What Is Digital Storytelling and How to Use It in Marketing

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Are you looking for ways to connect with your target audience and create a closer relationship? Discovering what is storytelling can help you to find an effective strategy to show more about your brand’s values, to provoke good feelings, and make them see what makes you stand out from your competitors.

Grabbing users’ attention on the internet is a hard task with millions of content available. Digital storytelling helps with that by using the narrative power to involve the person and compel them to want to see the whole story, therefore, getting to know more about your brand. 

When we read, watch or listen to a story, human beings tend to look for ways to connect with it and relate. Storytelling has this power, and digital storytelling adds the magic of having multiple multimedia possibilities to enhance the way to tell a story. 

What is Digital Storytelling?

You probably have already heard the term storytelling, which basically can be defined as telling a story through a narrative, But, what is digital storytelling and how does one differ from the other? 

Digital storytelling is also about telling stories, as the name already suggests, but in this case using the power of multimedia to make the narrative even more appealing, for example, by using videos, images, audios, text, games. 

You can enjoy different formats of multimedia to create a unique engaging narrative that can even be interactive, for example, by inserting quizzes, charades, graphics, and many other elements.  

Telling a story is a great strategy to make your brand memorable because humans are naturally drawn to stories, and they are easier to remember than single facts and statistics.

With digital storytelling, you can enhance the chances to be reminded by using different elements, not relying only on the text or audio, for instance.  

How You Can Use Digital Storytelling in Marketing

The image shows someone touching a screen and there are several icons coming out of it, a cloud, Youtube's logo, a heart, wi-fi icon, a letter, and others.

Digital storytelling can be applied in marketing for different purposes, it depends on what’s your goal. It’s very useful to establish a stronger relationship with your leads and customers and to create brand awareness.

Take a look at brand campaigns that have gone viral, most of them have a narrative that is capable of causing good emotions and catching the audience’s attention.

Digital storytelling should go beyond the traditional video ads, explore the variety of tools that the internet provides. It’s possible to create transmedia experiences and use different platforms to tell the story you want, such as your website, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and many others.

Instagram alone enables different digital storytelling formats, you can use the stories, reels, or image carousel in the feed, for example. 

You can make customer-generated stories, using digital storytelling to tell testimonials from your customers. Give them a platform to share their experience with your brand and enjoy the opportunity to reach leads, increasing trust and authority. 

Another possibility is to use digital storytelling to tell the story of how your brand was born, present your team, show the processes inside your company, or introduce a new product. Shopify uses digital storytelling in its Instagram to show success case stories from entrepreneurs who use its platform, for example.  

The Advantages of Using Digital Storytelling

Humanizes Your Brand

Besides looking for high-quality products and services, nowadays customers also desire to buy from companies that they feel related to, which share their values and vision. Digital storytelling allows you to show the human side of your brand, highlight what your company believes, and relate it to what motivates your customers. 

Promote Engagement

The image shows someone pointing to speech baloons.

When you develop a compelling narrative through digital storytelling, the chances to have this content shared by your audience, receive comments, and create a conversation around it are bigger than if it was just a traditional advertisement. 

The reason for that is digital storytelling focuses on connecting emotionally with the audience. It may be by telling a funny story or an inspirational one, but it makes people see themselves inside it. They feel part of it, and in consequence, it encourages them to interact in different ways.

One example is the iPhone 12 ad. The video shows a woman trying to avoid her iPhone from falling on the floor, including a scene in slow motion of her struggling to hold it. Smartphone users can instantly relate to the concern of breaking the screen. 

The iPhone ends up falling on the floor, but the screen doesn’t break, and they add a simple message “Relax, it’s iPhone. A whole narrative is developed in just a few seconds, there is a problem, the climax, and then the solution that highlights the brand’s quality.  

Builds Trust

As your customers get to know more about your brand and its history through digital storytelling content, you have the opportunity to straighten the relationship and build trust by showing them you share the same values. 

Different from just seeing a description of your product or service, the customer can know more about the company that is behind it.

You can use digital storytelling to sell products, but you also to give reasons why people should believe in your business, and highlight what makes you stand out, besides showing you care about your customers. 

Tips to Develop Amazing Digital Storytelling

Be Coherent with Your Brand’s Identity

The image shows a cloud of words where it's written brand in the middle.

When planning your digital storytelling content, it’s essential to be very clear what are your brand values, mission, and goals, and which one you wish to emphasize. The customers who access the content must be able to see there is coherence with the storytelling built and the other marketing campaigns from your company.

It’s important to build a consistent brand image throughout every channel you use, enabling your audience to identify the presence of the same core values.

An example is Coke, they have multiple marketing strategies and develop content in different formats, but if you analyze them, you are going to encounter similarities that strengthen its image. 

Create Connections Through Emotion

One of the keys, when we talk about what is digital storytelling, is using narratives to provoke emotions and through them make your brand more relatable to the audience. But, how to instigate feelings?

First, you need to know exactly which emotions you desire your target audience to experience when seeing a specific content. Do you want to make them laugh, feel inspired, reflect upon a determined topic, feel excited? There are thousands of possibilities. 

Once you have this defined, it’s time to think about how to construct the story to help instigate those feelings. For example by creating a main character that the audience can see themselves through, and get involved in their journey. 

Another possibility is to tell the stories of people from your team, the creation of the company, or how each product was developed, which allows the audience to identify with your brand.

The narrative of presenting challenges and them showing how they were surpassed is a very common strategy in storytelling, and an effective one. 

Know Who You Are Talking to

To understand how you can emotionally connect with your target audience, you need to know them well. What are their dreams and values? What drives them to make a purchase? What is their age range? Where are they from? Do they usually buy online? What are their main hobbies?

All those questions help you to build a more precise idea of who you are talking to, so you can understand what narrative strategies would be more appealing to them.

For example, by having a complete profile of your target audience you can identify what is the best tone of speech to implement, the type of videos and images to use, and where you should publish your digital storytelling content. 

How are you going to know if your customers identify with your brand’s mission and values if you don’t have enough data to understand who they are? It isn’t possible, make thorough customer research before creating any strategy. 

Use Visual Elements

Visual elements are processed  60 thousand times faster than texts in our brain, that’s why you should enjoy digital storytelling possibilities and enhance it by using animation, videos, and images. This way, you have more chances to grab the audience’s attention and encourage engagement.

Besides, visual content is easier to remember than just written ones. According to a 3M research report, people can remember 65% of visual content three days later, compared to 10% of written content. 

Empathy Is Essential

To create good digital storytelling content, empathy is something that needs to be cultivated by you and your team. It’s necessary to be able to put yourself in your customer’s shoes to understand what their pain points are, what drives them, and how to create a narrative that they can connect with.

That’s why having plenty of information about them is so important, so you can understand them more deeply. During every process of creating a story and deciding how it’s going to be told, think about how your target audience is going to feel. Try to be sensible enough to see through their eyes, not yours. 

Use Digital Storytelling to Make your Brand Stronger

Now that you know what is digital storytelling, what about putting the concept into practice? Enjoy the power of a well-constructed multimedia narrative to reach your audience, and invest in building a strong brand’s image.

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