Storytelling is an engaging way to explain your organisation’s message or values. The story can be the central element in a content marketing strategy. The story needs to be strategic in its design and usage to be effective and contain the following effective characteristics.
Characters consistent with your brand
Firstly, the stories should involve characters or entities within a genre that is consistent with your brand. Audiences will relate to and empathise with the characters. The audience’s imagination is engaged as they relate constructs of their memories to the story experience. The audience is placed by the story experience, in an environment that provides a context of an understanding of the product or brand. A deeper understanding and attachment to the information is gained using the story experience (Lee & Shin 2015).
Stories should be immersive
Chanel immerses their audience by producing short storytelling films. In Coco Mademoiselle: The Film – CHANEL, it is all about the romance of the beautiful Keira Knightley’s encounter with a photographer in the lavish setting of Paris. The perfume only makes a brief appearance at the start and end of the 3:20-minute film. The story is then the basis of a shortened version commercial.
Identify audience’s needs
The story could talk about a human need. Carlton United Breweries (CUB) use the themes of mateship, the underdog winning, guy meets girl in a US 80’s style action cop show spoof commercial. Even though the main characters are shown to be thieves the story endears the audience to want them to get away from the police, meet the girl and not spill their beer.
Use the process as the story
The product or process itself can become the story. When the Kida Brewery in Japan with 300 years of sake making tradition, tapped into the process of making the alcohol, a story evolved. Telling the manufacturing process story from the perspective of the rice, gave their customers an immersive memorable experience (Lee & Shin 2015).
Stories can increase the perceived value of the brand and organisation. In a study by Lundqvist et. al (2013) on face cream, showed that participants who had read the organization’s story estimated the price of the product to be higher and used more positive words to describe the brand than those who had not read the story.
Big stories can be told on little budgets
While CUB and Chanel have large marketing departments and budgets, the impact of a story can be just as powerful using little to no budget if used strategically. The Breaking Through Women in Comedy project, a movement rather than a product needed a powerful story to be its central focus. The experience was set by the website design, images and timing selected to coincide with the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The storyteller(s) being female comedians providing insights on breaking into the field of comedy. The interviews were filmed in a conversational manner and included video and still images to provide a visual and content rich experience (Daveron, Doyle & Logan 2018).
Even with no or little budget strategically used stories area a powerful component of content marketing.
Davoren, M, Doyle, E & Logan, W 2018, Breaking through women in comedy, RMIT COMM2532 student project Davoren Doyle & Logan 2018, viewed 7 April 2018, <https://elainejdoyle.wixsite.com/womencomedy>.
Channel 2011, Coco Mademoiselle: The Film – CHANEL, YouTube video, Channel 2011, viewed 18 April 2018, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRV-2_Un-kk>.
Lee, Y.S. & Shin, W.J. 2015, Marketing tradition-bound products through storytelling: a case study of a Japanese sake brewery. Service Business, vol 9, no. 2, pp.281-295.
Lundqvist, A, Liljander, V, Gummerus, J. and Riel A 2013, The impact of storytelling on the consumer brand experience: The case of a firm-originated story, Journal of Brand Managment, Vol 20, No. 4, pp.283-297
The Midwest TV guys 2014, The Best Beer Commercial Ever Made – Carlton Draught, YouTube video, viewed 18 April 2018, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzEfBYcRT1w>.
Feature image, Royalty free image, ‘typewriter-2794560_1280-1’, <https://pixabay.com/>.