Infographic: What’s Changed, and What Hasn’t, in 100 Years of Brand Storytelling

Everything old is new again

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Much has been made about how modern communication—even as it accelerates exponentially—is returning in some ways to more simple, even primitive forms.

Paul Adams, at the time the global head of brand design at Facebook, put it succinctly at Cannes in 2012 when he said the social web mimics pre-industrial times. Information moves much more quickly now (back then it moved only as fast as people), but in knowing what information to trust, it's once again all about personal relationships and word of mouth.

Brand marketers, who once ruled mass communication through expensive one-way channels, have been adjusting to this back-to-the-future reality, of course. And as the infographic below suggests, brand storytelling has come full circle as a result. It's no surprise, then, that word of mouth bookends the 100 years that Kirsty Sharman covers in it.

Sharman goes a step further, though, and suggests a kind of mirroring of decades over those 100 years. That's a fanciful conceit, but it's interesting how well it matches up here and there.

"The Internet allowed us to combine a mass medium with a community like culture," Sharman writes. "The development of social networks, blogs, Google search and IM platforms has brought our marketing strategies 360 degrees. Back to a place where peer-to-peer communication is what we crave, and brand stories that relate to our niche audiences are the only ones we chose to consume."

Check out the full infographic below. Click to enlarge.

Top photo via Flickr.

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.