Since humans have walked the earth, storytelling has been used to spread information and make connections. It is uniquely capable of capturing attention and giving people something to relate to, and ultimately, it is a successful tool to drive engagement. That is why digital storytelling in marketing is so effective, because it pulls in customers and engages them in a way pure facts cannot.
Digital storytelling is particularly important for startups, which usually face the uphill battle of convincing customers to choose them over more established brands. How do they do that? A powerful story, one that convinces customers that they need whatever the company is offering.
What Is Digital Storytelling?
Digital storytelling, in the simplest terms, is the conveying of information to make a point using modern digital tools. It can include video, images, text, or audio, and it can exist on a variety of platforms, from a company’s website to the social media platforms usually used to advertise to a broad audience.
Moreover, storytelling is not limited to marketing efforts. Things like brand storytelling are equally important, and truly effective digital storytelling in marketing efforts weaves together perfectly with a brand’s core story.
“Digital storytelling is a great way to build trust and authenticity with your audience,” says Rudy Mawer, CEO of Mawer Capital, “a compelling story is a valuable asset for a brand’s marketing strategy and it can pay dividends for years to come.”
Ultimately, the goal is to design a story using facts and a crafted narrative that is engaging and emotionally compelling, which connects an audience to a brand and pushes them to act. In doing that, brands build trust and loyalty.
The Key Elements of Digital Storytelling
While every story is unique, certain elements are proven effective when used in digital storytelling. According to the Center for Digital Storytelling (CDS) in Berkeley, California, there are seven elements of digital storytelling that make for excellent points to consider. They include:
- Point of View: Good stories contain a touch of the creator’s point of view. In the case of digital storytelling in marketing, keeping a brand’s unique perspective in mind is the perfect way to set a story and approach apart from the rest.
- Dramatic Question: The question holds the audience’s attention, and ultimately, the answer serves as the payoff for following the story to the end. Perhaps it is simply a question of why they should choose one brand over another.
- Emotional Content: Emotion is the key to engaging an audience. Not only will it capture their attention, but it is how to get them to relate and take action.
- Storyteller’s Voice: Voice is not specific to the spoken word. It involves the language used, how things are constructed, and, yes, in the case of audio, the tone, pitch, and timber. It underscores the meaning of a story and plays a significant role in forming a connection.
- Pacing: Whether it is a long-form video or an image with a few lines of text, pacing is important. A brand can deliver a powerful message in a few words or tell a compelling story over an hour, but without the right pacing, the message can fall on deaf ears.
- Soundtrack: Audio conveys emotions and shifts the entire feeling of a piece of content. While it might not always fit a marketing campaign, it is undoubtedly a powerful storytelling tool.
- Economy: Do not overwhelm an audience. Too much information becomes a negative, especially when it comes to digital storytelling in marketing. The goal is to deliver the most impact in as short and manageable a chunk as possible.
Every marketing campaign is different, and applying all of the key elements is not mandatory. However, when there is a chance to utilize digital storytelling in marketing, keeping these elements in mind can elevate a decent piece of content into something special.
Benefits of Using Digital Storytelling in Marketing
There is more to using digital storytelling in marketing than being trendy. It is true that it has been gaining traction over the years, but there are reasons for that. Here are a few of the ways digital storytelling is useful in marketing:
- Humanizes the brand
- Generates highly shareable content
- Builds lasting trust and loyalty
- Increases engagement
- Improves brand reputation
Customers crave a personal connection, and they want to believe that their decision to purchase from one brand over another has a real meaning, which goes hand-in-hand with the rise in responsible consumerism. The identity of a brand and what it stands for is more important than ever, and companies that do not convey that risk being left behind.
Digital storytelling in marketing is also a great way to build trust with an audience. When a customer feels a connection and relates to a story or brand, they are more likely to believe a brand has their best interests in mind. In turn, brands gain their trust and loyalty, far more so than with an impersonal fact-based piece of marketing.
Another benefit of digital storytelling is that it improves the odds of customers remembering the content, its message, and the brand. Mainly, that is because people tend to remember what they feel a connection to, but it is also because stories simplify complex concepts into something more basic: how it benefits the customers.
These are only a few ways using digital storytelling in marketing is beneficial. Still not sure? Just take a look at how many companies use stories to deliver their message and connect with audiences all over the world.