Brand storytelling is hardly a new idea. One of the earliest examples is the Wishbook from Sears and Roebuck. In 1895, the Sears Wishbook hit rural Americans mailboxes offering a new concept – a variety store that allowed frontier families to order everything from guns and garments to a Stradivarius violin – for $6.10!
Founder Richard Sears had a talent for connecting with customer needs. By branding his catalog as a Wishbook, he sold more than glassware and topcoats; he offered affordable dreams to a public previously limited to the variety of goods stocked at the local general store. One of his most genius achievements was turning his customers into brand evangelists. He sent a letter to his best customer list in Iowa and asked each of them to distribute 24 catalogs. If their friends became customers, he rewarded the volunteer advertisers with a stove, a bicycle, or a sewing machine.
The lesson here is that it’s not just about the product; it’s about the company image and the storytelling. In the sixties and seventies, cigarette manufacturers branded smoking as sexy, dangerous, cool…something common to the most sophisticated jetsetters. Today, people are savvier and less apt to fall for a manufactured backstory. For the first time in history, truth is stock-in-trade.
That’s where digital storytelling comes in. Today, instead of talking at the customer, companies are successfully talking to them, and customers are talking back. Advertising has left the rarefied atmosphere of one-way communication and entered the public arena. Companies who manage to harness the power of the public meet roaring success.
See on www.ignitesocialmedia.com