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Georgia-Pacific champions 'story orchestrators'

News, 10 November 2016

ORLANDO, FL: Georgia-Pacific, the paper and household products group, is looking for marketers to become "story orchestrators", rather than simply acting as "warriors" and "scientists".

Douwe Bergsma, chief marketing officer at Georgia-Pacific, discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2016 Masters of Marketing Conference.

More specifically, he suggested that to engage consumers at a time of burgeoning options – in terms of retail channels, technology, types of media, and so on – would require a major shift in thinking.

"It's about meaning and connection … It's about complexity and emotion. And it's about a shared sense of purpose. So on top of being warriors and scientists, we believe that we have to become story orchestrators," he said. (For more, read Warc's exclusive report: Georgia-Pacific's formula for telling impactful stories.)

These stories, for Bergsma, must be based on "story frameworks" that anchor and inform the communications which brands put into market.

Such frameworks, he continued, should be premised on an underlying human truth shared between a product and its customers, be embodied by a clear purpose, and embrace a degree of conflict.

This latter idea is effectively epitomised by Brawny's "Tough and Gentle" positioning and Angel Soft's "Be Soft, Be Strong" tagline.

It has also been translated into communications that extend from celebrating International Women's Day to championing single mothers, step-parents and fathers working in the US to support their families overseas.

These emotion-fuelled programs move well beyond traditional attempts to highlight the functional benefits of products, or claims about the superiority of a given brand compared with a competitor.

On the one hand, these messages often come from a focus on "war" metaphors among executives. "We learned that we're actually pretty good at the metaphor of war: It's all about power and winning ... strategy and operations, and being effective," Bergsma said.

And on the other, they result from a rational, "scientific" impulse. "It's all about knowledge and control. Think about your research, your experiments, your hypotheses. It's about measurement, and certainty, and predictability," he added.

Data sourced from Warc