Marketing is no longer about telling stories. It's about making them.
If marketers increasingly want to stop dictating narratives for people to take or leave, how can marketers make themselves part of consumers' stories and get consumers to create content?
It all starts with the brand, said Ann Lewnes, senior VP-CMO at Adobe. "Brand love leads to story making," she said. "The ability to get [consumers] to participate is so much easier than ever before," she added, referring to the democratization of video production, "but your brand is what lures people to participate."
For example, Adobe tapped its users for a spot earlier this year in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Adobe Photoshop. The ad featured work from its creators, which Adobe was able to use free of charge.
Visa also spurred social content when it took advantage of its NFL sponsorship to promote payments-product Visa Checkout by enlisting players O'Dell Beckham Jr. and Drew Brees to set the Guinness World Record for the most one-handed catches in one minute. (The idea was that Visa Checkout is easy enough to use with one hand.) After the push ran on ESPN, college football players and other fans made their own attempts to break his record. "It created a whole movement," said Chris Curtin, chief brand and innovation marketing officer at Visa.
Of course, Visa was backed by the NFL's massive fanbase and Adobe had a leg up because its products cater to creators. For marketers like Burger King, which speaks to average consumers, it's easier to insert itself into existing conversations than to get a hashtag or contest to take off, according to Eric Hirschhorn, CMO of Burger King. For example, the burger chain recently revived a menu item -- Chicken Fries -- after it discovered there had been an explosion of social chatter after they were booted off the menu in 2012.