What Does It Take To Engage Millennials in Today’s TL;DR World?



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The days of obsessing over the perfect 30 second commercial are over.

Brands have noticed that modern consumers pay more attention to the actual story rather than how long the story is. “People love good stories. I think there’s this general notion that a lot of marketers have that people are not going to stay with your content if it’s a certain length,” explains Erin Doyle, Creative Director of VaynerMedia.

“If it’s a great story and it’s told in a captivating way that is going to resonate with people, they’re going to stick with you. It doesn’t matter who it’s coming from.”

Kevin Fanning, Writer and Influencer at Wattpad, attests to the fact that stories don’t necessarily need to fit within a certain time frame to keep viewers interested. “With my first book about Kim Kardashian, I tried to keep my chapters really short to keep things moving. Most of the feedback I got from young teen readers was that my chapters were too short. You have time to tell stories. It’s not just that you have them [the audience] for 5 seconds or 5 minutes. There’s people who are willing to engage in much longer form stuff.”

Erin Doyle highlights this notion when she states, “We did a video for a client last year and the version that we cut was about 3 ½ minutes. The brand said it was too long so we had to cut it down. We convinced them to let us test both to see what was going to resonate. We actually had a higher completion rate on the 3 ½ minute video than the 2 ½ minute video. It was a story that people cared about, so they stuck with the longer version.”

Why are telling stories important for brands? Sam Olstein from General Electric mentions that it allows companies to increase their humanity. “We can either show up as this big industrial conglomerate or we can show up, with the help of great storytellers, in a more human way. That’s worked well for us.”

Bachir Zeroual, Global Director of Marketing Ventures for The Coca-Cola Company, adds on to the major importance of humanizing a brand. “Ultimately, the human factor is very important. People don’t want companies to tell them how to think or what to do. What they want is more stories and more ways for you to open them to your fans. But, give them the keys and respect the way they want to read those stories.”

Although we have shifted to the digital age, powerful stories have an ability to resonate with consumers no matter the medium. As Sam Olstein puts it, “Good stories are going to resonate today, tomorrow, or ten years from now. The basic foundational elements of good storytelling hasn’t changed. Good storytelling is going to work no matter what year it is.”

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