WTF Series: WTF Is Digital Storytelling in 2021?

Ok we admit it, the clue is in the name! Digital storytelling uses digital technology to sell a story. Simple, right?!
WTF is digital storytelling

Well yes, from a descriptive point of view, but digital stories themselves need to be in compelling and emotionally engaging formats in order to meet your objectives and appeal to your audience; after all you want them to remember and respond. 

So what exactly is digital storytelling?

Storytelling is a great way to make your brand memorable as well as finding ways to connect and relate to your audience. Digital storytelling is when you tell your brand story in a compelling way via engaging digital (!) formats – images, text, audio, video and animation.

Can you give me some examples of digital storytelling best practice?

It is obvious our words in the blog can’t do justice to the wonderful brand digital storytelling out there, so check these examples out:

Samsung India – the video now has over 200 million views and is considered one of the best pieces of digital storytelling to date 

Royal Navy – an interactive personalised video messaging application

Best Western – a few years old but well executed and without a huge budget

And it’s not just consumer brands that are digitally telling their stories:

Apple – the working from home thing!

Dropbox – telling some of their employees’ stories

Embraer – partnered with Gravity Global for unique, episodic travel-led content

So what do these digital stories tell us?

Digital stories don’t PUSH the branded message onto the viewer; they PULL viewers into their story. And this isn’t by overly laden technical messages or ticking off key brand messages, but via human emotion so we can immediately relate to the story that is being told.

And it’s not just about ‘pretty pictures’ either

Here comes the science bit! Chemicals like cortisol, dopamine and oxytocin are released in our brains when we are told a story. That is one reason why we remember facts more when we are told them via a story, vs reciting on rote.

We also know that our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than text so digital stories featuring visuals is the most successful way to see results. 

Video is key then, to telling our digital story?

Yes! As our examples above, video definitely is the dominant medium when it comes to digital storytelling.

BUT this is not the only way to communicate your stories, and in fact a format mix, across your variety of platforms, is key to your audiences’ engagement plus telling your story in different ways and from different angles.

Social media allows brands to share short videos – not all digital stories need to be minutes long remember. Plus many of the social media platforms have ‘carousel’ formats which enable you to post multiple images together to tell a story.

And don’t forget, interactive media, AR & VR are looming ever closer to the masses too. Early adopters are already seeing high engagement figures when executed correctly.

Just remember, as long as the story you are telling is engaging to your audience, then short animated text or GIFs can be as equally as impactful on the right platform.

Getting started with your digital storytelling

No prizes for guessing that the first thing you start with is the story itself! But how do you source then create the stories that your brand wants to tell?

  1. Zone in on your brand’s value propositions – reinforce these in the story and gain trust.
  2. Know your employees, staff and teams – great stories can come from the people you work with every day.
  3. Know and listen to your customers – because it is all about developing stories that they can relate to.

So are you ready to use digital media to tell your brand’s story?

People love stories, and given this, plus the science, digital storytelling MUST be part of your brand marketing strategy. Why wouldn’t you want to make your content more relatable, memorable and impactful?

Start sourcing those stories today, and think about the best formats and platforms to distribute them on too. And if you are struggling with ideas, contact us and we will be happy to chuck some ideas around with you so you can get started.

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