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Technology Is for Storytelling, Not Just for Looking Trendy

by Josh Cohen  |  
April 28, 2015

Has this been done before? It's an honest question that marketers always ask when considering using new technology to tell their stories. Who wants to be a has-been?

But when discussing applying technology to brand experiences, it is not the best question to be asking.

The right question is "Does the new technology help tell a better story about my brand or will the story be about the technology itself?"

The Purpose of Technology

Marketers will be envelope-pushers. Everyone wants to look fresh, exciting, different, and edgy. A new medium to deliver your message says you're a front-runner, constantly thinking how experiences can make an emotional connection to your brand.

A tech-first approach works when the cool factor of the technology furthers the brand conversation, not the technology conversation. A great example of this is when Pepsi Max took over a bus shelter in the UK with brand new technology (see-through LCD displays) that delightfully frightened commuters. A clear LCD screen was placed at one end of the shelter, allowing commuters to "see" what was happening on the street. But what they saw wasn't what they expected: a tiger raced towards the shelter, a slimy creature slithered out of a hole in the sidewalk, a swarm of UFOs hovered over the street beaming lights at the bus shelter. Commuters could join the fun, stand outside the bus shelter, and "run away" from the threats while their pals photographed the shenanigans from inside.

The above example is case in point of a brand using technology to tell a brand story, turning the mundane routine of waiting for the bus into an fun, imminently shareable and memorable adventure. The message was clear and the consumers' focus was on the experience rather than the technology.

Too many times brands get excited about technology and how to look "cool" and focus on how to implement the technology rather how the technology can tell their brand story.

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Josh Cohen is CEO of Pearl Media, a collective of thinkers, tinkerers, engineers, designers, and dreamers

LinkedIn: Josh Cohen 

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  • by Jessica Zim Thu Apr 30, 2015 via web

    "Too many times brands get excited about technology and how to look "cool" and focus on how to implement the technology rather how the technology can tell their brand story."

    I agree, but the leading example of Pepsi actually seems to reinforce the statement above and not be a good example of using technology to tell a brand story, as your example asserted. Because what did the LCD stunt have to do with Pepsi, other than Pepsi probably plastered their name across it. And it's Pepsi, one of the most recognizable brands on the planet. They can use wacky marketing tactics, whereas people reading this article for practical marketing advice cannot.

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