I will refrain from my normal sarcasm and tongue-in-cheekiness and get right to the point here kids. As we dive headfirst into 2022, I have many wishes for many people including multiple wishes for brands. However, if I had to pick one, it would be this: When it comes to storytelling, brands need to stop pushing their products down all of our collective throats and instead focus on brand-first storytelling to showcase a company’s value, purpose and mission. Click To Tweet
The second half of my wish is culled directly from a recent report from Allison+Partners. Entitled “Technology PR’s Tug of War: The Battle of Brand vs. Product” the report “details the ongoing challenges in-house teams face when it comes to balancing product PR with the desire to showcase their company’s value, mission and purpose and helps brands find a path to drop the rope and move forward.”
Tech Centric… But Applicable To All
The aforementioned report and detailed findings below are all rooted in the tech world. However, there is no doubt in my mind these are ALL applicable to ANY brand in ANY industry.
- 77% of tech marketing, branding and communications decision-makers worldwide – and across industries – believe in the power of authentic, brand-first storytelling to showcase a company’s value, purpose and mission.
- 58% of respondents say their company truly prioritizes brand-focused campaigns, admitting to internal challenges standing in the way.
- 88% also believe their C-suite understands the value.
- 65% of CMOs globally are most likely to say their company prioritizes brand-related marketing and PR campaigns.
- 40% of all other decision-makers confess the C-suite continues to prioritize product or product feature-focused announcements over everything else.
There’s a lot to unpack here.
Yes, it is extremely encouraging to see that over 3 in 4 (77%) believe in the power and benefits of authentic, brand-first storytelling. The operative word is “authentic” for, without that realness, you may as well not even bother with ANY storytelling endeavors for they will not work.
It is equally encouraging to see the roughly 6 in 10 (58%) who say their own company prioritizes brand-first campaigns. Ah, but those internal challenges standing in the way are a major red flag. Could these challenges come in the form of the non-CMO c-suiters who continue “to prioritize product or product feature-focused announcements over everything else?”
In a word: Hell and Yes.
Paging Billy Mumphrey
Seinfeld fans will instantly recognize the name Billy Mumphrey. Who was Mr. Mumphrey you ask? Well, allow Elaine Benes to tell you a little more about him.
So why am I paging Mr. Mumphrey? Simple. It’s because I am channeling my inner Billy Mumphrey that’s why. While I am not a simple country boy nor have I ever got caught up in the dirty game of world diplomacy and international intrigue — I am an optimist, cockeyed or otherwise.
And because I am an optimist my wish for marketers in 2022 is they continue to push for more brand-first storytelling, that is assuming they already are, and if they are not, they better start and fast.
Moreover, that they keep up the fight against all those internal challenges, yes I am speaking directly to all the CEOs, CFOs, and all others in the c-suite who still believe the year is 1964 and ALL that matters is the bottom line because you think you know what consumers/buyers want better than they do themselves.
If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe your own staff. According to the same report, 72% of respondents “boldly say their customers make more purchasing decisions based on the overall strength of the brand, its mission and its values than they did three years ago.”
Not sure why the inclusion of the word “boldly” — perhaps it’s, no pun intended, wishful thinking on their part — but regardless of that, the fact is people buy from people first followed closely behind by brands who stand for something; who embody their mission and values vs. just having words on a page on a website.