By Steven Amato is founder and CEO at Contend
Consumers are craving an authentic experience and connection with the brands in which they invest their loyalty and money. But brands struggle to cultivate this dynamic with their audience — especially when their agency partners are applying old ideas to a world that has evolved.
Most marketers continue to tell stories in 2D formats like traditional advertising. But consumers today demand a new dimensionality in storytelling and experiences. They don’t just want to buy a pair of sneakers to wear on their physical body, they also want to wear it on their avatar in a video game. They don’t just want to buy a ticket to a show, they want an NFT that unlocks rewards for them in the future. If you, or your agency, aren’t considering this with every brief, you’re at risk of losing connection with a generation of valuable customers.
Here are three tips for storytelling in a 3D world.
- Treat your purpose as your product
Advertisers continue to sell what their company does rather than focusing on its “why.” Consumers’ lives have added more complexity and dimensionality than ever before, and many are looking to buy and support brands that represent their beliefs and value system. This is both an opportunity and a challenge for businesses that now need to communicate their mission in a more authentic and relatable way. Take FEED, for instance, a philanthropic lifestyle brand whose mission is to create products in order to help end world hunger. This is a brand that makes it very easy to understand why they exist as well as what their products are.
With each generation comes new trends and preferences for marketing. Gen-Z, for example, is more focused on purpose when deciding which brands to buy. They’re the first generation who really distinguishes which businesses are “part of the problem,” and they have no issues taking their support to others who seem more aligned with how they choose to live their lives.
- Integrate into existing 3D worlds before you create your own
Successful branded experiences and integrations into metaverse brands like Roblox and Fortnite have driven great reach and impact but only if those worlds align with your audience. Moving forward, the opportunities for brands to create their own worlds will continue to become more mainstream. Technology brands like Facebook are betting their futures on building metaverse worlds like Horizons, a new collaborative virtual workspace that incorporates Facebook and their VR headset Oculus.
- Let audience data add a new dimension to your brand
While many creative and marketing agencies are still telling stories in 2D, humanity has moved to 3D—accelerated by a pandemic that has pushed humanity to evolve our relationships with our family, homes, work, shopping, travel, technology, and our relationship with brands. That evolution of relationships is an opportunity for brands to listen to their customers, gather insights, and use them to expand into new territories and new products.
If you don’t have a permissive layer to your data privacy and security strategy — meaning, if you’re not making lives better and showing that you’re connecting and intercepting with them in a way that makes them live their lives better — you’re going to experience a real deficit.
One person can now coexist with multiple brand touchpoints in ways never done before, and the customer experience will only get more immersive as we progress. Advertisers must be able to foster more personal customer relationships and have one-on-one discussions to help consumers make better buying decisions — and we’re going to be able to do this virtually.
Looking ahead, we can expect to see more efforts to appeal to this 3D world through truly three-dimensional marketing campaigns. It’s a new world, but in the very near future, smart marketers will start experimenting with these endless possibilities.
Steven Amato is founder and CEO at Contend, a data-driven content studio based in L.A.