the phenomenon and implications for business, marketing, social media in numerous articles.
In this article, Brian Solis places and develops the idea around the concept of social consumer, social currency and I definitely agree upon the vision putting emotional connection at the center of the social commerce.
As for a brand, what are the direct implications of “creating emotional connections” with its stakeholders? Not only customers, but also employees, investors, potential investors, potential customers, potential employees, “friends”, depending on the proximity’s ring of the person? (see Jeremiah Owyang’s “Rings of Influence).

Going back to the values.

Company’s values, brand’s values need to be (re-) identified, stated, declined, shared inside the company, at all levels.
It is the pre-supposed condition upon which to build a long-term value-adding relationship. Values can be occasionnally translated into different shapes, through different media, devices, places, by different people and in many different ways. Each of these occasions being the touching point for an emotional connection, potentially leading to a further step.

Values are the continuous thread leading to added value in the long run.
Why? Because values contribute to create an overall perceived consistent image, experience of a brand, company.
Inlaid in the consistency, lays trust. In trust roots long-term mutual beneficial relationships.
In other words, we could say that well-identified and built upon values create in fine an increased perceived value (of the product/brand/company).
What is your take? Do you think that you can build long-term profitable business through marketing and social media without assessing first the core values ?Here, the inspirational Brian Solis’ article.