Aired May 14, 2014
The latest broadcast of “Marketing Matters” explored Storytelling in the Digital Age of Advertising. Kirk Cheyfitz, award-winning journalist and CEO & Chief Storyteller of Story Worldwide, a “post advertising agency,” joined Catharine Hays and Jerry Wind to talk about whether the principles of storytelling have to change to be relevant in the digital age of advertising.
“We have to separate what changes every ten minutes in our world–mainly technology–from the things that haven’t changed in 30,000 years–the human psyche,” said Cheyfitz. Although we are in an era of instant distribution and interactive communication, Cheyfitz argued that the core principles of storytelling have not changed–what matters most is still providing “something meaningful and engaging” to audiences. “The main difference is that today, the only messages people will pay attention to are those that they’re interested in.”
The next two guests, Amy Noah, VP of Development at Purdue University, and Charles Coxe, VP of Narrative at Story Woldwide, spoke about “A Day of Giving” at Purdue University and how they energized the normally staid activity of philanthropic giving with those same principles–reaching people with messages that they’d be interested in.
The emotionally engaging theme of “Opportunity Granted” formed the story platform for customized videos and messages involving students, alumni, faculty, and staff. Over a 24-hour giving period, Purdue used streaming videos, hourly competitions, personalized messaging, and social media contests to incite fun, friendly competition. The result was a huge increase in the number of donations to the school and an activated and united campus.
In the third segment of the show, Andy Dahlen, VP of Sales and Marketing for Beech-Nut, discussed Beech-Nut’s recent successful transformation and the development of their new product line, “Real Food for Babies.” Facing a decline in baby food purchases across the category, Beech-Nut reached out to parents to discover why their needs weren’t being met. They learned that today’s parents want to feed their babies minimally processed whole foods that they themselves would eat. Beech-Nut then asked themselves a question that had never been asked in their 80-year history: “Without any constraints, what would the best possible baby food product be?” They then worked to achieve the “home-made” gold standard.
Working with as much transparency and authenticity as possible, Beech-Nut developed trusting relationships with consumers who felt that their concerns and desires were being addressed. This compelled consumers to spread the word about the new product line–a form of story sharing.
Take-aways from the program include the importance of: reaching audiences with meaningful stories, harnessing the power of customization and competition, and developing relationships with people to discover their real needs and aspirations. Moreover, stories don’t have to be verbal–they can be told visually, with experiences, and by integrating all relevant touch points to add up to a holistic, consistent, and lasting story sharing.
The Wharton Future of Advertising Program will air programs monthly on Marketing Matters, a weekly call-in show airing on Wednesdays from 5pm to 7pm on Sirius XM Channel 111, Business Radio powered by Wharton. The next edition of Marketing Matters featuring WFoA will be broadcast live from the Cannes Lions Creativity Festival, and will air on Wednesday, June 18th from 5pm to 7pm. Programs will be rebroadcast throughout the month. Full channel information available here: http://businessradio.wharton.upenn.edu/
–Alexa de los Reyes, WFoA Associate Director