Key Tactics for More Effective Digital Storytelling

Lynn Bizri, May 10 2017

Most of today’s brands appreciate the importance of storytelling in this social, high-tech and content-driven era, understanding how inspirational stories can bring a brand to life and create a connection with people. Digital storytelling relies on collecting, creating and sharing compelling stories through a range of increasingly sophisticated tools, which help brands to create more visually and emotionally engaging content that impact larger audiences. By telling these compelling, humanized stories and understanding their audience(s) thoroughly, brands are putting people first and creating stronger and more meaningful bonds with their consumers. With so many tools and platforms available today, the storytelling opportunities are endless, yet there are specific tactics that ensure brands reach and engage their audiences better.

Tactic #1: Understand your Audience
To craft and deliver a successful, engaging and meaningful digital story experience, brands must first thoroughly understand who their target audiences are. This includes knowing their consumers’ habits, what they want or need, how they interact with the brand, what they say about it, how it affects their lives and how much they know about it. Since their digital story will resonate only with those who understand it or find it meaningful, brands need to know who they are addressing their story to, before anything else.

Thankfully, data makes it possible and easier to understand exactly what consumers really want or seek today, facilitating the personalization of stories in order to offer consumers an experience that is relevant and resonates with them. Using data to drive storytelling not only leads to better stories and content, but also enables brands to become better and more effective storytellers.

Tactic #2: Convey a Clear Message
Identifying a clear message or ‘morale of the story’ is critical to the success of digital storytelling campaign. It carries the image the brand wants to portray, the emotions it wants to instill and the information it wants to convey to its audience(s). Digital stories come in several different forms, from testimonies and interviews, to documentaries and drama, which should be chosen based on what the brand wishes to convey. When it comes to the message itself, less is more; the simpler the message, the easier it will be to convey and transmit within the story and the more relatable it will be. The message should give consumers a reason to pay attention, remain engaged and walk away with a deeper understanding of the brand.

Tactic #3: Show Your Brand’s Human Side
For a brand to connect with consumers, it must show its personal side. Digital storytelling allows brands to reveal their human side through sharing what their team members are doing, what they’re learning or even giving audience(s) a look behind the scenes. Brands can also humanize their message and story by creating characters that their audience can identify with and have an emotional response to. Emotions in digital storytelling are powerful because people tend to take action when they experience sentiments such as anger, empathy or happiness. The best examples of emotional storytelling are those associated with genuine emotional experiences to which the target audience can relate and that depict a vision of how the brand can positively enrich the lives of consumers.

Tactic #4: Embrace Technology
The vast changes that technology has brought about have affected not only the way brands interact with consumers, but also the way people get involved in the stories of their favorite brands. Therefore, marketers need to embrace technology and choose the form that best enriches the story they are trying to tell, in order to reach their audience on various platforms. Virtual reality, augmented reality, gesture control, multi-screen experiences and gamification are all great opportunities for digital storytelling. They allow brands to create interactive and immersive multimedia stories where users have the ability to control their experiences or even make choices as to how the story unfolds. Chosen wisely, technology gives marketers the opportunity to be innovative; change the way their stories are created, experienced and shared; and bring their content to life.

Tactic #5: Create a Cross-Channel Presence
While brands may have a specific platform in mind for their message, they must also think about how their story translates across channels. By sharing the story on the most inherent platform first, brands can guarantee their story is told in a natural and captivating way, before adding new layers to the story through different modes of communication. Consistency is always key and especially important as the voice, call to action and message should be coherent across all platforms.  Nevertheless, brands must choose platforms that make the most sense for their story content and not just add every platform imaginable. Once the different platforms have been chosen, each one can add a new perspective or distinctive angle to the story.

Stories of any form can educate, entertain, engage and inspire. They bring value to things, connect people with one another and transport audiences to another world. Through powerful storytelling, brands can not only change their status in the market but also communicate the values and visions that differentiate them. With the help of the advanced technology and digital tools available today, customers can be made to truly feel like they are a part of the brand story, across all platforms, channels and devices.

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