The Power of Storytelling
Grown ‘out of the most modest of ideas’, what started as an initial plan to simply photograph New Yorkers on the street soon developed into interviews, quotes and short life stories sitting alongside the portraits and videos. Now with over twenty million followers on social media, as well as a New York Times No.1 best selling book, ‘Humans of New York’ gives a worldwide audience a window into the lives of everyday people in New York City.
Named by Time Magazine as one of the ’30 Under 30 People Changing the World’, Brandon Stanton is now taking his celebration of human diversity even further, collecting stories from trips to over 20 different countries.
A modern day campfire, Humans of New York is a fascinating demonstration, as well as a powerful confirmation, of the human desire to share and to listen to stories.
The Importance of Belonging
Humans, we have an undeniable need to belong. We need to be accepted, we need to contribute, we need to support, we need to feel part of something bigger and more important than ourselves. Psychologists will point to Abraham Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs’, where belongingness is a major motivator of human behaviour.
Those of us lucky enough to have read Seth Godin’s superb ‘Tribes’ will have enjoyed the many references to the power of belonging in todays world. Digital technology has given us the ability to connect on a global level, to join tribes, to grow communities, to start movements – to belong.
Godin references leaders such Jacqueline Novogratz, founder and CEO of Acumen, who is changing the world by inspiring entrepreneurs in the developing world. Her organisation of donors, employees and supporters are all empowered by belonging to her tribe.
Thinking Citizens, Not Consumers
Originally published in 2016, ‘Good is the New Cool’ - sub-titled ‘Market Like You Give a Damn’ - is described as a bold new manifesto by its New York City based creators, marketing strategist Afdhel Aziz and specialist in marketing to millennials Bobby Jones.
‘Good is the New Cool’ aims to define a new marketing model, one fit for today and one that means brands can deliver growth by doing good. ‘We wrote this book to serve the world changers; the innovators and provocateurs that believe in using business and culture as forces for good.’
The new cohort of consumer no longer trusts advertising, and new technologies allow them to bypass it altogether. So as Aziz and Jones suggest, rather than sinking money into advertising, why not create a new model, one in which great marketing optimises life?
Telling their story, growing their tribe and thinking citizen, is the way that successful brands will cut through the white-noise and make meaningful connections with the new consumer.
HT&E is the branding and strategy division of seventy7 and we are helping brands and businesses in retail, sport, travel and philanthropy to grow and prosper. We can help you too.