Storybuilding is the Future

Bart_Given_Web101 Bart Given, Managing Director & Chief Innovator

For those of you who attended IEG earlier this year, or have been following the TORQUE Strategies Twitter feed – you may have noticed our team talking about the concept of Storybuilding™.

We’ve been having fun with the “new” idea, and went as far as to title my session in Chicago – “Storytelling is so 2013. Storybuilding is the Future.” The title was meant to invoke thought and perhaps cause a few raised eyebrows.

Storytelling is not dead. And quite frankly, as much as the industry continues to opine on the diminishing return on media evaluations and measuring Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPMs) – logo placement isn’t dead either. It just shouldn’t be the primary tool for building sponsorships – nor the primary metric for measuring impact. CPMs are a commodity and, in this digital age, can be purchased elsewhere much cheaper.

Conversely, the concept and action of Storybuilding should absolutely be at the core of a corporate brand’s decision to partner with a property through sponsorship.

We describe Storybuilding as a process of putting your audience at the centre of your brand story, empowering your brand to leverage consumer passion, loyalty and ritual. When delivered authentically, (this is where sponsorship comes in…) you connect with the consumer at a more meaningful level – moving them emotionally so they feel connected to your brand. Your audience then becomes the co-author of your brand story – as opposed to a customer being sold a product.


Storybuilding as a lone concept or deliverable can be quite intimidating, but if you use this illustration as a guide – you can see Storybuilding can be viewed as the result of effectively leveraging Brand Recognition, Storytelling and Engagement in a sponsorship.

Using a much ballyhooed campaign as an example, think about P&G and their Thank You Mom creative built to activate the partnership with the Olympic Games.

P&G leveraged the “Five Rings” to elevate Recognition of the parent brand, created a campaign rich with Storytelling angles, Engaged Moms by providing the opportunity to travel to the Olympics to watch their athletes perform and resulted in kids and moms all over the world sharing memories broadly. Consumers helped build the P&G brand because we connect at an emotional level to their effective approach to leveraging sponsorship.

P&G “owns” the Moms story and we, as consumers, helped solidify their position.

That’s just one example of the concept of Storybuilding – do you have any others?

In the coming days I will follow-up with another example or two and “6 Steps to Storybuilding.”