How Story Platforms Help Global Brands Go Local

While the current turmoil in Cairo may obscure the post-revolutionary optimism that pervaded the city last winter, that mood was powerful at the time. Despite the chaos in the virtual absence of government, the metropolitan region of some 14 million was taken over in January by an Arabic pop music video urging people to "go crazy" by committing acts of kindness to spread happiness. The film, produced by Coca Cola, features street scenes of people being kind and happy in well-known Cairo locations. Locals say it perfectly reflected the hopefulness and optimism of Egypt's people as they embarked on the difficult path of building a new democracy.


What is Social Media Storytelling?

My parents and many of my friends still don’t understand what it is I do every day. They envision me frolicking in the fields of Facebook and Twitter, swapping gossip and sharing funny memes. They must think I have the best job in the world because my profession is social media—exactly the tool used by everyone else to procrastinate and avoid doing their real job.

The combination of social media and storytelling, the term social media storytelling could be the holy grail of buzzwords. Half emerging technology that everyone said would either rule the world or totally fail, half proven method of transferring emotion and knowledge since the dawn of humanity, social media storytelling is a relatively new and an oft-misunderstood term. Nearly every digital agency claims that they’re “storytellers,” and if the client is interested in a social media activation, then they’ve magically become “social media storytellers” as well.

My mom and dad are clueless about what “social media storytelling” means, and that’s okay. But I fear there are other agencies and brands that are misunderstood, and that can be dangerous for audiences.


4 TED Talks All Brand Storytellers Must Watch

TED talks are a gold mine of knowledge. Because the TED website’s topics include not only technology, education and design (TED) but also business, science, activism, health, storytelling and everything in between, one can get lost on the site for days.

A number of these short talks (most are around 20 minutes) revolve around storytelling. While they don’t necessarily address brand storytelling, they do offer insights that a brand could apply to its efforts to engage audiences through its brand story. I’ve gathered four talks I found particularly useful, and I’ve included a brand takeaway for each. Enjoy!


Coca-Cola Falls Flat Tackling Obesity

This past weekend my beloved New England Patriots, a team in the U.S. National Football League, lost in the conference championship game, falling one game short of the Super Bowl. I was devastated and inconsolable, and even as I write this I sadly consider what could have been.

Up until what ultimately became the Patriots’ final game, their season was fantastic. They won 12 out of 16 games and earned the second seed going into the playoffs. But against a motivated Baltimore Ravens team, the wheels came off and the Patriots were handily defeated, at home no less. I wholeheartedly expected the Patriots to at least make the Super Bowl, if not win it. I never expected this. 

I had a similar surprise as I watched Coca-Cola’s two-minute spot addressing the obesity problem, which is often blamed on the soda industry and high-fructose corn syrup. If you haven't seen it, take a look. 


Occupy Wall Street Does Have a Message: Telling the Protesters’ Story

Contributing authors: Charles Coxe, Chuck Wentzel, Karen Nagy, and Katie Edmondson

CNN business reporter Alison Kosik tweeted to the world on October 4: “Purpose in 140 words or less: bang on the bongos, smoke weed!” She later apologized and deleted the tweet, but to be fair, she was far from the only otherwise sensible journalist who curiously dismissed a massive grassroots uprising taking hold, for many of them, right outside their front door. (Erin Burnett said on air, “What are they protesting? No one seems to know.” Most Fox News anchors and reporters dismissed the protestors as hippies, druggies, and do-nothing college kids, while presidential candidate Herman Cain dusted off The Man’s Woodstock-era exhortation to “get a job.” Even NPR executive editor Dick Meyer explained away his organization’s lack of coverage by claiming the protests didn’t “involve large numbers of people, prominent people, a great disruption or an especially clear objective.”)


Welcome to the Future of Advertising

The post-advertising age is complex. Consumers controlling brands, optimizing search, utilizing paid, earned, and owned media…all aspects can seem pretty confusing. So what’s a poor brand to do? Never fear: Help is on the way!