The lemmings otherwise known as public relations, advertising and marketing communications executives routinely jump from one buzzword or phrase to another every 18 months or so. Someone will coin a new phrase or service such as disruptor, data analytics, Big Data, behavioral science, digital-driven programs and, of course, Storytelling. And, within a week or so, every marketer in the known universe will be including the hot new word or phrase in every other sentence.
Storytelling was critical to every marketers’ earned, owned and paid media campaign, correct? It had to be because today’s consumer (whether she is a REIT manager or full-time mom) wants to engage with products or services that do the right thing, educate and entertain her and, most importantly, fit within her lifestyle. That objective was accomplished by crisp, clear and compelling storytelling. And, we were all Storytellers.
Mastercard’s just changed the game. They’ve abandoned Storytelling and now focus on Storymaking.
Allow me to allow Mastercard’s CMO Raja Rajamannar to explain: “As recently as a few years ago, people sat in front of a TV, with the whole family gathered during prime time…Today, the world is very different. People still come together in the family room, but it’s a collection of individuals who are all in their own private worlds with their own connected devices.”
So, Mastercard has morphed from Storytelling to Storymaking. They now collaborate with consumers to slice and dice their legendary “Priceless” storytelling campaign to four categories:
- Priceless Surprises, which gives cardholders unexpected experiences, such as meeting celebrities.
- Priceless Cities, which curates one-of-a-kind experiences and exclusive promotions only available to Mastercard cardholders.
- Priceless Causes, which generates donations to particular charities when consumers use their Mastercard.
- Priceless Specials, which provides various offers and benefits.
The fundamental difference between Storytelling and Storymaking, says Rajamannar is this: “Consumers don’t want to hear brand stories; they want to be part of the story. We enable, create and curate experiences for consumers.” That change may seem subtle to some but it’s actually quite profound.
You can read more about Mastercard, Rajamannar and Storymaking here, but, as Sr. Maria Eucharia used to warn my fellow eighth graders at St. Francis Grammar School, “A word to the wise is sufficient.” Get a firm grasp of Storymaking ASAP and figure out how to use it to better connect with your target stakeholders. And, for god’s sake, begin including the word in your agency/internal corporate storytelling and explaining how it’s different and more relevant than yesterday’s buzzword.
Get used to Storymaking. It’s the new orange of marketing communications. That said, be prepared for it to be replaced by the next, new orange in 18 months or sooner.