Stories written by us, the consumers

Since the beginning of its existence, humanity has been telling stories – from cave paintings to a written word, music and film. And although these forms of storytelling have changed dramatically over time and are constantly evolving, our desire to tell and listen remains equally strong.

The art of storytelling has long moved from the sphere of culture into other fields, and – among others – has been recognized by the public relations profession as a key tool. Communicators are aware of the power that a good story carries within. We understand that with the help of stories we not only address our target audience, but build personal, emotional connections, inspire them and ensure that they identify with our messages.

Many of the modern expressions hold the storytelling in their essence, be it content marketing,emotional branding, brand storytelling,etc. Not long ago, storytelling was a primary tool in the hands of communicators, brand managers, marketers, and similar professionals for reaching the consumers. However, with the development of digital technology and the rise of social networks, the flow of storytelling has turned around.

Now, consumers are the ones who write the brand stories.

Peter Hinssen also mentioned this topic at this year’s Diggit conference, as his lecture entitled The Future Belongs to the Phoenixes was dedicated to the need to transform organizations and businesses in the wonderful new world of technological innovation. He emphasized the role of technology, which enabled consumers to develop a new form of storytelling themselves. We are talking about interactions with products or services that users share on social networks, thus (un)plannedly becoming brand storytellers. For some of them who have skilfully recognized business potential here, we have created a new term – digital influencers.

Cooperation with digital influencers, however, is by no means the only way a company can redeem the stories consumers create about its brand in the digital environment. An excellent example of this are Slovenian Little Heroes, who presented at Diggit how sharing consumer stories has contributed to their excellent results. Instead of putting their vision or story of their own product – a personalized children’s book – at the forefront, they gave the word to their customers. They sent them their own interactions with the product on a daily basis. Although those eloquently testify to the enthusiastic reactions of the gift receivers, they were initially sceptic regarding sharing as the quality of home videos and photos was significantly lower than the “image” materials they used. But right after the first test, they recognized the incredible power of the true story, as evidenced by the reactions of their followers. Now, they regularly share the stories of their consumers in both digital communication and advertising campaigns. Their customers have become active storytellers for the Little Heroes brand. Storytellers that inspire and other consumers identify with.

Homo narrans (a storytelling human) has, with the development of the technology, created another form in a series of new storytelling modes. If you also want to become a phoenix, ask yourself today how you will use it in your business tomorrow.

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