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Harnessing the Power of Digital Storytelling: Innovative Strategies for Brands

Have you heard marketers talk about using informal ways to advertise their services and products? Probably one that depends on creative narratives rather than line-by-line scripts? It’s known as brand storytelling and its popularity is significantly rising.

Digital storytelling addresses the needs of a tech-driven society in which the audience cuts through the fluff and wants to receive information quickly. With the evolving digital sector, public relations experts and digital marketers are embracing digital storytelling to promote their offerings.

 

Why digital storytelling is becoming a new norm in digital marketing

 

1.      It gives the content a more personal/human touch

Digital storytelling creates personal connections as they’re relatable. For instance, would you rather purchase a logo or the actual person behind the business? Of course, the latter. Because you want to understand who you’re buying from, what their philosophy is, what their values are, and ultimately where your money will go.

Similarly, story-based copy gives the brand human attributes and values which makes it more relatable and approachable. In the end, your offering was created to help customers and audiences buy from brands they feel supported by.

 

2.      Helps develop an emotional connection with the audience

The importance of digital storytelling is that it makes your audience care. By giving your customers a savior they can relate to, you’re actually putting them in that hero’s shoes. Remember Karl? The Adidas commercial’s hero isn’t only for retirees – it’s for everyone who’s feeling stuck in their mundane life and seeking freedom and adventure. Audiences feel that buying a pair of Adidas shoes will help them escape their boring routine lives and get that sense of fun and freedom.

 

3.      Helps build a robust brand personality

Every brand has specific characteristics and values that the audience resonates with. A brand personality means “who” the audience is speaking with and depends on various elements including website, messaging, visuals, and views on major topics.

In fact, according to Edelman’s study, 64% of customers worldwide mentioned they’d boycott a brand or purchase from it because of a political or social position. Therefore, a brand must weave in its viewpoints, be authentic, and mention why that matters in its digital storytelling process. This helps businesses why shine through and grab the customers’ attention to be connected to a bigger purpose.

Moreover, highlighting business values and taking bold stances are all part of what makes the brand story appealing and unique to the community. A persuasive story can help brands stand out in their industry and be like a companion and less than just another organization.

 

How to effectively use digital storytelling to thrive in 2024

 

·         Add structure to the story

Stories have a different structure that depends on the existence of developed characters, situations that put them in conflict, and sufficient attention to pacing and rhythm. Branded stories should be no different. Digital marketers must consider conventional story elements when writing, such as the dynamics of conflict, the nature of the characters, the “voice” of the piece, and eventual resolution. 

 

·         Begin with curating news stories

If you’re still unsure where to begin, content curation is a great starting point. You can invite community members to share personal stories and how your offerings have changed their lives.

For instance, a deodorant company Lume, showcases how their product impacted a little girl’s life who had a rare disorder named propionic acidemia. The disorder causes her body not to break down proteins correctly and could result in brain damage or organ failure. Unfortunately, a side effect of her medication was a bizarre smell. While doctors couldn’t do anything, Lume provided her with a solution that transformed her life.

Therefore, user stories are an effective item to showcase, but there’s no limitation in stories that your potential customers may be interested in as well. You should also consider showcasing news articles relevant to your target industry. Curating news stories will offer your brand a chance to highlight expert opinions and build credibility with the audience.

 

·         Feature a relatable hero

Your potential customers will only relate to your digital story if the main character is someone they can resonate with. If you’re unable to get them to empathize with that character, they will never step in their shoes, and ultimately, won’t care about the story.

Your digital story is as good as the hero’s relatability. Therefore, be sure to spend sufficient time researching your ideal customer persona – their motivations, likes, dislikes, pain points, and aspirations, so you can condense all attributes into the story’s hero and create one that the target customers instantly connect with.

 

·         Add facts and figures to your story

This may sound unreasonable however, using digital storytelling to spread your message across doesn’t mean that you can entirely ignore hard facts. Digital storytelling only refers to sharing that research with the target customers with a narrative. And not a numbered or bullet-point list of facts and figures that they can read on the internet. This makes the proposition way more persuasive.

Furthermore, depending on facts and figures isn’t such a bad idea since you’ve already got the audience hooked, and once they trust that your claims are supported by actual data and research, they’ll only be further enticed into giving your offerings a chance.

BONUS: Here’s an ultimate guide for you to build a marketing foundation the right way!

 

The key takeaway – Know when the starts getting boring

Consider TV shows. Not all popular shows have had a satisfying conclusion. For instance, Arrested Development, Dexter, Scrubs, or even Game of Thrones. These shows are all known for setting high expectations initially and disappointing their die-hard fans afterward with their unimaginative endings.

The reason – the writers had a solid plotline when they started, however; they didn’t know when to end up dragging the story. The same happens with digital storytelling. If you are too pushy or don’t notice the signs of fatigue, your story is most likely to disappoint.

Therefore, start observing whether your marketing narrative is grabbing the target audience’s attention as it did when you started. Analyze data to determine if visitors have begun bouncing off your website. The key is to spend sufficient time reassessing and reevaluating your digital story once you have launched it to the public. This way you can understand when it’s time to end. A story dragged way too long, is a digital marketing conversion lost!

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