Spotify's Storytelling Secrets Have Been Revealed

Every brand wants to tell stories to bring it closer to its users, so it was interesting to listen to Spotify explaining how it has become heavily involved in storytelling to deepen its relationship with users and encourage them to bring in new subscribers.

The brand told Adobe Summit delegates in London yesterday what it has found to be the magic three ingredients to great storytelling -- it must be meaningful, personal and unique. That means there must be a point to the story you’re telling -- it can’t be driven by data just for the sake of it. The story must have a point and be personalised to the person receiving it -- and crucially, it must be something they could only discover through their use of your service.

This is the journey the brand has been on as it moved from being a music search engine to recommending tracks for users. Its Discover Weekly service offers users a playlist of new music they can discover based on what they have been enjoying on the service and what other people with similar tastes have been streaming. Spotify claims the service is not only possible, but gets a huge amount of social response among people being amazed at how the service truly "gets" them.

Speaking of social response, this personalisation was taken a step further by its Found Them First campaign, which allowed users to see whether they really were among the first users to begin listening to an artist, and in so doing, help them become big. Subscribers were given an email saying how many artists they were early to listen to and made the results shareable. Within just a couple of weeks, one million people had shared their results on social media, leading to 100m social media impressions that the brand enjoyed despite not having put a penny into a social campaign.

It’s a similar story, quite literally, when the music brand sums up for each user what they were listening to during the year by month, season and occasion. For 2015, the brand went a step further and aligned music listening to causes such as #BlackLivesMatter and even broke down the New York area district by district to tell residents, through posters, what they had been listening to. The big surprise was that the Williamsburg trend part of Brooklyn showed that resident hipsters had been listening most to Justin Bieber that year.

So the lesson that marketers can learn from Spotify is to ensure that storytelling has meaning, is personal and is unique to that consumer’s relationship with your brand. Hit those sweet spots and the brand is showing that people will not only develop a deeper relationship with you, but they will post their stories and help explain what your service is all about to a whole new generation of users.

1 comment about "Spotify's Storytelling Secrets Have Been Revealed".
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  1. Christopher Weakley from Virgo, May 12, 2016 at 5:14 p.m.

    This article doesn't present any evidence that Spotify is telling "stories." It's just recommending songs/playlists based on aggregated data. Now if the company were to produce some short videos about the artists/bands/genres that people like, that could be considered "storytelling." Personally, I can't wait until this buzzword gets replaced by the next thing in the pipeline. It shouldn't be long...

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