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Why Storytelling is the Real Currency of Brand Culture: Actionable Perspectives from Doner Advertising

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“Storytelling is an act of community, not just a way to share what is happening.”– Marcus Collins,
Chief Consumer Connections Officer, Doner Advertising

“Once upon a time…” is how Marcus Collins, Chief Consumer Connections Officer of Doner Advertising, began a discussion on the importance of storytelling and why it is the real currency of branding culture.

Collins emphasized that storytelling facilitates information exchange and behavioral norming, making it key to not just branding, but everyday life.

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People are social animals by nature. They exchange information, facts, knowledge, warnings, experiences, and recommendations, he said.

Collins further described how storytelling facilitates connections and bonds, detailing how people can still connect to characters in a movie, where the story is obviously make-believe, if it allows them to see themselves in it or stirs an emotion.

Storytelling as an act of community

While people also use narratives and storytelling to share events that have taken place, “storytelling is an act of community, not just a way to share what is happening,” Collins said.

Although people share stories across networks, making them the currency of brand culture, Collins reminded the industry that people do not tell brand stories, they tell people stories.

“It’s not about you,” he told marketers. People may happen to speak about the brand within a story, but the brand is not the focus, rather happenstance.

Stories as a cultural currency

“Stories act as the currency of the culture. It’s the exchange that we have between the people within the culture so that we stay in lockstep with the culture that we subscribe to,” Collins said, speaking to the sense of identity that this creates for individuals.

That is why stories that solicit emotion are what can gain the most audience. Humans and their emotions are the main attraction, and brands need to remember they are simply a facilitator of this.

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