Is storytelling really dead? Mastercard’s Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Raja Rajamannar, seems to think so. Here are some key takeaways about the shift in consumer behavior and how you can get those hard-to-reach consumers:
Ads Should Not Feel Like an Interruption
Consumers do not want to feel like they’re being bombarded with advertisements. In fact, research shows that over 615 million people have ad-blocking software on their devices. Which means, if that consumer has opted out of your advertisements, you’re not going to be able to reach that targeted market. Consumers now want to have an ad-free experience, but as marketers, how do you keep those consumers? When dealing with the next wave of consumers, Rajamannar explains that it’s not through advertisements and not through telling stories: “experiences matter more than things…Give people an experience when using your product with a company or brand that they care about, and the profits will follow.”
The Consumer Paradigm Has Shifted
Consumers that were our target markets five years ago do not consume advertisements the same was as they do today.
Did you know that our attention span today is shorter than a goldfish’s? Consumers that were our target markets five years ago do not consume advertisements the same was as they do today. According to Rajamannar, we should give our consumers the right offers and opportunities that shape their behavior in a particular space and give them the right engagement opportunities.
In the marketing and advertising world, there is a lot of change happening that makes marketers rethink every single platform and how they interact with their consumers. Scott Hicks, an international marketer with Coca-Cola, Disney, and Facebook, agrees and adds in his article, “Storytelling is Dead, Long Live Storymaking”: …we need to start thinking less about brand narratives, and more about brand entertainment and utility. Design communication that isn’t so much about what your brand is saying, and more about what it is doing.” In the future, we’ll be seeing more of the shift from brand awareness to brand experiences.
Connect with Consumers as Humans, Not as Consumers
In this day and age with social media and digital marketing, consumers are now more aware and informed of other brands and products than ever before. Rajamannar also points out that consumers are getting increasingly greedy, and their brand expectations are rising. However, consumers are beginning to care less about brand loyalty and advancing towards not paying much attention to brands if they run out of business.
Rather than telling consumers through advertising what cards and services they can benefit from, Mastercard decided to create something entirely different. In their recent campaigns, Mastercard has created priceless cities, an exclusive experience for their cardholders that are based on nine key interests that they’ve segmented: music, shopping, philanthropy, travel, sports, culinary experiences and more. These experiences range from 10x GRAMMY Award-winning artist Justin Timberlake showing up on your doorstep to meeting the entire Broadway cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which enables their consumers to tell their own stories, and in turn, gives them more brand likeness. Interestingly enough, Hicks points out although that other brands have done performed this non-storytelling strategy in the past, the experiences these brands are creating are entirely different: “…they are actually pieces of drama and service experiences that draw people in by providing them with content they choose to engage with, and in the process (when done right) absorb the brand’s core message or DNA.”
Along with Rajamannar, Hicks agrees that storytelling is, in fact, dead, and this new strategy of creating brand experiences is the new marketing strategy brands should take.
Tell us what you think: Is storytelling truly dead, or is it more of a way that brand experiences and marketing strategies are being used?