General Electric, Marriott and Condé Nast Weigh In on Digital Storytelling

Experiments on new platforms can pay off

As social media channels continue to grow, with mobile feeds dominating storytelling, brands like General Electric, Marriott and Condé Nast have had to work out the best way to position themselves on social platforms. 

General Electric, for example, needs to feel more tangible and accessible to its consumers. Energy, after all, is an invisible product that consumers don't think about until it isn't there. 

"For us, for Thomas Edison's brand, it makes sense to be [one of the] first [brands] on a new platform," said Linda Boff, executive director of global brand marketing for GE, at Advertising Week's digital storytelling panel. "We experiment on new platforms, and it's OK if something doesn't work. … It's about finding a great way to use that tool." 

According to Boff, GE was one of the first brands to use Vine when it launched in January 2013. 

"It's important for consumers to be able to feel that they are engaging with brands," said Marla Kaplowitz, North American CEO of MEC. 

As for Marriott, the brand aims to reposition itself as the world's largest travel company that just happens to sell hotel rooms, according to Marriott's vp of creative, content marketing and global marketing, David Beebe. In fact, the brand just launched a creative and content marketing studio

"We're selling an experience, and we have to balance what our consumers' real experience is with our marketing [message]," says Beebe, who explained that Marriott wants to own the travel journey on social platforms. "The future of digital storytelling is to use it in a way that adds value to the consumer." 

Condé Nast, according to vp of partnerships Josh Stinchcomb, is leveraging its photography heritage on increasingly popular image-based digital platforms. The brand is also betting big on video content, as that is the preferred method of content consumption for younger consumers, according to Stinchcomb.