Nigerian Brands and Storytelling

So in my last post I wrote about how politicians get storytelling and brands don’t. What I didn’t say however is why brands know about storytelling probably more than politicians do, but won’t adopt it.

I can’t say for sure that I know the “absolutely” answer to this question but I can definitely risk an educated guess :-)

Off the top of my head, “fear” comes to mind. I think the single biggest reason companies send brand managers on international marketing trainings and they come back with so much knowledge about storytelling, yet refuse to implement it, is fear. Fear is the single biggest reason, brands won’t adopt storytelling.

Brand managers are addicted to selling, everyone in the marketing team is obsessed with selling, so why change that ? We love advertising, we are comfortable with it, it works even though we can’t absolutely measure it, some how we know it works. Media presents us with reports and charts showing advertising is working and that’s just enough for us. ( Anyone wonders why media agencies in Nigeria never present detailed reports about digital in the reports, all you get is usually just some abstract “bits”, I guess dem dey fear “digital” too). Human beings are wired to fear or at least be suspicious of anything that is different. In the case of brands, they want to see “proof” that it will work. They want to see a brand that has done it, they don’t want to lead the change.

The truth too is that storytelling is not even about digital, storytelling spans across ALL media platforms.

Storytelling content can also be scary because there are too many channels to master; it’s not a one size fits all. Content for Facebook is different from content for Twitter, just as content for YouTube is different from content for Vine.

I can count on one finger, some Nigerian brands doing a decent work with storytelling though but I won’t be mentioning them here because I do have some affiliation with some of them. Globally however, Lego comes to mind for storytelling magic, Starbucks is another good example that comes to mind.

Nigerian brands need to get out of their comfort zone and do something “innovative” , something consumers want to be a part of, they simply can’t stand advertising anymore and they tune it off. Brand managers simply cannot imagine a world without “advertising”, a world without “tag lines”

Get over your fear guys and go tell your brand story.

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