The most recent episode of Girls, or a new Kate Spade ad?  The latest ad-volution reflects a new game plan for some brands: abandon the 30 second spot in favor of long-form video content, which prioritizes user entertainment and incorporates subtle brand placement throughout.

Kate Spade has championed this ad strategy with its #MissAdventure series (shown above), with other brands such as  Chanel and Purina taking similar cues from the TV playbook. Kate Beech, the CMO of Kate Spade, noted of the series, “It is all about entertainment over an advertisement—we really want to create engaging content that people just want to watch like a TV series.”

Kate Spade’s ads reflect an industry-wide shift towards making engaging content that draws customers in, rather than begging them to click. This programming structure aims to emulate the type of habitual behavior associated with loyalty to television shows. The efficacy of this approach is evident in Kate Spade’s ad success, as Beech also commented that viewing goes up exponentially with each new video release.

On the surface, the combined strategy of long-form video, storytelling and celebrity influencers can appear to revive the human connection that’s lost online. However, the value of long-form content isn’t necessarily within the structure itself, but rather within the opportunity the structure provides for a brand to tell it’s story. What’s more, we have good news: when it comes to building a brand’s story, your own customers can tell the story for you.

The mutual creation of content by brands and customers, also known as “co-developed content”,  is among the most engaging brand narrative possible. As your customers turn to social media to show real-time examples of their brand use as it’s actually happening, this yields a form of in-the-moment marketing that can be more authentic than branded video content.

None of your customers can help build your narrative more effectively than your own existing influential customers, known as micro-influencers. While a brand may deliver marginal impact by telling its own story, a micro-influencer can drive measurable impact by sharing their own personalized brand story with their friends. When your micro-influencers create posts for you, they’re showing how your brand plays a role in their own life stories, which lends a human touch that is unparalleled.

When it comes to building your brand’s story, your own customers tell the story best. By activating your micro-influencers at the exact moment that they experience your brand, these customers become a narrative tool for you to tap into, helping build the human storyline that gives your brand a stronger and more personalized appeal to future customers. Not only can you use your micro-influencers to help create your brand story, but these posts can also deliver valuable data and insight into what your customers love about your brand.

To learn more about how to discover and activate your micro-influencers to help create your brand story, check out out our “7 Steps to Achieving Influencer Marketing Automation at Scale.”