Go back in time and recall this morning – do you remember that ad banner embellishing the news website you saw while you were headed to work? Or do you recall which brand’s commercial aired while you were tuned in to a radio? Or which company’s ad played while you were waiting for your video to load? It is highly likely that you will struggle to identify the advertiser.
Even the marketing professionals barely give any heed to these messages, so how can we expect an average fella to do so?
That’s where something changed – storytelling found its way in digital marketing and turned the world upside down.
Gone are the days when digital marketing was all about focusing on peppering the audience with the same message time and time again until their catchphrases were drilled into their heads. Instead, marketers are now striving to offer exceptional customer experience, getting the audience to search for them, looking forward to seeing their recent creations.
The Basics of Storytelling
Storytelling triggers that part of the human brain, which is accountable for emotions. As consumers, those feelings influence the way we perceive a particular brand. Remember, you should never reduce your consumers to numbers on a spreadsheet. Go back to your roots as a storyteller and connect with your audience’s emotions. Make something so incredible that it propels the viewers to rush to their family and friends and ask them to check out this new brilliant ad.
Tell your audience about your brand, what it represents, and why it exists. Although your narrative will most probably be associated with your product, what really matters is getting your target audience to get a load of you. You should aim at getting the consumers to search for you eagerly by their own free will, instead of you pushing them to read, see or hear your message.
Many famous brands have got this right, and with just a little bit of tweaking, they have seen a vast improvement in their ad performance as well as overall sales.
Why Should We Tell Stories
From the most long-serving executive to the newest intern in an organization, each member can tell a story. But the question is, where does this immense love for stories arose?
There are endless reasons we tell stories – it can be to entertain, sell, engage, or educate the consumers. This is just a way for brands to share their stories with their audience.
For the sake of saving you some time, there are three primary reasons we would love to highlight here:
- Connecting with your target audience
Typically, customers think of a brand as an untouchable entity that leads the common people (aka any customer who doesn’t have a lush Swiss bank account). Therefore, companies generally turn out as unrelatable and foreign, hampering the efforts of marketers to make them appear trustworthy. However, storytelling helps the brands to tap into the feelings of their audience, encourage them to engage with their company, and establish an emotional relationship with them. Create a story around your brand to win over consumers!
- Simplifying intricate messages
How will you be able to grab a potential customer’s attention within a couple of seconds? Considering the short attention span people have these days and the kind of fast-paced world we live in, brands have a very small window of opportunity to convey their idea. Storytelling provides a way to ditch this roadblock and get your message across!
- Uniting people
People from different cultures and different parts of the world understand the basic concept of a hero, his hunt, and triumph. Stories are like a global language that develops a sense of community among all types of people. It’s like bringing different people together. Today customers want to see a brand genuinely caring for them and offering them value through their products and services.
What Makes a Good Story So Good?
The great, the bad, the worst – all these terms correspond to the audience’s opinion. In spite of that, there are a few non-negotiable components that together help in delivering a remarkable storytelling experience.
These characteristics make for a great story:
- Global: Every member in your audience should find all the characters relatable and be able to put themselves in their shoes as they continue trekking deeper into their hunt.
- Long-Lasting: The story should be certain to pass from one person to another and maybe from one generation to the other, be it because of the narrative’s characterizing humor, boldness, or pure emotions.
- Captivating: Your story should be able to keep the audience hooked to their seats, wondering, “what’s going to happen next?”
- Well-structured: It should communicate the clear-cut key message, helping the audience consume it.
The Process of Storytelling
Storytelling too is an art, and just like any other artist, storytellers also need to be skilled, creative, and do lots (literally lots) of practice. So, let’s dive into this magnificent storytelling process.
- Define your core message: Don’t just let your creativity run free with design ideas, lengths, and formats; first, you must define your key message. Just like before constructing a building, its foundation is laid; you also need to have clarity on what will hold your story up. Try to summarize the concept in 6-10 words. If you are not able to do so, then your core message is not clear yet.
- Know your target audience: Start by analyzing your data. Try to find out who would love to hear your narrative? How would they respond to your story’s core message? Research your target market, create your buyer personas, and display each narrative to the ideal audience group.
- Determine what story you will tell: Put your story together while bearing in mind how you want your audience to react. What’s your aim?
- Nurturing a sense of community: Make up a story that persuades the audience to share it with other people by utilizing relatable circumstances and characters.
- Communicating your brand values: This is especially important when promoting values that some of your audiences may not share or understand in the first place. Employ familiar characters and storylines to make it easy to show how your story is applicable to their personal experiences.
