Transferring ideas from the sketch pad to the street takes true commitment and an open approach.
As marketers, we don’t always do a good job of asking ourselves, “Do I think that’s cool? Would I check that out?”
One way to figure that out is to do a little role reversal with the consumer.
Brands should let their consumers tell the story rather than forcing their own narrative.
As customers, it’s all about us and how we use use brands and products to represent who we are.
This starts with heart: Create moments that might not be covered in logos or colors, but represent genuinely honest, unique execution.
Think of it as creative directing a whole experience centered on what a brand actually does.
And the best way to get there is through story-living, which takes storytelling to the next level by bringing a brand experience to life.
It’s a great way to connect with customers who are committed to brands that care about something larger than themselves.
Implementing a story-living strategy takes careful planning.
Not thinking through the execution phase can have major drawbacks.
And they can all result in losing the faith customers put in you to carry out their message.
Here’s what that can look like:
- Mismanaging client expectations.
- Misunderstanding or downplaying client success objectives.
- Not prioritizing timelines.
- Building a cool, creative project that has zero connection with consumers.
- Being unprepared to handle challenges as they arise.
- Telling the brand’s story rather than the consumers’ stories.
One sure way to lose client trust is forgetting what matters most to them.
Make that the centerpiece of your accountability.
Moreover find ways to bring it to life throughout the story-living experience you create.
Getting Your Story-living Strategy Right
Implementing a story-living experience successfully starts with considering your end product—you have to turn your expectations into goals and brainstorm ways to meet them.
Discuss with your team what success looks like, and identify which benchmarks or tools you’ll use to measure your efforts.
While a story-living strategy can be tricky to put into place, plenty of agencies have pulled it off.
Lean Cuisine’s #WeighThis campaign strayed from the brand’s traditional weight-loss focus and placed scales in the form of small boards at New York’s Grand Central Station.
Women wrote on these boards how they wanted to be measured, but the goals revolved around going back to school or getting involved with causes.
While consumers didn’t interact with a Lean Cuisine product, the strategy was interactive with strong messaging, not blatant advertising, and led to more than 200 million social media impressions for the brand.
Facebook IQ Live used data to curate real-life experiences, including the IQ Mart and Instagram cafe.
The campaign created memorable experiences, and 93 percent of the 1,500 attendees said it taught them some valuable tools for using Facebook for business.
Crushing the Story-living Execution
Executing a story-living campaign takes time, planning, and attention.
Here are four strategic ways to take your concept directly to consumers:
- Give it time. Make sure production and fabrication companies have enough time to complete a quality project. Instead of setting yourself up for a rushed execution, give them time to properly research, plan, give feedback, and complete your project. You’ll receive a better product—and production prices won’t be as high if you don’t demand tight timelines.
- Make connections. Ensure you have a solid relationship with a few production or experiential companies that are in on your ideas from the ground floor. Agencies also need to consider moving the task of experiential production out of media buying and give it back to a creative team that can really home in on the core idea and make sure it’s executed with the correct intent.
- Work through the clutter. Story-living takes planning and time. To stay organized, use efficient time and job-tracking tools. Think about the team that will pick up where you left off with an element of the project: Are you setting them up for success?
- Keep all eyes on the prize. Set success outcomes and manage expectations from the start. If your vendors and partners are not asking you tough questions about timelines and execution, certain elements of your event or activation will fail.
It’s critical to take your idea all the way to the consumer.
Story-living is a strategic way to let consumers tell the stories of how a brand represents them and affects their lives.