Telling Effective Brand Stories Can't Be Done In One Sitting

While you may have crafted the perfect communication platform and a brilliant portfolio of content marketing assets, telling your brand story can’t be done all at once. Effective brand storytelling means using various types of content to craft multi-stage engagement with your consumers. Here are some successful strategies for leveraging episodic content marketing to drive business results.

The Problem

First, consider that the amount of consumer attention available is fairly constant over time. Yet, the amount of content brands are producing is dramatically expanding. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 90% of B2C marketers have adopted content marketing and 72% of those B2C marketers are creating more content than they were just a year ago. They all want everyone to see it, and the more content that’s created, the more competitive and expensive it is to get it seen. That means having to be really smart about where to place bets on getting it distributed, or simply hoping that people will find it.



Consider the Consumer

But, now, let’s take a look at how a consumer might experience it. Take, for example, a brand like Microsoft. At one level, Microsoft communicates a story about helping people and businesses achieve their full potential through technology. Once a consumer buys into that idea, the story needs to go deeper into technologies that empower consumers in various ways. And, ultimately, that consumer needs to have enough information to consider specific product features and benefits.

But is that full cognitive sequence likely to happen in one sitting? What are the chances that on a Tuesday afternoon, a potential customer will get fully involved with a brand from the highest aspirational note of the brand’s communication strategy all the way down to specific features and pricing? That tidy scenario is a marketing dream that’s not coming true anytime soon.

Getting Them to Come Back for the Sequel

Now that I’ve convinced you that you can’t deposit all that great content into the hearts and minds of consumers in one stroke, that brings us to the real point: how to actually deploy content in a way that preserves the meaning and sequential logic of the ideas behind it.

Best in class content marketers are chapterizing their content. They’ve mapped out key identifiable milestones (i.e., category interest, purchase consideration, product engagement, etc.) along the meandering customer journey and have developed content to support each of those milestones and nurture customers forward.

But it’s not just about slicing up content to make it episodic; how do you make sure the right person is exposed to the right content in the right order? That’s where retargeting and programmatic buying start to play a powerful role in content distribution. By leveraging the existing online advertising ecosystem, it’s now possible for marketers to get consumers back for the next piece of content, and then the next and the next.
Taking the right steps to organize content is a little different than just publishing it. But recognizing that communicating brand storylines in a way that works with non-linear consumer behavior is critical for driving success and business outcomes with content. By modeling content sequentially, marketers can more fully communicate their brand storytelling from the opening page to the closing credits.

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