Brand Storytelling As The New Age Strategy In Marketing

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Brand Storytelling

Even before the digital era, advertisers trusted in narratives to hook people’s attention to their products/services or brand.

But it was nothing like how the digital marketers of the new age contemplated.

Newspapers and other old mediums had a restriction on creative outflow.

If you keep the creative medium aside, ‘Storytelling’ existed in our society as long as Homo sapiens started to live in groups.

So far, only human beings can narrate things that they haven’t heard, seen or touched.

Yes, our mind is imaginative and any story that rekindles the curiosity within us will remain special for the rest of our life.

If you were lucky enough to grow up in an era when Apple was just a fruit or Safari meant travelling, then for once in your lifetime you would have cut a piece of advertisement from a local daily or a magazine and saved it in your scrapbook because of its unique attractiveness.  

Those days, advertisement tagline and content played the vital role in creativity, but today with more advanced integrated technology; image, video, content, audio, graphics and other creative elements as a whole get to play equal role in bringing enhanced creative outputs.

The scope of brand storytelling has expanded and is the best new age marketing strategy to entwine emotions with ideas.  

This blog is an all encompassing read about Brand Storytelling

BRAND STORYTELLING IS WHAT POETRY IS TO THE SOUL

While advertisements introduces products and services to a prospect, brand storytelling is intended to create an emotional connect through giving away the genuine story of a brand.

Storytelling is nothing but a genuine narration of a sequential set of events that occurred in a specific direction.

By doing so, a brand can bring its customers and associates closer. First, because there is an authenticity in storytelling compared to the paid and promotional stunts.

Secondly, it is a powerful tool to create emotional connections and is backed by science.

A report published in Quantified Communication suggests that ideas or messages delivered in the form of storytelling are 22 times more memorable than just giving the same message in the form of facts and news.

Let us look back into our memory lane. Remember, how we learned the alphabets, planet names and even multiplication charts with the help of music and stories?

Learning in the form of stories and songs helps children to understand the complex concepts easier. The same logic goes to Brand Storytelling.  It unleashes the power to influence, engage, teach and inspire the listeners, viewers or the readers.

In a 2017 Harvard Business article written by Lani Peterson, she explains on how scientists discovered the chemical release of Oxytocin, Cortisol and Dopamine in a person’s brain who listens to a compelling story.

These are the ever famous happy hormones that would evoke positive feelings in the brain. This is what listening to a story does to our brain and imagine what this means for brands. When a prospect is convinced and happy, faster will be the rate of sales conversions.  

Top business leaders have already perceived the impact of storytelling over data sharing. What do you think is the reason behind Amazon CEO and Founder Jeff Bezos ban on PowerPoint presentation during all of his executive meetings?  Yes, listening carefully to someone is different from boringly staring at the pointers mentioned in the slides, agree?

REASONS FOR BRAND STORYTELLING

If you consult various brand marketers asking for the right approaches and reasons for brand storytelling, each of them will have a varied answer. However, there are certain common reasons on why brands decide to tell their unique story. Here are the major ones.

  • Popularize the journey of a brand

When a brand decides to tell the world about the reason behind its existence, its journey and intentions; there is no better way than doing it through storytelling.

Well, storytelling can be humorous, moralistic, entertaining, inspirational or in any other creative form.

In whichever way a brand chooses to tell the story, emotional impact is what needs to be concentrated on.

For Instance; Google is known for its emotional ads that get millions of shares within minutes of its posting.

One such memorable ad is Google’s ‘Parisian Love’. The entire video shows the search history of the protagonist of how he looks for an opportunity to study abroad, then his searches on dating someone and then about starting a family. The best part is the protagonist’s face is not shown even for once in the entire video. Till date, it is one of the best examples of a creative brand storytelling video. (Credit: https://www.google.com/)

  • Sharing Customer Experiences

 People would always want to know the experiences of others on availing a service or opinion about a brand, before they themselves make a purchase decision.

Brands, world over perceive testimonials and customer videos as an important tool to guarantee their prospects on reliability, quality and authenticity.

Well, testimonial video in the form of storytelling has a bigger impact on the viewers. Here, storytelling is not just about stating pros of a brand.

It is about explaining how a client’s problems got its right solution, the challenges faced and everything that will satiate a future customer’s intention behind watching the testimonial video.

 Through the narration, they will get to know if their issue will get resolved on approaching this particular brand of the video they are watching or will they get the right products or services on approaching the business.

