StoryLiving: These brands are living their stories, not just telling them.

birdhousesJeff Fromm wrote this article that ran in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal the night after the Super Bowl. I’m playing catch-up, but it is a great insight about the millennial audience, originally titled:

Where’s the funny? Why millennials’ love of ‘StoryLiving’ replaced comedy in Super Bowl ads

Last night’s commercial-watch party (disguised as a football game) was packed with commercials featuring a new paradigm in marketing called StoryLiving. It takes storytelling to the next level and is a way for brands to show customers how much they care about adding good to the world.

StoryLiving is one of the best ways to connect with millennial consumers, ages 18 to 34, who prefer to spend their money on brands that stand for more than their bottom lines.

We used to see brands tell stories about giving back, now we are seeing entire movements created by brands to encourage positive behavior (think about the Coca Cola spot, #MakeItHappy).

These brands are living their stories, not just telling them. It’s no longer enough to simply create a funny commercial. Millennials demand more from their favorite brands, which is why StoryLiving is becoming so important. It only works, however, when the message is authentic, unique and meaningful.

Use your brand authority to create authentic messages

For example, Always Feminine Products’ #LikeAGirl campaign is a stellar example of a brand standing for more than its bottom line and focusing on a strong, positive message that doesn’t directly relate to the brand but is within its authority.

Instead of comparing two sanitary napkins holding blue liquid, Always chose to use its valuable Game Day airtime sending a message about the importance of making girls feel empowered. The video featuring young girls redefining what it means to “throw like a girl” has already been shared online more than 80 million times, proving that consumers support brands that support important causes and promote authentic messages.

Millennials are more likely than other generations to share a brand’s content with their friends via social media but only if they deem it meaningful and unique. That means they must be able to see themselves in the content in order make a connection.

For example, Reebok‘s Super Bowl “Be More Human” commercial was authentic, unique and meaningful. Instead of touting the benefits of Reebok shoes and clothes, the commercial featured millennials pushing themselves with intense workouts. The key is that these people could be your next-door neighbor soccer mom or the firefighter you see at the grocery store — it could be anyone.

Reebok‘s version of Storyliving is to not just inspire its consumers to become healthier through fitness, but to do it with them.

Coca Cola, Reebok and Always are just a handful of brands embracing StoryLiving in order to create solid relationships with consumers. Some of the top millennial brands are following suit and adapting to a more millennial driven mindset. All brands should take a page from these brand’s playbooks, because those who don’t will probably sit the bench.

Cherryh Butler contributed to this article.

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