It’s tempting to believe that our brand story is ours. It’s not of course. Today, it’s owned by everyone – in the sense that virtually anyone, anywhere can input. And that means you’re not the only one telling that story anymore.
Once customers simply provided validation that your story was true. Now they are part of the narrative, because their experience of your brand can so quickly become everyone else’s opinion of your brand, or at least part of it.
Customers and their impressions are the new interactive plot twists. They can support you, which provides affirmation that this is an interesting story worth connecting with. They can disagree with you which sows doubt. They can call for change, which can send your brand down other paths. If enough people disagree, that can encourage controversy or even opposition to what you seem to stand for.
Storytelling must, as a result, be increasingly responsive.
Indeed, I been suggesting for some time that the days of having audiences for brands are almost over, because no-one wants to be simply told anymore. What they do want is an ongoing view of, and input into, how and where things go from here. That shift fundamentally changes the role of brand management in my view: from one of supervising how the brand is applied to curating how and where the story develops.