In this deeply fragmented media world, one thing remains true: audiences respond to dynamic storytelling. That’s why at A+E Networks, we’re building cultural brands fueled by powerful stories.
These are stories that spark daily conversations, blow people’s minds and make them punch the air. Stories that leave people talking, thinking and feeling. And the resulting conversations about these stories have the power to unite people long after their screens go dark.
To truly connect with your audience in today’s chaotic and diluted landscape, you must use more creativity, more understanding and more focus. You must tell better, more compelling stories to grab viewer attention in a world exploding with choices, connections and opportunities.
While there is no shortage of screens and impressions, there is a shortage of high-value connection points between brands and audiences. At A+E, we believe it’s our job to no longer push out or interrupt but to create effective and relevant engagement.
The first significant shift at A+E was to redefine our mind-set and remember that we are not “just” in the television business, we are in the storytelling business. What we often don’t think about is that the more complex and technological everyday life becomes, the more human brands need to be.
For all of the impact that the explosion in technology and choice has had on audiences, the one thing that hasn’t fundamentally changed is people: they still love and want to be loved, they still worry about the future, and they still get up every day hoping that today will be better than yesterday.
Since the dawn of time, stories have been the mechanism we have used to make sense of the world around us. To play out our hopes, our fears, to carry us off to places we could never otherwise go, to fuel our curiosity or lift our hearts, or just to daydream.
While everyone is talking about stories, it’s up to brands to define their role and the kind of storyteller they want to be. For A+E, at a portfolio level, it has been about committing to a strategy around the tagline “Life Magnified,” emphasizing that our role as artists and storytellers is to look, to see, to find, to illuminate and to magnify the parts of life about which audiences most care.
That means magnifying stories of human endeavor, much like we see in A&E’s Leah Remini: Scientology And The Aftermath, or Live PD, which follows local police forces in real time on Friday nights. History’s Forged in Fire or Lifetime’s Little Women tell us stories that are deep, meaningful and, above all, unique.
Lifetime, in particular, is working to enforce the belief that every woman and girl has the right to be whoever and whatever she wants; a belief that’s important now more than ever. We’re speaking authentically to audiences across a multitude of verticals, including our recently launched series on Facebook, Bae or Bail, from our in-house digital storytelling hub 45th & Dean. Bae or Bail garnered more than 24 million viewers in its first week.
Being a cultural brand is about understanding that buried in the shadows or hiding in the plain sight of everyday life, there are remarkable people and stories all around us. We just have to be brave enough to get closer to the heart of a story in order to create authentic moments of truth. It’s our belief at A+E Networks that creating and sharing these real and raw stories will ultimately bring us closer to our audiences.
Amanda Hill is Chief Marketing Officer of A+E Networks.