Mark Higginson

How attention flows on the web


27 March 2013

Audiences don’t want to hear an advertisement. They want to be gripped by a compelling story.

The Art and Science of Great Brand Storytelling

This post was strangely not in itself a great story. It was yet another promotional post for content marketing, in this case for a self-described ‘post-advertising agency’. The author states:

“Audiences simply have no patience for branded messages that feel like advertising. Somehow, though, when audiences are exposed to content that is valuable, entertaining, emotive and simply enjoyable — even if it’s branded — they miraculously have as much as 30 minutes to watch. Instead of folding their arms and sitting back, audiences lean forward, open up and listen, often helping spread the message to their own audiences without prompting.”

No supporting evidence is supplied beyond links to a few big-budget campaigns, that require the kind of ‘deep pockets’ the author decries. As I said in a prior post, if you claim something that is apparently commonplace on the web:

“… you should be able to show a hundred examples of you doing this exact thing and a thousand more examples of other people doing the same, all with a measurable outcome.”

If you are going to claim something works universally then show it working, repeatedly, at scale.

I don’t doubt a story can be an advert — a really great advert is a compelling story.

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