  • Feature story about a new product or a service 

Almost all the advertisements one come across in the TV channels and internet are intended to feature a new product or a service.  A story based on a product or service should be truly unique for people to notice amongst the tight competition.

There are many techniques which the advertisers use for faster recognition. One such technique is ‘affective condition’.

This is a conscious effort to show a product together with a factor that the people feel positive about.

For instance, if the product you are selling is a chocolate, what other elements would you associate it with? Children, lovers, festivals, etc., isn’t it?

So, creativity plays behemoth role in bringing out a strong brand storytelling strategy.  

THE ELEMENTS OF A GREAT BRAND STORYTELLING STRATEGY

Authenticity and Consistency: A story should have an interesting beginning, an explanatory middle and an impactful ending.

Consistency of the idea throughout the content is also crucial.  If the story is about the journey of a brand; it should be a narrative of the visions and mission of the brand, the sum up of the journey, how the brand offering is different from its other competitors, etc. 

Authenticity also matters in a good storytelling strategy. These days’ consumers are smarter to differentiate paid marketing stunts from genuine reliable brand efforts.

Target the Right Audience: Know the audience first before deciding the narrative flow. The narrative should include content and other creative elements that would generate genuine interest in a targeted person.

The research to understand the audience is a time consuming process. A detailed study of demographics, understanding the issues people are trying to solve on deciding to buy your product or by availing your service to everything related to target audience will be an added resource.

One cannot skip this research process in order to create a stunningly acceptable brand story.

Sufficiently Supplement Content with Data:  Somehow, people have the tendency to believe statistics more than plainly written content. Take this trust factor to the next level by converting statistics to a story.

For example, if you want to say 3,900 tigers remain in the world and they are on the verge of extinction. Start with the ending. Narrate what will happen if tigers are wiped out of the earth? Use active voice to convey the importance of the situation and then give the statistics.

Get Personal:  Creative execution of a brand storytelling should have elements that people can associate with. Story threads taken from real life scenarios, motivational incidences, winning over a challenging situation; all of these can yield faster responses from the audience.  

The story one create should be for an immediate call to action and this is possible only through getting personal in executing the story. Whether it is a video, an audio or a print story; a personal story that everyone can relate will be accepted faster leading to better brand recognition.

Brand Storytelling

WRONG BRAND STORYTELLING MOVES

  • Portraying your brand always as a hero is a stale idea. Meanwhile, the story thread should be based on the offerings of your brand and how it can help people solve their issues or bring value additions in their life.

Customer accomplishments should underpin other points in a good storytelling strategy.

  • By keeping audience in mind, give them ideas only of what they can accept as a society. What a modern society would readily accept won’t be welcomed by conservative societies.

So there is nothing wrong in having 2 versions of your brand story.

As an example, you can Google up for the Jawed Habib’s print ad published in 2017 featuring Hindu Goddess Durga and 4 children taking a spa day break at Habib’s beauty parlor.

This ad created huge opposition from Hindu fanatics and they considered it as blasphemy rather than as a creative work.

So, when you pick up religion, gender and politics, be cautious. If possible, it is better to avoid storylines that touch controversial subjects.     

  • Shallow ending of a story is unsatisfactory. What is the point of ending a story on an unappealing note, for example, ‘The brand offer semi-automatic washing machine at a low cost’ – isn’t this a boring end? Instead, take the risk and make the endings interesting.
  • Lack of structure. Cramming the story line with too many plots, characters and ideas is definitely a wrong brand storytelling move. Unlike a book or a movie; brand storytelling uses small video timeslots, limited print spaces etc. as the medium.

So, here, bringing simplicity yet creating a powerful message is truly challenging. Structuring of the story also matters. Tie the loose ends and make the creative execution, keeping in mind the objective of the storytelling.

THE CLOSING

Not everyone is a good storyteller. But it is a skill that one can pick up with efforts and determination. A brand storytelling project has 3 major parts – a great script, creative execution using cutting-edge tools and deciding on publishing platforms. If you think it is a costly affair and is meant only for big organizations, it’s a false thought. Marketing experts at Ossisto can create robust brand storytelling strategies for any budget.

On a lighter note, memories of human beings are story based. People retrieve Information mostly in an episodic manner. Understanding this basic psychology, Ossisto experts help brands create stories that will leave lasting impressions.

However, the actual reason behind telling a brand story totally depends on you. It is the unique identity of your organization that makes a great story thread and a creator can only build a story around this USP. This is the new age brand storytelling strategy in marketing.                       

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