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Five brands excelling at storytelling

In which I’ll be loftily discussing the art of storytelling in a not-so-subtle attempt to justify a squandered film studies degree.

Love or hate the phrase, storytelling as a method of mass communication for brands is here to stay. Stories, anecdotes and metaphors that take an audience on a narrative journey to subtly reveal a branded message along the way are far more memorable and shareable than any brazen sales focused advertisement.

A recent survey by Aesop last month last month asked more than 2,000 people in the UK to rate brands against criteria including brand personality, memorability, credibility and purpose, in order to find out the most popular ‘storytelling’ brand.

The top-level results aren’t particularly surprising. You’ve got Apple in there, as well as McDonalds and Coca-Cola. However there ‘s a small list of brands that have snuck in under the radar to become the fastest rising companies over the last year in terms of storytelling.

Let’s take a look at those brands and see what accounts for their success.

Native advertising: the Guardian Labs way

Guardian Labs began in early 2014 with its aim to work with clients to create sponsored content opportunities.

This is a trend in publishing with BuzzFeed and The Telegraph (and more besides) experimenting with in-house content creation tailored for brands.

The Guardian is seeking to rise above some of the disquiet around native advertising (is it a case of the emperor’s new clothes?) by simply creating transparent sponsored content to a great standard.

Anna Watkins, who heads up Guardian Labs, was speaking at the IAB’s Content Conference and this is what I took from her talk.

For a full intro to native advertising see the new Econsultancy report, Native Advertising: What it means for brands and publishers.

Multichannel UX: A lesson in frustration from EE

In the recent past we’ve heard plenty about the importance of ‘creating a consistent customer experience across multiple channels’. 

While that phrase is horrendously buzz-wordy, it’s still undeniably important.

Multiscreen, multi-device customers check and compare prices in store, buy online and talk about their purchases via social media, so making sure each touchpoint effectively serves the user is essential. 

But… what happens if a customer only wants to use one channel? 

Which mobile network has the most usable website?

Well, according to a benchmark study from QuBit, O2 offers the best all-round experience of the mobile network operators.

Meanwhile, newly-formed EE has some catching up to do, according to the study, which analyses the sites for five different criteria (find, choose, buy, personalise, and mobile).

I’ve been looking at the study, and here I’ve picked out some examples of good and bad practice… 

Back up bro! Does anyone really want smartphone NFC?

Alternative payment methods are pretty much the hottest topic around, and last week EE previewed its new NFC smartphone wallet. Retailers, however, are pretty adamant NFC wallets are not worth their time.

At the same time, marketers are still plugging away with new advertising campaigns using NFC technology to deliver content. Is this anything other than a fad?

In this post I look at the uses of NFC, assess some recent campaigns, and ponder what the future holds. (Major hat tip to NFC World, where I found a bunch of the campaign info).