The narrative and writing style of communications nowadays has to be crafted very differently to what it was just five years ago. For websites, as an example, to develop a narrative that communicates the brand message, we now leverage storytelling, first and third-person perspectives, and interweaved trust validators like quotes and reviews. Whereas in the past, communications focused on informing, relating, and driving brand recall through repetitive statements, jingles, and memorable tag lines, our current environment has shifted, and that is in large part due to the generational shift.
Millennials as Expert Storytellers
Millennials, or the pass-back generation as I like to refer to them, grew up in an era of digital explosion. For the most part, they were part of fully working households, where one or both parents worked full time and in cases, multiple jobs due to the great recession. These kids grew up sitting in the back of vehicles with an iPad passed back to them to keep them busy as their parents focused on the never-ending stream of worries, job requirements, late hours, and a litany of bills. With the iPad/iPhone or other digital device being a co-parent, these kids learned to gather information from multiple sources on their own. Genetically modified by social media, these kids learned the values of community, resourcefulness, and individuality, in their early years. Whereas we valued the authority of teachers and instructors, these kids learned from their environment, validating facts against opinions expressed digitally and views of the world through everlasting access to information. All of this translates to an individualistic view of the world, a broad representation of authority, where a YouTube influencer may be more credible than a school teacher because they can relate to them on an emotional level. Our education system and our overall communications did not and could not keep up the pace.
The Gen-Z Activist
Now the upcoming Gen-Z crew is even more individualistic and opinionated, heavily implicated too. They’ve experienced early onset adulthood, living in a politicized world where they know it to be imperative to validate facts because basically everyone has a different story. They’ve grown up in a generation that challenges everything from physics to physiques and where the story must include elements of relatability, which to them means validation from sources with which they’re familiar.
Connecting is Emotional Storytelling and Driving Memories
What this all means to marketing and communication is that to deliver on-brand messaging, we must rely heavily on storytelling. Those stories must be served with trust validators from a broad stream of sources and must be written with an emphasis on kinesthetic, visual, and auditory references. We live in an era of bombardment. Where information is delivered at supersonic speeds and quantities. This information leads to an efficient level of ADD that allows large numbers of data to be assimilated and discarded from our brains at light-speed. To deliver and connect, we must then be strategic about how we develop content. In particular in places like text, where the entire message must be provided in a three to five line story, full of keywords, references, and validators while still making sense and driving an emotional connection. The winners here those that can leverage copy, social, and experience to write something that’s engaging enough not wholly to lose a prospect within the five seconds (at most) you have to engage them.
For us, as an agency, it is our job to find, nurture, and engage expert storytellers to mold them into expert keyword strategists and kinesthetic geniuses then. Impactful messaging has no value without an emotional connection. Brand recall has transformed into a kinesthetic experience, and only those that can engage will be able to deliver to the audiences that now carry the buying power. Focus on connecting first, then deliver on message as it is the connection that will drive the memory, not the message itself.