Adjacent Storytelling

Often when I speak with other marketers, they complain that their brand, products or services are just not “sexy enough”. They are interested in social media and in producing content but simply cannot find the angle to make their brand shine. But this is not a problem of social media. And it’s not a problem of branding. It’s a problem of storytelling. And the only way to attack that problem is not with demographics and data (as much as I love them both). It’s with imagination.

Take a look at this “best job” video connecting a bunch of brands from the P&G stable. Not only is it interesting to see P&G stepping out from the long shadow of their powerful brands – it’s fascinating to see how “adjacent storytelling” can really showcase beauty and triumph in the mundane existence of our everyday lives.

So, what is “adjacent storytelling”? To me, it’s secret sauce.

How many times have you been asked to make the “logo bigger” or “more prominent”? How many times have you been pushed to mention a product or brand name three or more times in 30 seconds? This infantile understanding of branding comes from the triumph of data over imagination.

Adjacent storytelling is not about naming your brand. The adjacent story is there – the one that you see out of the corner of your eye. It’s the story that stays with you long after you have forgotten the wording. It’s the feeling that reminds you that your experience is not singular and that we are connected more by our commonalities than by our differences.

The adjacent story is the story of your brand in the hands and lives of your customers. Someone, somewhere, once had a problem that needed to be solved. This too, is the adjacent story. It’s the story of the problem, not the story of the solution.

Every brand – every product or service – has this story buried within. You need to scratch the surface to find the beating heart of your brand. But don’t stop there. It’s time to go deeper. Let’s hear less about you. Let’s hear how, together, we can change lives of those around us. Of those most important to us. Let’s explore how we can change this world.

That’s the adjacent story. And here you were thinking this was a blog post on social media!