>Marketing: Are you telling a viral story?

>I recently had the privilege of watching a personal interview with Bob Allen, president of the I.D.E.A.S firm. His unique firm is responsible for creating various forms of communication pieces that deliver what some would describe as the top three values to storytelling in the new media world. These three values are: entertainment, learning and marketing.

Storytelling is how we as marketers communicate a message we wish to convey to an audience. As Bob described, audience sizes have changed; however, the process of storytelling is still centered around these three top values. The form of distribution is simply the channels the story will ultimately travel. As we are all discovering, today’s interactive world is fertile ground for the story to travel vastly via the social channels. So the question posed is: How does one ensure the story’s success?

His success formula has tremendous depth, yet made up of some very simple principles. The story must be authentic, show social proof and ultimately convey the story we want people to share. By knitting these values together with his prescribed formula, it’s easy to see how balanced his approach is to good storytelling. It’s also easy to see why his stories would then become viral. He’s simply meeting the needs of the audience.

Who is the audience? That was the next topic he addressed. The audience has taken various forms over the past few decades. What once was broad and general has evolved into niche and now even the audience of “one”. What does this mean for marketers? Simply put, we must take into consideration that the story we are sharing speaks to an audience of one. This is now a priority to storytelling because of the interactivity element.

Technology now offers the audience of one a platform for his voice to be heard and for others to share his perspective. That means the story must hold its integrity throughout its travels through the various media channels. Marketers today must focus on the story’s integrity value. This means marketers must be involved throughout the journey of the story, listening, watching and integrating opinions of the audience regularly. In summery, it is indeed a “living” story we as marketers must groom on a daily basis.


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