Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Was the Year of Stories

Despite the title of this blog post, I'm not going to recap the top news stories of 2011. Instead, I'm going to talk about a different kind of story.

Remember when "stories" brought up childhood memories of Dr. Seuss? Well, in 2011, it was a marketing catch phrase. Since the dawn of social media, sharing and user-generated content (UGC) have been key elements of social media marketing. And that has led us to this moment.

In 2011, everywhere I looked -- at the end of a TV commercial, a print ad, and even radio ads -- it seems every brand ran a UGC marketing campaign that ended with the familiar call to action: "Share your story at..."

Usually, this statement ended with the brand's Facebook brand page.

Here are some examples:

Toyota AutoBiography stories on Facebook

Toyota encouraged owners to share their story, from road trips to relationships. On Facebook, it had a cool interactive map to read stories from across the country.

Pampers Miracle Stories on Facebook

Pampers celebrated the miracle of life by encouraging parents to share stories about their babies.

Sony Ambassador Campaign

Sony ran a UGC commercial contest that encouraged their loyal fans to submit a "story about the Sony product you love to show off" via text, photo, or video. The winner was featured in a TV commercial that ran during THE X FACTOR finale.

Sheraton "A Good Story is Better When Shared"

This is similar to the Toyota Autobiography campaign, but the execution is way slicker! It has a cool interactive experience where you spin a globe and pick a location to read stories from hotel guests. Also, you can filter by categories (e.g., beach, romance, weddings) or by keyword.

Fiat Driver Diary 

Across the pond, a rejuvenated Fiat, following it's Chrysler integration, asked its customers to submit an entry in the Driver Diary.

Mayo Clinic Story

This stories phenomenon also spread to non-profit sectors. Even the Mayo Clinic had its own "Share Your Mayo Clinic Story" where users can submit an essay or video story.

Facebook Sponsored Stories

Just how meaningful are Stories? Enough for Facebook to monetize them with its Sponsored Stories ad unit, which rolled out in 2011. Sponsored Stories are stories that are eligible to appear in one's News Feed. These show up on the right-hand column of pages on Facebook. According to Facebook, the types of stories that can be surfaced include: Page likes, Page posts, Page post likes, check-ins, app shares, apps used and games played, and domain stories.

Did I miss any other major Story campaign? Share your story below...


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