New Microsoft CEO – a brand storytelling win

New Microsoft CEO – a brand storytelling win





New Microsoft CEO – a brand storytelling win


Tony Hallett
Managing director

Tony set up Collective Content in 2011 so brands can more easily become publishers and tell stories. This built on 15 years in media, from reporter to publishing director at Silicon Media Group, CNET Networks and CBS Interactive.

Everyone knows Microsoft has a new CEO, Satya Nadella. But what does everyone know about him?

Over the past few days quite a few people have been spreading a link – about his first interview since becoming CEO. (There is plenty of other material about him before his promotion.)

Nadella YouTube clipWho got the scoop? Technology media? Business media like a Bloomberg, CNBC or Economist? How about even the company’s hometown newspaper, the Seattle Post Intelligencer?

If you’ve clicked through to the first link on YouTube (owned by Google – you knew that), you’ll see Nadella spent almost five minutes walking and talking to Steve Clayton, who edits Microsoft’s own Next at Microsoft blog.

If you look at Clayton’s bio on LinkedIn you’ll see he says he is Chief Storyteller at Microsoft. If you’ve heard of him before this week, it might well be because he was behind the admired 88 Acres story of how Microsoft developed its smart campus.

I’m guessing there was a light bulb moment there about the power of brand storytelling over alternative routes such as PR.

What does this mean for the rest of the media? Can every company do the same thing?

The rest of the media won’t be happy with this but it’s also not the end of the world. When Nadella speaks beyond the Redmond campus he will face harder questions. That’s as it should be. But the era of this kind of announcement happening at a packed press conference or put out in a drab press release to everyone is over.

Nor can just any company do this. Microsoft is one of a few hundred companies globally where huge numbers of people care about what they do.

But while other companies are less newsworthy, for want of a better term, they will increasingly migrate to telling their own stories, with their own voice, in a way that resembles the media we’ve grown up with – plus a few twists that social media allows.

For a lot of information, their readers and viewers – who are also their customers and prospects – will be more than happy to hear it first from the horse’s mouth. On other matters, we still demand independent outsiders.
Perhaps the biggest question then becomes what happens when these brand storytellers start to report on each other. More on that soon.

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