Be Interactive take a look into their crystal ball

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Be Interactive take a look into their crystal ball

The end of a year and start of a new one is always a great time to reflect on the work we have done, and where we are heading in the next 12 months. We've taken the opportunity to share our insights into what we think will be big in 2014 in the world of marketing and business development, starting with Adam's opinions on the importance of a brand story.

Adam Ceely Senior marketing executive

Looking back at my time at university (something which seems to be ever more distant!), there was a certain naivety amongst my friends and I about the importance of brands. "Build it, and they shall come" was the attitude we all shared, with brand image being one of the most important tools in the marketing toolkit.

To an extent, this is still true. There are big brands that still have the power to draw in consumers simply because of their name. But it is the rise in the importance of a brand's story that continues to build momentum, and I predict, will play an important role in brand development for the foreseeable future.

Consumers seem to be increasingly fixated with the ins and outs of the brands they interact with, largely due to the many ways we can now communicate with them. The wealth of channels available to a brand means the story they tell has an evermore-important role to play. Think about how many websites you visit where the "about us" page plays a prominent role in the site structure.

Consumers have had to get used to justifying every purchase they make as disposable incomes have been squeezed over the last few years. Like it or not, people are discerning about what they spend their money on and how the brands they purchase reflect on them. By sharing that start-up story (usually containing a shed at the bottom of a garden) brands have the ability to communicate their passion and tap into the consumer's belief set, hopefully finding fertile, common ground. Today, it's not just the brand who can communicate their beliefs onto the consumer, but the consumer can also share his or her beliefs back, representing the brand in a positive (or even a negative) light.

I was recently made aware of a soon to be opening restaurant not far from my home, called Bill's. Rather than check out the menu, or the opening hours, my first port of call was the "story" page, which has a prominent place on their website. In a few simple, yet extremely powerful words, the brand was firmly on my radar having connected and shared values which I hold close.

Another recent example of how brand stories help connect companies and customers (and vice versa) is The Cambridge Satchel Company. This company featured in a Google TV ad which storyboarded the progress of how one person set up, developed and grew their business (of course using a multitude of a certain web-giant's tools). Rather conveniently, this example illustrates both the story telling by The Cambridge Satchel Company and Google, showing it's not just the start-up companies who are investing in telling these stories.

Remember - a brand is so much more than a logo and tagline. Brands need to stand for something to win the hearts (and minds) of the modern consumer. So have a think about the story you are telling. If you need ideas on how to tell it to a wider audience, get in touch.