Everyone loves a good story. Numerous studies have even shown that our brains respond more to stories than cold, hard facts. That’s probably why stories have been a primary Branding & Marketing tool since, well, forever, and why they became a priority once content marketing and social media took off.
After all, someone has to fill all that space.
It’s not easy, of course. The best brand storytellers are those that understand the critical elements of fiction writing, in order to engage and emotionally connect with consumers. That’s a skill not many people have naturally, and few marketers have been trained along these lines, but there are plenty of articles online for help.
What was that? Now the story isn’t important? It’s the message, instead?
Ever since Facebook pivoted from a browser-only “wall post” UI to a combo of mobile apps (Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram and of course the Facebook app), we spend all our time getting snippets of text, messages, and push notifications. We don’t “surf the web” anymore, the web comes to us. Our friends (and the brands we like) not only communicate with us by text, but they send us images and links, which we often consider more important, valuable and credible than an ad.
Facebook isn’t the only culprit, of course. Messaging apps seem to be taking over the world. WhatsApp has a billion users, and in 2015 sent 50% more messages in-app than all global SMS messages. Add in another 1.5 billion using WeChat, LINE and KakoaTalk in Asia, and you can see why the tech industry is now so focused on messaging.
Okay, so the conversation isn’t exactly two-sided. The app sends you news bits written in a conversational tone and gives you two button options — one prompts more information about the story (such as “really?” or “uh oh”), the other tells the app to move on to the next item. Interspersed with the text are animated gifs just as you might see from your friends. It’s certainly an interesting way to get your news, and may be perfect for a generation that has grown up attached to their iPhone.
More importantly, it has the right combination: the content is short and punchy, the tone is casual, and it prompts you to respond in order to keep things moving.
Just like a good marketing conversation.