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The Power of Storydoing

In today’s connected world, actions speak louder than words. Consumers not only tend to have shorter attention spans, but they are also more skeptical of messages coming from brands.  They don’t want to be interrupted unless there is a clear value exchange.

This means that it is getting harder for brands to get their message across through paid media. TV, which is still the medium with the most scale, has become fragmented and less impactful as people spend more time online. Display advertising has become almost invisible. Direct mail’s response rate has consistently decreased in the last decade. And let’s not even talk about print.

These trends have pushed brands to shift from storytelling to storydoing to stay relevant. By storydoing, I mean looking at their audience’s experience from the lense of the brand promise, figuring out where is the value gap and trying to close it. Then, facilitating people to do the storytelling on the brand’s behalf to create a more authentic, human and sharable story.

The premise of storydoing is that the more people interact with the brand in a meaningful way, the stronger the bond with the brand. To quote the Chinese proverb; “Tell me, I'll forget. Show me, I may remember. But involve me, and I'll understand.”  The downside of this approach is that this is harder to do than to say. To thrive in storydoing, brands need to create enough value for people to care about engaging and talking about it.

Below are a few cases from brands that are doing exceptional storydoing to deliver on their promise.

The Coke “Happy ID” Campaign

Coke is on a quest to "open happiness" all over the world.  To deliver on this promise in Peru, Coke created the “Happy ID” campaign.  The concept was to make Peru a happier nation by encouraging people to smile when taking their photo ID picture. Peru is one of the lowest countries on the “happiness index” in the region despite having the fastest growing economy.  

Coke decided to change this by installing free ID photo booths that are trigged by a smile. Since people need to take their photo for the ID, why not do it with a smile? The results: in the first month of the activation over 90% of the IDs issued by the Peruvian government were "happy" IDs.  The campaign also generated over 1.3 million in likes, share and views.  

The Nivea Protector Ad

Parents know that Nivea sun kids protects children’s delicate skin, but there are other beach concerns on parents' minds such as kids running off by themselves. To deliver on the brand promise of protection, Nivea created the protector ad.  This is a print ad with a “protector strip” to help mom track her kids on a day at the beach. The strip is synched with an app which monitors the distance from the device and sends an alert when kids are out of the safe range.

The Melbourne Remote Control Tourist

To help people experience Melbourne even before they arrive, the city introduced the “Melbourne Remote Control Tourist”.  They created a web experience that lets people discover the city through the eyes and ears of a remote control tourist.  Through Twitter and Facebook, users could decide what they wanted to see and do. The results: people from 158 countries and almost 4,000 cities participated around around the globe. The experience generated over 49 million in social media impressions, setting a global benchmark in tourist advertising.

In summary, storydoing is about real creativity, real value and real people. Storydoing focuses on what matters, the experience. It puts people front and center by letting them co-create the story and do the talking for the brand. That is what makes it so powerful and beautiful in today’s connected world.


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