Brands have always been in the storytelling game. But like anything else, how to win at the game of storytelling has changed over the years. Whereas in the past brands conveyed their themes to consumers through static ads on television or print, at set times and locations, today’s companies have the ability to not only tell their stories continuously, but they allow people to help craft the message. Presenting at Cannes Lions 2014, Greg Stuart, the CEO of Mobile Marketing Association was joined for a conversation by John Costello, the President of Global Marketing and Innovation for Dunkin’ Brands. Costello talked about how Dunkin’ has been innovative in its storytelling approach to fit today’s digital climate.
Storytelling itself has changed rapidly, noted Costello. “It’s less broadcasting and more of a dialogue,” he said, touching on brands’ need to include consumers in the process nowadays. “Storytelling is more effective if you let customers tell your story in an omni-channel world.” He touched on how Dunkin’ did this with a campaign centered around the hashtag #mydunkin, which urged folks to share their stories on social media. A number of these stories were made into TV commercials, and ended up being much more successful and meaningful than the brand’s past big-production TV ads. The success of the campaign proved that engagement was much higher when people were exposed to real, relatable content. Putting the storytelling in the hands of consumers spawned a more relatable message than the brand coming up with one just on its lonesome.
While storytelling has undergone a rapid transformation in the latest generation, so has customer engagement. People have more devices now, which in turn means more engagement. In fact, 66% of viewers multi-task while they watch TV, their attention split between many different screens. This, said Costello, presents a great opportunity for brands to create a consistent message across all screens. But Costello believes that the place to start is mobile, as it’s the closest a brand can get to its consumers. He suggests executing a mobile-first strategy, because consumers will love you most when you can address their needs. In this spirit, Dunkin’ Donuts was the first brand to air a commercial on Vine.
Costello closed the discussion by talking about innovation. Dunkin’ believes that in today’s world, innovation is the saving thread, and they’re continuously practicing it in both their products and their marketing strategies. To harness innovation, Costello believes that brands must:
– Use the right language for your audience
– Create an open environment for ideas
– “Clients get the advertising they deserve. Be a good client. Have a non-bureaucratic process and make a quick decision.”
– Create a dialogue with your consumers
– Don’t get caught up with what’s new, all the time; mix up traditional advertising with social and mobile and you’ll be surprised at what you get
Dunkin’, a world-leading brand, is a great example of what can happen when innovation and a modern-approach to storytelling come together. By giving consumers what they’re looking for, allowing them to take part in crafting the story and offering it on the devices they most use, the brand has created memorable and meaningful communications.