Our new competition is, literally, anything. Now, anything that distracts from your next sale is your competition. Any small piece of content on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, a mobile app or a competitor’s website is your competition. It all competes for your consumer’s attention.
This change came without warning. It’s no longer our given right to purchase effective advertising reach. We can’t simply buy our way to mass market awareness. Mass media doesn’t reach the masses anymore, and paid media is slipping or “skipping” from our grasp. Paid or unpaid, it’s all becoming earned media now.
We also face a higher bar on what we can consider “compelling.” An ocean of highly engaging content is aimed at your listeners. The noise of it shouts more loudly than you could ever shout. It all compels your audience to ignore you. If your content isn’t more entertaining than the outrageous cat video with 50 million likes, then your content will get missed. Lost. Wasted.
We need to get resourceful. We need to use whatever we’ve got — to bring lift to our brand. Find your rooftop and shout from it. Do something to get your consumer’s attention. Do anything. Step out of your comfort zone. Innovation can be messy. That’s OK. This is new territory. There is no class or booklet on how to lead into the future.
Be unconventional. Don’t be afraid of trying long shots. Look for anything that can float in this turbulent environment. Find entertaining content your brand can climb onto and ride it. Surf that silly cat video. Blow up a pizza with dynamite (Be careful. We did that once, and the police didn’t like that very much). But, do something to stand out among this sea of content.
Advertisers are now competing in a world of entertainers. It makes sense, therefore, that if you can’t beat them, join them. In the next Golden Age of advertising, advertisers won’t just be the interruption, they will be the featured event — if they want any attention at all. We need to get the permission of our viewers to engage them, because they don’t have to listen to our stories anymore.
We have to earn our way back into the hearts of our consumers. The art of storytelling will evolve as it has always done. It will cleverly find its way into the new media as inventive new storytellers apply the ancient principles that will always define the next evolution of storytelling.