Storytelling will only be effective for brands that live and form part of their story, just telling them is no longer enough.

  • It comes as no surprise that humans love being transported and engaged, although once thought of as a passing trend in advertising, storytelling remains as the ultimate crowd-pleaser.
  • Storytelling has been around for centuries, continuously evolving, and any brand that wants to stay in the eye of the consumer needs to integrate this into their marketing strategy.
  • A brand whose content is driven by storytelling will see improved engagement and reach, with 83% of marketers commenting that video as a form of storytelling gives them a better ROI.

92% of consumers want brands to make their advertisements feel like a story, One Story.

Storytelling is an art form that dates back centuries and has a place in all cultures and societies because they can be understood and interpreted by everyone, regardless of home, heritage, or dialect. The enduring power of storytelling is why writers and poets have gone down in history and why directors and actors are admired today. Anyone who tells a story today is sharing a journey with others, they can stimulate emotion and imagination while creating a greater sense of community between tellers and listeners.

“[Consumers] want to grasp your values and your commitment to excellence; be inspired and intrigued. Storytelling is the most powerful way to convey these ideas.” Mark Truby, CCO, Ford.

All brands have a story to tell that will represent their values and purpose, and hopefully set them apart from competitors. Even though storytelling is crucial for a brand to remain relevant and stay in competition with other brands, it is still adding to the already excessive amount of information consumers are exposed to and need to decipher before deciding on a brand, product, or service.

Although storytelling is intrinsic to humans and makes up 65% of all conversations had in public, just telling a story alone will not resonate with consumers as it did many years ago. It has evolved and consumers today are connected 24/7 so not only do they know more, but they also expect more. They have infinite choices at their fingertips and so brands need to work harder and more creatively to stand out, to engage on a deeper level, and to build long-term loyalty.

Just like storytelling, the marketing world has also evolved and to keep up, brands need to acquire a more modern approach, the brand conversation must now lead to actions and storytelling must also be living that story.

Not just a brand.

If a brand is living the story they show to consumers, they present more of an opportunity for that audience to experience the brand past just hearing or being told about it. They are given a role to play in the story and will begin to feel like they are part of the process. It means that a brand’s ethos is exposed in ways that are no longer replicated by using traditional media. Through seeing the brand story as something that can be lived, not just told, it presents a framework to build a ‘living narrative’ that can develop through consumer interactions at all touchpoints.

With new advancements in technology and devices, touchpoints are also continually changing, meaning brands can offer a completely different user experience than before, with unprecedented levels of engagement. Thanks to the developments in AI and VR, brands can evolve past traditional storytelling so that they can provide their consumers with a new and full experience where they are living the brand story.

This new technology can already be seen in mobile advertising with 360-degree adverts where the touch and vibration feature transport viewers on a journey to live out the story presented by the brand. While this is new and still changing, audiences are responding. It has been proven that VR can generate a more emotional response as well as longer engagement times, as demonstrated with Hong Kong Airline’s 360-degree ad that was 35 times more effective than the same 2D ad. By allowing consumers to engage and live the stories a brand tells, they will have the ability to create a personalised, on-demand, and relevant experience.

Social living and storytelling.

Consumers can increasingly dictate when, where, and how they engage with brands thanks to social platforms and digital devices. They have now developed into both critics and creators, wanting brand experiences that are more personally tailored, to help them choose the products or services they consume.

Now that brand experiences are even more interactive, marketers are provided with a measurable impact, they can track every part of the customer journey. The aim for the future is to integrate consumer traffic and the physical world, where personal interactions can capture and track valuable insights, meaning that the two-way conversation will continue to thrive.

In addition, advancements in AI mean that it can now recognise and analyse consumer’s emotions and sentiments. Deeper learning capabilities are developing alongside the natural learning process and social listening means brands can genuinely understand the consumer and their experience during sales. 

In a market where consumers are exposed to more content than they can handle, and with increasingly high expectations for that content, storytelling is without a doubt something that brands should capitalise on to stand out from the masses. Brand experiences are no longer just desirable, they are expected by consumers. They want to see meaningful and memorable brand experiences that will live long after the purchase journey is complete and to achieve this, brands need to look beyond just telling the story, they need to live it and invite their consumers to live it with them.

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