Cyber Branding: How Technology Enhances Storytelling


Dianna Albanese, SourceMedia

September 4

It’s not often that a marketer’s first thought includes machines or technology while building a brand narrative. However, branding has benefited greatly from technology and digital communities.

According to Advertising Week, we have entered the “third wave” of the Internet’s development. This has introduced immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), wearable tech and voice-controlled tech. However, marketers and advertisers shouldn’t be intimidated by this new wave of technologies and devices. Rather, they should jump on the opportunity.

“Just as social media made brands more personal, the third wave of the Internet will widen the gap between brands who tell stories and build community and brands who merely push products.”

—Advertising Week

In today’s consumer-centric world, nobody likes a product pusher. Advertising Week lists three ways marketers and advertisers can take advantage of the new wave:

1. Literally define your brand voice. Voice-controlled technology can be confusing, but, when used efficiently, can further build your brand’s identity. Advertising Week suggests taking advantage of platforms like Amazon Alexa and Google Home to converse with customers in a different, more unique way than they’re used to.

2. Tap into the network effect. Utilize micro-influencers and user-generated content to tap into your audience on a more personal level.

3. Build experiences. VR and AR have become increasingly popular, despite the high costs. Professionals should jump on the opportunity to create experiences that activate the senses and push past the traditional advertisement on a website. Don’t just tell your consumers a story; let them live it.

With new touchpoints, marketers and advertisers are able to create a 360-degree experience for their audiences. Inviting the consumer to experience your story allows you to build a relationship on a more personal level that brands were unable to reach prior to the “third wave.” Advertisers are able to help brands speak with the consumer, rather than at the consumer.

To many professionals in the business of communicating, it seems that the new wave - and those in the past - has come out of nowhere, and they didn’t have time to prepare and keep up with the changes. Smart Insights suggests mastering the art of building a “future-proof brand,” but not in the way you think.

“The future isn’t just looking ahead and anticipating new technologies. It’s looking back to the branding basics and developing new ways to make your brand meaningful.”

— Smart Insights

Smart Insights says it’s not just about ads and banners anymore; different types of channels and content provide variety when building a brand narrative. Technology can provide the communication channel between consumers and products. Simply having an online presence isn’t enough anymore; brands need to engage before potential customers get bored.

Marketers and advertisers have seen an increase in interest while using tech in tandem with their outreach. The Content Marketing Institute cites an example from Wolf’s Ridge Brewing, where the team created a bot to help with directing guests’ attention to the food.

“[Traditional methods] didn’t feel really engaging,” said Heather Whaling, CEO and founder of Geben Communication. “So we created a bot that was much more of an interactive tool to help guests get interested in the food and educate them more about the food.” Whaling and her team found a way to take Wolf’s Ridge Brewing to the next level in their storytelling through machine learning and chatbots.

You shouldn’t invest in new technologies just to say you have them. Put it to work! The Content Marketing Institute says it’s, “the sweet spot for marketers who see technology advances as methods for evoking emotional engagement and serving specific business goals.”

Have you developed a strategy for cyber branding?


Advertising Week:

Smart Insights:

Content Marketing Institute:

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