Last week, I overheard a conversation between our PR team and a representative from a prominent wire service.
“When I started, we concentrated solely on media. We differentiated ourselves from our competitors through speed – as soon as you faxed something to us, we had two people proof it as soon as possible.”
That was only 10 or so years ago.
Then, media strategy stressed control. An agency suggested key messages – and that would be the only thing you heard from a business.
Lack of control
And then the internet happened. Through the birth – and rapid explosion – of social networks, companies soon learned a then-awful truth: they no longer controlled their messages and stories.
The customers had a new playground to express their opinions. Gasp!
As companies learned to harness their networks over the last few years, the power of the customer grew exponentially. Companies now interacted directly with customers… and often, the customers drove business decisions. What a novel concept!
The shift to continuation
More recently, companies’ social strategies matured into something Gary Varynerchuk called “continuing the story.” Instead of fearing the uncontrollable, businesses began crafting their own story… and extending it online with a microsite, hashtag, or Facebook URL.
Customers are now characters, taking the beginning of an idea and crafting it into a story of their own, providing ample opportunities for brands to re-engage.
Now that’s continuing the story.