As a child, storytelling time was always one of my favorite parts of the school day. Stories allowed you to travel to a place that can be new and exciting. As we become adults, this concept does not change. As marketing and communications experts, we need to learn to tap into that excitement when promoting our brands.
By delivering compelling stories, you can move beyond the mindset and mechanics of simply selling a product or service. This will allow you to connect with your audience, which leads to brand trust and product purchase. But the question that many brands struggle to answer is, “How do you transition a compelling story into a concrete business result?” To answer this question, you must first identify your overarching goal. Increase brand awareness? Drive leads or conversions? Or, like many organizations, it is most likely a combination of both.
Here are a few tips that, through experience, has proven to be effective in increasing brand loyalty and trust and connecting with current and prospective customers.
#1. Humanize your brand
Imagine your brand as a fictional character. Your brand needs a human voice and a personality. More and more, the broader public views organizations as cold and sterile corporate entities only driven by the bottom line. To connect with your customers and build trust, you must make your brand seem a little bit more like a person—you must humanize your brand. Flush out the details of your brand and its mission. Who is this person? What are their likes and dislikes? What drives them to get up every morning? Identify the answers to these types of questions and build out your communication strategy based on these answers.
#2. Speak to your audience
The mistake that many brands make when developing content or any sort of external communication initiative is speaking at their audience rather than to their audience. It is imperative that you take the time to learn your audience and develop messaging and content that answers their burning questions and concerns. You cannot simply assume you know what they need or want.
#3. Understand attention span
According to a study by Microsoft, the average human being now has an attention span of eight seconds. To that point, you need to develop content that grabs your audience and allows them to easily digest the information. This is a sharp decrease from the average attention span of 12 seconds in the year 2000. This means more imagery, video content, or infographics.
#4. Emotional Authenticity
In today’s world, your audience can spot a fake a mile away. To effectively reach your audience through digital storytelling, you need to be honest with them. This means showing vulnerability and truth. Not only because it makes the story more compelling, but because in the digital space, more than any other medium, people are more prone to call “B.S.” on anything that rings false.
#5. Don’t be The Tree in The Forest
The adage is that if a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it does it make a sound? Regardless of how dynamic and compelling your story is, if you do not take the time to go where your audience lives, it will never make a sound. The final key to success in digital storytelling is identifying where your audience lives and presenting your story to them there. This means not only posting your content on your owned channels but also looking at other outlets such as LinkedIn, Medium, Apple News, etc…
At the end of the day, digital storytelling is no different than other forms of storytelling. You simply must take the time to craft and adjust your message to reach and engage with your audience.
About the Author
Dany K. Gaspar is a seasoned global online communication and marketing professional with a diverse background in online brand growth, online reputation management, social media management, and consumer marketing. To learn more about Dany — or to have him write for your brand — check out his nDash profile.