Storytelling in Web 2.0 marketing

Storytelling is one of the most important marketing concepts in our Web 2.0 world, argues this TrendWatching briefing paper. The key is helping consumers tell other consumers a version of the story that stays true to tenets of the brand.

As more brands (have to) go niche and therefore tell stories that aren’t known to the masses, and as experiences and non-consumption-related expenditures take over from physical (and more visible) status symbols, consumers will increasingly have to tell each other stories to achieve a status dividend from their purchases. Expect a shift from brands telling a story, to brands helping consumers tell status-yielding stories to other consumers.

The briefing paper argues that as niche marketing pressures increase, creating brands that are truly unique is a necessity; yet, these brands must increasingly rely on consumers to “market” the products (ala the Godin Purple Cow argument). Thus, experience marketing is a must have, with “status storytelling” acting as the catalyst, driving towards having consumers create and nurture status spheres:

  • Transient Spheres (consumers driven by experiences)
  • Online Spheres (social status as determined by who connects to whom)
  • Eco Sphere (i.e., praising Prius drivers while scorning SUV owners)
  • Giving Spheres (charitable giving)
  • Participative Sphere (participation is the new consumption

Other salient tidbits from the status storytelling paper are finding conversation starter icons (like t-shirt designs, weird pins, funky Kleenex boxes, etc) and “life caching” and “life casting” concepts (aligning your product with platforms like uStreamTV).

Here’s an example of ustream.tv, BJ Fogg’s Stanford class called “Psychology of Facebook.

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