NEW YORK: Burger King, the quick-service restaurant chain, is using "storymaking" - an approach based on participating in existing digital conversations rather than starting new ones - in a bid to engage consumers.

Eric Hirschhorn, the firm's chief marketing officer, discussed this topic at Advertising Age's Digital Conference 2015.

"We talk a lot about storymaking at Burger King. And we talk about these two key principles," he said. (For more, including an example involving Chicken Fries, read Warc's exclusive report: Burger King's recipe for "storymaking".)

The first of these guidelines draws on the notion that it is more difficult to get consumers interested in a brand's story than to facilitate and amplify conversations that have emerged organically.

"We love this idea that the science of storymaking is subject to the same laws of inertia that any other physical object is subject to in the real world," said Hirschhorn.

"It takes great energy to create forward momentum and great counter-energy to stop something that's already moving. And I think that's really true for conversations across social, and wherever it might be."

Given the number of branded hashtags that disappear without trace, or which result in companies receiving ridicule, this approach is also safer for marketers.

"We actually find it to be much more efficient, and less risky as a brand, to insert ourselves into a conversation that already exists, where relevant to our audience and to our guests as our restaurants," Hirschhorn said.

The second principle supporting Burger King's storymaking strategy similarly requires thinking differently about effectively reaching its target customer.

"All great ideas today need to be great media ideas. And that creativity is the business tool that we - collectively, as an industry - chose to use to drive whatever business we are involved in," he said.

"So, all great ideas need to be rooted in a great media idea, where creativity is applied as an amplifier and a multiplier effect on top of that media idea. And then we use our various distribution channels to help us drive our business."

Data sourced from Warc