Before the internet or television, there was radio. Before radio, there were books, and before books there were storytellers. The power of a well-told tale, which has been recited to people from generation has formed society, the beginning of cultures that have lasted even to the present day. No matter what the medium- clay tablets, pamphlets, social media- the story is central. A good story stays with people and compels them to share it with others. Everyone loves to hear success stories. It aligns with word to word marketing.
How do Stories Work?
Stories inspire action and also connect emotionally and build a reputation. Marketing is all about building relationships. People build connections by passing and sharing their thoughts.
Our hearts connect to stories, our brains are wired for stories and our ears want to listen to stories. We want our stories to be heard because our expectations are stories, our complaints are stories and the biggest burden on our minds and hearts are our untold stories.
How do stories integrate?
Storytelling is a powerful integrator of logic with emotions and education with entertainment. To understand the holistic power of storytelling, let us see the different components it integrates:
- Online and offline brand
- Social media with other’s interest
- Edutainment or education with entertainment
- Emotions with logic
- People with the business brand
Why Stories for Organisation Branding?
The paradox is that usually, organisations are interested in the organisation and product branding, while people are usually keener on reading about people. Storytelling helps in resolving this paradox, as the story of an entrepreneur/ team can be integrated with the story of an organisation.
Stories stay in our mind or memory and also help us attract more customers. Anecdotes are a powerful tool for sharing your successes and provide meaningful content to the audience at the same time, they help in forming connections and building relationships and trust which in turn may lead to collaborations or leads for the business.
Why stories for People Branding?
Brands are built by consistent communication of the attributes in an interesting way and storytelling meets all these conditions. Branding is also about staying on top of the mind and becoming memorable for the right qualities.
Is storytelling equally powerful for B2B?
To answer this question, here is one example of the global branding of Philips. When Philips wanted to rebrand itself from B2B to a B2C company, it realised that digital storytelling would be the best tool. The company realised that 30 seconds on TV would not be sufficient to convey the message and came up with a series of digital documentation to tell an authentic story about the impact and innovations were having on people’s lives. Combining the rational with the emotional became a winning formula for Philips and created the desired connection with the B2B audience. Since the stories were in the customers’ own words, they became all the more compelling.
Emotions and Empathy Are Powerful Connectors
Google created a powerful story for its Google Search feature recently. Based on the Indian-Pakistan partition, the theme of a YouTube video was, “Partitions divide countries, and friendships find away.” The background is the 1947 partition of India which has separated many friends and families overnight. A grandfather has a huge surprise on his birthday as his grand-daughter decides to reunite him with his childhood friend after over decades of separation. Though the reunion is the pivot of the story, it is Google search which comes in handy for the reunion. The global popularity of the video can be gauged from the fact that it crossed over 12 million views in a short period.
IMPACT + INTERACTIVITY = UNBEATBALE COMBO
Digital storytelling is becoming all the more powerful as new technology such as facial recognition, augmented reality, geolocation, motion sensors, data visualization etc. are added every day.
The intersection of films, games and the internet can also add to the impact of the story. When the photographs, sound, video clips, interviews, music and narration come together, they truly immerse the viewer in a multimedia world.
Engaging at a deeper level
Being very expensive, mass media can often pose a challenge in deeper engagement with the viewer. Digital storytelling can come to the rescue of the marketer here. Mark Stephenson, Head of Brand Communications and Digital for Philips North America says,” We looked at what we are doing as a company and what we’re offering in terms of our solutions, and it’s a complex story. We looked at the advances om the digital story and said, “Hey, this is an opportunity to engage this audience at a deeper level.”
Great storytelling is like sculpting. To create great status, you have to cut the flab, sharpen the crucial points and keep refining the nuances. To create meaningful stories, marketers first need to introspect and research upon “what is it that our company or organisation brings to its audience.” And based on the findings, coupled with intuition, they can authentically tell the story and born forever with the customers and prospects.