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Why Storytelling Needs to Be at the Heart of Your Online Video Strategy

Why Storytelling Needs to Be at the Heart of Your Online Video Strategy

One of the must-attend sessions at Advertising Week this year was “Storytelling Is Dead.” It was billed as a seminar by Raja Rajamannar, the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer of Mastercard, but I was expecting a wake. Hey, storytelling has been very, very good for me so, I wasn’t really looking forward to hearing some guy from a credit card company tell me that “Mastercard believes we need to stop being great storytellers.” But, boy, was I wrong.

How To Break Through to Your Customers

Rajamannar defines “storytelling” as talking at consumers. And, since the “Mad Men” era, brands have used advertising to broadcast their stories at a large audience of consumers. But, it’s stopped working. He told the audience of advertisers in the Liberty Theatre, “Latest reports state that there are over 600 million devices running ad block software, and the message from consumers is clear: Stop interrupting me – I don’t want to see your ads. At the same time, consumers are constantly connected and literally have the power to make or break a brand at their fingertips. So how do you break through and engage with consumers?”

Good question. And Rajamannar had a good answer. He said, “Against the digital transformation landscape and changing consumer behavior, Mastercard believes … it is time to put consumers at the center of our efforts; it’s time to be great story-makers.

Time out. Aren’t “story-makers” the same Mad Men (and women) that we used to call “storytellers”?  Doesn’t Mastercard still have McCann-Erickson as its agency of record? Is this just a new variation on “the King is dead; long live the King” expression that the British have been using for centuries?

No, this is a much bigger idea. Rajamannar said “story-making” is the combination of “art, science, and necessity” that was developed as a response to a “society where the pace of technology and information exchange only continues to speed up; and where consumers only allow brands a few mere moments to make or break a relationship.”

Consumers Value Experiences Over Things

Rajamannar explained, “Studies show and retail sales data supports that today, consumers value experiences over things. Mastercard’s Priceless campaign – now in its 20th year – was founded on the insight that experiences matter more than things, but the way it is executed today is much different. Mastercard has evolved its Priceless strategy from a single traditional advertising campaign to a holistic experiential-led marketing platform.” Now, I know what you’re thinking: “What the heck is a holistic experiential-led marketing platform?” Here’s Rajamannar’s definition: “Mastercard is transforming into an experiential brand by doing 3 things:

  1. Focusing on consumers’ passions,
  2. Building experiential platforms.
  3. Creating products/technologies that change lives for the better.

“We’ve moved our brand promise from being the ‘best way to pay’ to ‘connecting people to Priceless possibilities.’” That’s a big idea.

Here’s the backstory: About four years ago, Mastercard developed a strategic framework – called “Marketing 4.0” – which recognized just how important “connections” had become and realized that the Priceless campaign should not be limited to traditional advertising.

Rajamannar explained, “Over the years, marketers have used various techniques to relate with consumers. Marketing 1.0 was the era of logic/rational side of the brain and very focused on products’ features and benefits. In that era, brands underscored messaging like ‘new,’ ‘improved,’ and ‘best seller’ – brands like Dyson did this product-focused marketing well. In Marketing 2.0, the era of emotion, we saw brands like Coca-Cola appealing to emotions with their ‘open happiness’ campaign, and of course our own Priceless campaign, which was founded in the insight that ‘experiences matter more than things.’ Amazon stands out in the era of Marketing 3.0, where extensive data and intensive data analytics drive marketing. And now in Marketing 4.0 – it is the new era of connections. We view this as the era of connecting people to what truly matters to them. Simply put, this is because the world has changed and arguably people do not want brands to waste their time or attention.”

However, this strategic insight had consequences. Rajamannar said, “To win with today’s consumer, we need to go way beyond showing priceless experiences in commercials, to giving our cardholders the tools to create their own. We need to move from ‘simply’ observing priceless moments to enabling priceless experiences.” Rajamannar also shared several stories – pun intended – that illustrate how Mastercard’s efforts are energizing its brand and driving its business.

A Masterclass in Storytelling from Mastercard 

Uwe Bindel is no ordinary soccer fan. He has gone to jaw-dropping lengths to support his beloved FC Bayern Münich: from defying the Stasi as a teenager in communist East Berlin, to choosing a UEFA Champions League match over his 20th wedding anniversary holiday.

Uwe believed he was taking part in a documentary on “Über-fans,” but little did he know he was about to be surprised by his idol, Bayern Munich midfield legend and Germany’s most capped player of all time Lothar Matthäus. To celebrate their sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League in advance of the 2015 Final in Berlin, MasterCard arranged this Priceless Surprise to thank the passion of football fans … but also the fans behind those fans.

Or, see what happened when Pharrell Williams surprised his fan Queen, while she was running a playgroup.

And, to celebrate The BRIT Awards 2016, Mark Ronson and MasterCard brought together 6 fans who had previously covered Uptown Funk online ­‐ Anna Shields & Blair Crichton, The Ayoub Sisters, Ross Campbell and John Atkins ­‐ to create a brand new cover, and share their Priceless Surprise with Ronson himself.

