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Investing on Storytelling – Creating Social Currency

A very interesting topic which was brought up during the course of Social Media Week in Singapore was the concept of social currency. The discussion focused on how brands should be connecting with their customers on an emotional level to build what is called ‘social currency’. Building these emotional bonds will put the brand in good stead amongst their customers because they will have better top-of-mind recall and are more able to encourage advocacy amongst these customers who feel emotionally tied to the brand. Think about it in another way – on a personal level, aren’t you more likely to think of and remember those friends whom you feel a stronger connection with, rather than just acquaintances? That’s the whole concept behind creating social currency and building it to a brand’s advantage.

Storytelling help brands build emotion – and build up social currency

One of the best ways to evoke emotions in people is through stories, be it whatever medium – print, word-of-mouth, broadcast and now, social media. The best stories have always been able to inspire and make people remember them. Think about the characters that you emotionally connected with in a story – be it the protagonist whom you loved or antagonist whom you despised – and how strongly you still remember what they did or their role in the tale. Chances are, you can probably recall those scenes which evoked the strongest emotions in you most vividly.

So, instead of building campaigns around products or events,– could we instead build campaigns around stories? Such campaigns would have the power to move and emotionally touch people, making consumers remember it long even after they’re ended. And while they’re running they’d help increase brand equity and top-of-mind recall.

A love story

An example which was shared during Social Media Week Singapore was Dove Chocolate’s Chinese Valentine’s Day Campaign that was run entirely around the premise of helping a lovestruck guy propose to his special one on the special day, with the assistance of Dove. The campaign succeeded because it revolved around a compelling narrative which many people could identify with – the universal theme of love. Dove cleverly gave the story legs to run on across social and digital platforms, by documenting the entire proposal via blogs and social networks (Weibo) in China. The end results were impressive with over 47,683 retweets, 34,328 comments and a 226 per cent rise in Dove’s chocolate gift set sales. For the full lowdown on how the campaign ran you can check out the YouTube video here.

Great stories, great emotions, great connections

The takeaway, especially for people come from the PR side is simple – we are the storytellers, dealer of narratives. Social platforms give us the chance to tell great stories like never before as the word-of-mouth effect is hugely amplified. Tell a great story – one that touches or inspires people – and people will share and spread it around. Your challenge? Tell a story around a brand that cuts through the clutter, helps people ‘get it’ and ultimately builds social currency for your brand. What’s your next story?

Picture credit: Whatsforwork

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