This Week’s Top Storytellers: New York Magazine, Marvel

Each week, Pilot brings you a roundup of the best—and occasionally the worst—examples of brand storytelling in the business. Here are our top picks this week from around the world:

New York Magazine shows us what it means to be “channel agnostic”

How do you direct readers to a news story when you no longer have a website? New York Magazine found out the hard way this week after hackers crashed the magazine’s website, preventing it from releasing portraits of 35 women who have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault. Undaunted, New York Magazine posted the full article on Tumblr and released the portraits one-by-one on Instagram with audio interview excerpts. At Pilot, we consider ourselves channel agnostic – we design content that’s adaptable to a variety of mediums. Kudos to NYM for showing everyone one critical reason why that matters.

The business insight that helped Marvel conquer the universe

Marvel Comics has an important story design lesson for you: Don’t just build a brand; build a brand ecosystem. Here, Canadian Business explains how Marvel’s interconnected network of products, promotions and intellectual property have led to unimagined levels of profit, brand loyalty and, even, innovation.  In Marvel’s approach, “you can see the same forces that give Apple Music an advantage over Spotify and Microsoft’s Yammer the means to beat Slack,” says writer James Cowan. “Marvel doesn’t just own a fictional universe—it owns an ecosystem.”

Twitter’s controversial and poorly timed frat party

After being slapped with a lawsuit for gender discrimination, Twitter’s revenue team decided to throw a frat party. Well, a frat-themed party. All the same, the timing and optics, especially against the backdrop of an already male-dominated Silicon Valley, has brought the company under fire for failing to make diversity a priority. Twitter will no doubt learn that the meaning of every action, whether internal or public-facing, is layered by context and audience perception. Surely other Silicon Valley tech-giants will take notice. We’d bet a six pack of beer on it.