Elevating Companies with Data and Brand Storytelling

Boy playing with Legos

Topics: Brand Strategy

Brands are increasingly creating content with tailored messages in the form of entertainment. Adweek suggests that we may soon be watching networks created by brands on TV, surpassing the networks companies once relied on to advertise their products. Delivering entertainment that resonates with consumers is the new 30-second commercial spot, but amplified by data and arching stories in all types of media.

Chart Topping Entertainment in the Digital Age

Take General Electric for example. In 2016 the multinational conglomerate created the podcast LifeAfter, a compelling sci-fi series (and follow up to the No.1 chart topping podcast The Message) meant to entertain the audience without promoting the brand explicitly. Save for a concluding discussion between a group (including a GE software executive and celebrated personality and science expert Neil deGrasse Tyson), GE largely played a passive figure in relaying the story, which centralizes on frontier technologies and what will become of our digital identities when we pass.

LifeAfter follows the story of FBI employee, Ross, who is distraught after the death of his wife eight months prior. His only consolation during his grieving is his ability to recall and replay the voice messages left by his wife on a social media app called Voicetree. When his wife is surprisingly resurrected as an AI with the ability to communicate through the Voicetree app, we later learn that the creator of the AI is revealed to have sinister intentions (when communication is broken with Ross’s wife in the AI’s pursuit to “end all grief in the world,” which carries potentially catastrophic results.)

GE focused on a technology it hopes to develop to partly inform the plot of LifeAfter: A sophisticated technology based on artificial intelligence that has the potential to be revolutionary in the brand’s future.

Brands as Cultural Fixtures

The nature of products and development of the brand in a cultural context can establish the essence of a brand in the story’s plot. For example, the stories between heroes and villains we told ourselves building Lego sets as kids have been brought to life on the big screen in the Lego movies, verbalized sound effects and all. Transformation, discovery, or one of many plot archetypes can serve as the basis for tailoring unique content that elevates a brand beyond company to a fixture in the lives of consumers.

Using Technology to Lead Creative

Harley-Davidson of New York learned the value of brand storytelling to target audiences well. In a campaign driven by AI, they increased their sales prospects by nearly 3,000%. The AI program identified a variety of users who were likely to convert and then offered data to inform creative teams what ads would resonate with identified users. Armed with the constant updated data and tweaks performed by the AI, Harley-Davidson could develop ad campaigns that caused people to aspire to own a Harley.

Ultra-Specific Campaigns and Capturing Essence

Adweek points out that the degree to which a brand story can capture consumer attention is a deciding factor for the effectiveness of a story. And personalization contributes a large amount to the success of the story conveyed. Technology and data come into play when determining, and even anticipating, customer personas and desires for which stories they would prefer to hear. From the insights obtained from data, creative teams can develop the ultra-specific, highly effective brand storytelling customers crave. Informed by data, campaigns can be delivered via the channel most likely to attract converters.

At Axis41, A Merkle Company, we develop unique and personalized stories that reflect the essence of your brand. We offer services designed to capture the attention of your intended audiences, and backed by the data to drive conversion. Contact us to find out how we can elevate your brand story today.

Works Cited

Daniels, Toby. “How Brands Are Taking Control of Their Narratives and Reinventing Storytelling.” Adweek (2018). <https://www.adweek.com/digital/how-brands-are-taking-control-of-their-narratives-and-reinventing-storytelling/>.

Guest. “The Future of Brand Storytelling and the Role That Data Plays.” Adweek (2018). <https://www.adweek.com/digital/the-future-of-brand-storytelling-and-the-role-that-data-plays/>.

Kyungin Ryu, Xinran Y. Lehto, Susan E. Gordon, Xiaoxiao Fu. “Compelling brand storytelling for luxury hotels.” International Journal of Hospitality Management (2018). <https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278431917304590>.

Marr, Bernard. “How Harley Davidson Is Using AI And Robots To Prepare For The 4th Industrial Revolution.” Forbes (2018). <https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2018/07/03/how-harley-davidson-is-using-ai-and-robots-to-prepare-for-the-4th-industrial-revolution/#6345cda85271>.

Podcast, LifeAfter. “After LifeAfter (episode title).” (n.d.).