No story can be instrumental unless it is first and foremost entertaining. That’s the message I took away from a conference held by the Creativity Marketing Centre (@CreativityMktg) at ESCP Europe (@ESCPeurope), the world’s first business school, at its campus in London last week. The event brought together some of the most impressive academics working on marketing worldwide, including Al Muñiz, Pauline MacLaran, Vlad Glaveanu, Charles Hofacker (@), Tom van Laer (@tvanlaer), Marie Taillard (@marietaillard) and Eric Arnould. They shared some powerful and often controversial research into storytelling, and how the way that our audiences tell stories about us is powerful across multiple platforms.
Much of the discussion was about the way that marketers are reusing content produced by our audiences. Individuals outside our organisations are often better at producing creative content about our firms than we are ourselves. A key part of that is the production of artefacts that can be shared and distributed, because that social act validates the authority and impact of the content. There can be a substantial time lag: great content doesn’t always get prompt recognition.
Because of that, it means that a key task for marketing is to internalise these external resources, and then see how these artefacts can be used to create entertaining and valuable stories for our audiences.
So, what does mean for influencers? Do we have to join our friend Sherman Wu at Seattle’s Pike Place Market, and see what’s perhaps the most entertaining marketing in the world? Maybe, and not just because you can pick up some fine English crumpets while you are there.
Clearly the major task for analyst relations people is sales enablement, and analysts’ comments, tweets and reports are the key artefacts we are sharing. Influencer strategies are focused on third party validation, and we love artefacts because they show validation. And more broadly, as part of reputation management, the task of tracking, curating and amplifying the stories told by our stakeholders: social media experts understand this well. But all the academic research points to something more: these stories need to be entertaining if they are to have maximum impact.
Of course the mode of entertainment has to fit both the brand and, as this interview explains, the strategy you are using for targetting and developing a specific audience. What are the effective ways in which your brand could be more entertaining?