Americans are familiar with Mastercard’s Stand Up To Cancer program. It’s one of several Priceless Causes that the brand supports. For example, here’s what the Priceless Causes program has done for the World Food Program.

Also, Priceless Cities is a global MasterCard program designed to enable MasterCard cardholders to live unique experiences and receive benefits that add value to their lives. For example, you can experience the magic of New York City on a night like no other. From The Modern, to Jimmy and Center Bar, enjoy wonderful food paired against the backdrop of the dramatic cityscape.

Mastercard: Storytelling and Sponsored Videos

According to Tubular’s breakthrough DealMaker software , sponsored videos are also part of Mastercard’s “holistic experiential-led marketing platform.” The brand has 76 partners that have made 798 videos, which have a total of 45.5 million views and over 1.3 million engagements. For example, “How far would you go?” was uploaded to UEFA Champion League’s Facebook page on April 19, 2017. It currently has 2.4 million views and 15,000 engagements.

Now, that’s taking story-making to a level that traditional storytellers only reach once in a blue moon. It’s the difference between creating a priceless experience for your customers that they want to share with their friends, family, and colleagues and merely telling a story – even one with emotion – about the features and benefits of your products or services. That’s a very big idea.


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Get the Latest Insights and Trends for Online Video [Exclusive Report]

Get the Latest Insights and Trends for Online Video [Exclusive Report]

As social video continues to thrive, more publishers, media companies and influencers are taking advantage of the medium as a means to reach and engage with consumers and fans. Choosing the right strategy for your video distribution is now more important than ever, but how do stakeholders keep up with the key trends in the new video ecosystem?

In a brand new report from Tubular, we take an in-depth look at the benchmarking
and growth numbers that matter to you and your social video strategy. The report includes industry metrics as well as our standardized performance metrics, Tubular Video Ratings.

Download the New Q3 2017 State of Online Video Report Today! Get All the Latest Video Insights and Trends

Up-to-date Online Video Trends – Now!

Data-driven video content is becoming the cornerstone of digital marketing campaigns. Media companies, brands, and publishers can keep up with the latest insights, trends, and new data by downloading Tubular’s new ‘State of Online Video Report Q3 2017’, and watching the playback of our webinar to get the latest stats for online video. You’ll learn the following:

  • The latest global trends in video content
  • Who are the media companies winning with social video?
  • Who are the mega-creators on YouTube and Facebook Video?
  • How to take advantage of awards season on social

Food-related Video Views Continue to Grow

While a variety of content is generating views and engagement across the main social video platforms, videos related to food and drink continue to attract huge audiences. Compared to Q3 2016, food and drink video views grew by 30% on Facebook, and 140% on YouTube during the last quarter. On Facebook, the majority of food related views are generated by creators that primarily only make content about food. But on YouTube, food views are coming from a variety of creators that also publish videos around other topics.

The new report from Tubular also takes a deeper dive into food video content. For instance, did you know that on YouTube, family channels & Asian food channels drive triple digit growth for food related content? Download the research now for more insights into what’s engaging your target audience.

Food related video views on YouTube and Facebook Q3 2017 (All data via Tubular’s ‘ State of Online Video Report Q3 2017’

Exclusive Webinar on Video Insights for 2017

This quarter our report not only focuses in on the latest critical trends, but also the video trends happening right now around tent pole events like the U.S. Awards Season 2018, and World Cup 2018. We also bring you insights into sponsored video, and provide invaluable commentary on influencer demographics.

To accompany the new report, we held an exclusive webinar which offered insights on the trends you need to know to set your programming strategy up for success. We also highlight why you should choose certain tactics over others. Watch the recording online now to keep up with the changes in online video, and learn what’s in store for the future. The presenters are:

Allison Stern:  Allison is Tubular’s Co-Founder and CMO. Before Tubular, Allison worked at YouTube, with the sales operations, product marketing, and business development teams. Throughout her career, Allison has helped media companies, including 20th Century Fox and AOL, develop compelling online experiences and increase user engagement.

Lindsay Lamont: Lindsay is the Enterprise Solutions Engagement Manager at Tubular Labs. Based in our New York city office, Stanford graduate Lindsay is passionate about discovering trends and insights in the online video ecosystem.

The State of Online Video Q3 2017 Report

The exclusive ‘State of Online Video Report Q1 2017’ gives unprecedented insights into what’s happening on the major video platforms. Just click on the button below to access the webinar playback and the full report.

Download the New Q3 2017 State of Online Video Report Today! Get All the Latest Video Insights and Trends

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Memorial Day Weekend Movie Releases: How Three of The Big 2017 Trailers Performed Online

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How to Leverage Online Video to Get the Most Out of The European Market [Report]

How to Leverage Online Video to Get the Most Out of The European Market [Report]Online video is booming in Europe, but what social video insights and trends should you be aware of to achieve success in that region? Download our exclusive report today.

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VidCon Europe 2017: 15 Takeaways for the Online Video Industry

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How Luxury Brands Perform Differently When it Comes to Online Video [Report]

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