- Triggering action: Tell how the characters in your story accomplish a specific task successfully and how your audience might also do the same in real life.
- Pick the most effective medium: Storytelling can take various different forms – while few tales are read, few are heard and watched too. The medium you choose will most probably depend on your tale itself and also on the available resources (such as money and time). Some of the most famous storytelling mediums are:
- Written Stories: These are narrated via articles, blog posts, and other text-based content. Since all written stories need just a simple word processor (which is also available for free now with Google Docs), this is the most affordable medium.
- Visual Stories: These can be told through a wide variety of media ranging from videos to games and interactive stories.
- Oral Stories: These are usually narrated “live” and can be told in various forms, including podcasts, radio appearances, and live events. Since these are shared in person, these stories are defined by their unedited nature. However, oral storytellers require much more practice and skills to ensure they can pass on the right message and evoke an emotional reaction from the audience on the spot.
To increase the effectiveness of your storytelling, you can step up your game and ascertain your audience’s preferred social platforms where they generally like sharing their content and what type of content they like to engage with, and when they are most active on that particular platform. In addition to all this, you may also want to consider the devices most of your audience owns and uses in order to make the most out of your optimization efforts.
- Build your call-to-action: Think about what action you want your audience to take once they receive your message. What should they do next? Do you want them to purchase something or subscribe to your newsletter or make a donation?
- Promote your story: Don’t forget to share your story with the same efforts you poured in for its preparation. Remember that building your narrative means you are only halfway there – sharing it with your friends or colleagues over tea is great but is that the reason you made it? Is that all it deserves? Keep in mind – the more platforms you leverage to share your story, the more engagement you will receive.
Tips for Powerful Brand Storytelling
How many times has a post’s title captivated you, and the introductory paragraph got you hooked, but then you got annoyed because you found a dull mechanical example of apparent self-promotion? Don’t worry – this has happened to almost all of us and not just once.
For a lot of marketers, getting to know their audience might seem like the finish line. They wind up their campaign, persuaded that just being present on the particular platform where the majority of their target audience spends their most time is enough to get their customers walking off into the sunset with their company.
However, there is a bit more to add to spice up your dish before it’s ready to be served to the audience. For instance, discover how you can make your storytelling more effective and useful for the audience because clearly if they don’t get anything out of your narrative, why would they be even interested in engaging with it?
When to Use A/B Testing and Storytelling
All marketers wish to increase their conversions and use A/B Testing and personalization strategies to boost their results. Yet, most of them turn a blind eye on the opportunity to unite both these tools.
More and more marketers are now turning to A/B testing and Artificial Intelligence when building narratives for their company’s target audiences. AI is intelligent enough to ascertain each audience segment’s wants and needs while the A/B testing chips in to uncover an ideal substitute for each and every one. From a large-scale alteration on a website to a teeny-tiny detail on a web page, the use of this combination of tools is endless.
The rules will be the same for A/B testing when implemented to storytelling for digital marketing; always align its efforts with your brand’s goals. Step out of your comfort zone, enjoy the process, and experiment with things. Find out what messages and designs lead to more sales or conversions?
No matter how much or how efficiently your organization is accumulating the data, your results will always depend on how well you use it. Keep tabs on your audience even if you think you know them well enough because trends change, user behavior shifts, and different audience segments may respond differently to your messages.
Optimize your efforts using A/B testing to offer the best of the best customer experience to your audience, and you will reap greater rewards in the long run.
Big data has got things rolling in personalized messaging, and it is progressively becoming the standard in this new data-soaked world. The pace at which businesses are accumulating data is just unmatched. Despite all this, surprisingly, organizations are still struggling to fully realize the revolutionary window of opportunities that are now within their grip.
The marketing experts are well aware of the fact that developing exceptional personalized experiences depends upon the data and how you utilize it. All you have to do is take a look around yourself and observe the businesses that are already making the most out of personalized marketing. They are successfully offering individualized products, messages, and experiences to their customers.
Even today, marketers continue to invent new ways of leveraging this abundance of data this digital world has blessed us with, and there is still so much left to explore. All you need to do is be open to trying out new things, don’t be afraid to experiment, and most importantly, monitor your results closely.
It’s time to take your brand to the next level, and the answer is right in front of your eyes – embrace personalized storytelling!
Hariom Balhara is an inventive person who has been doing intensive research in particular topics and writing blogs and articles for E Global Soft Solutions. E Global Soft Solutions is a digital marketing, seo, smo, ppc and web development company that comes with massive experiences. We specialize in digital marketing, web designing and development, graphic design, and a lot more.