Why Brands Win When They Seek Audiences Not Customers

1440628624781Today, the most successful brand strategies are those that take an audience development approach. And by “audience” I mean your customers, users or members of your brand tribe. Why use the word “audience” rather than customers?

First of all, as opposed to customers, an audience is looking to make an emotional connection and will give their attention when they get what they desire. Plus, to a brand, customers are merely numbers reflecting a transaction. When we shift the language to audience, we evoke a connection with an individual that is more than transactional it’s emotional. And when brands build experiences for audiences, rather than their customers, a relationship is built that, if done right, can sustain for a long time.

“Humans are emotional creatures and they want experiences that engage them as humans. They’re not eyeballs, impressions, views, likes, shares, clickthroughs, or conversions.” – Brian Solis, August 2015

Further, if we look at the current role of content in successful brand strategies, the ultimate goal is that brands are creating added value content that resonates with your particular brand audience. (Btw, you have to get to know your audience and understand what they want before you can even create strategies that provides them with particular unique value). And no matter what kind of content you are creating, the goal is to get the attention of the right people via providing them with either entertainment or information that engages people emotionally.

Whether brands know it yet or not, with each foray into creating original brand content, they are, little by slowly, becoming media companies.

Indeed, customers are now audiences. And those brands that consider this perspective in their strategies will succeed quicker than the rest. Check out Red Bull, they’re a great example of this.

So …

Brands, meet your audience.

Audiences, meet your brands.

Cross-Platform Storytellers = Audience Architect + Story Architect

Information-TechnologyitTo create successful cross-platform story experiences, it’s important to understand there are two sides to the transmedia coin. Transmedia only begins at creating story across platforms; the other half is building a cohesive cross-platform audience experience. The two go hand in hand when building engaging, moving story experiences.

Several years ago, understanding that storytelling was evolving in a new media age, the visionary Lance Weiler made a shift in how he identified as a storyteller and he moved away from identifying as a filmmaker to that of a story architect.

images“At one point I considered myself a film-maker but those days are long gone. I now consider myself something akin to a story architect, in the sense that the stories I tell encompass design, delivery and technology.” – Lance Weiler, 2009

As we build story experiences in this connected digital age, one side of creating story experiences is building story architecture and the other is building audience architecture. Continue reading

Joss Whedon: Reinventing Hollywood by Giving Away Apple TVs

This month’s Story Entrepreneur award goes to Joss Whedon.Unknown-2

And here’s why …

Last month, while Joss Whedon was on set filming The Avengers, his film In Your Eyes debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival where he then announced that the film would be available to rent immediately via the film’s site, powered by Vimeo, for only $5. Not only is that a fabulous digital distribution plan with direct monetization, but what happens next makes this film strategy ground breaking.

Basically, he had an audience strategy!

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 1.49.12 PMOnce audiences started renting the movie, Joss and team started sending out thank you gifts! Yes, they sent gifts thanking their audience for watching. And they were not small gifts, they sent Apple TVs, Xbox Ones, Weber grills and cacti! And they sent them to audiences around the world in Germany, Australia and the UK!

This distribution model and reverse crowdsourcing is brilliant, on so many levels! Here’s a few … Continue reading