Because I no longer believe that campaigns measure up in our web 2.0, socially networked world. Today, we broadcast our messages into an environment where we can control them perhaps seventy percent of the time. Consumers drive the other thirty percent: blogging, posting reviews, tagging Flickr photos, making YouTube videos and simple word of mouth recommendations. When we must cede control of the message nearly a third of the time, we need to rethink every assumption we hold regarding pushing out campaigns.
And that takes me back, not immediately to McKee’s 1997 hardcover, but rather some 17,000 years to the Paleolithic age in the South of France. Admittedly, I wasn’t there, yet those prehistoric cave paintings at Lascaux still possess an eerie power all these eons later. Because those strangely-dynamic images of bulls and horses vividly engender the notion of story; a story told once, then again, then tens of thousands of times, evolving, changing and growing with each new storyteller.
And that takes me back to McKee. As marketers, we must get really smart about the principles of storytelling. If we can shape compelling brand stories that motivate and engage our consumers, and at the same time specifically identify and highlight foundational aspects of those brand stories, then we will make it easier for our consumers to add their own experiences to our brand story foundation, personalizing the brand to themselves and evangelizing it to all of their friends. And that sounds like a way forward: not thinking about campaigns, but obsessing over story.
Besides, “campaign” is such a warlike word. “Story” is so much more inviting, so much more one-to-one, so much more fundamentally human and authentic.
You know, like the best brands.