The transition from analog to digital has enabled the reach and focus of PR and marketing messaging exponentially. These transitions are nicely described by Lucy Siegel (http://bridgebuzz.bridgeny.com/). With these new powers, it’s important to make sure that your storytelling is aligned with your branding and that both have been influenced in some way by your audience (let’s call it customer-focused storytelling). This not only strengthens your story, but your brand as well.
Even the new technology has a new wrinkle, as Janet Falk (http://www.janetlfalk.com/) tells us. It’s crowd sourcing and user-generated content — when companies actively solicit input from target audiences. She provides a familiar example: The 1995 campaign to select the next color of M&Ms is now a contest for user-generated video commercials. Contestants are rewarded with seeing their work displayed on the company website, inevitably shared among a like-minded audience and often voted upon. The grand prize winner gets monetary compensation and digital fame. In the process, consumer packaged goods companies relinquish a measure of control and yield reliability of authoritative sources to the unknown contestants, whose agendas may or may not align with specific corporate goals beyond increasing brand awareness.
The benefits of digital storytelling come with more responsibility, in the form of having to monitor both the effect your story is having, as well as your audiences’ reactions to the story (for instance, bloggers without journalist credentials and audiences with agendas).