Storytelling dates back to ancient times and has the power to shape people, cultures, and society as a whole. Starting from the cave paintings of the Neanderthal Man, hieroglyphics of the Egyptians to the Greek legends that have been passed on through generations, stories have shaped history, carried on words of wisdom, and formed societal norms.
Stories are such a hit with people as they are closer to real life and people can relate to the characters & emotions played out through them. Brands have realized the power of stories and it’s not a new phenomenon anymore that they have started integrating this in their marketing mix. Storytelling enables brands to form an emotional connect with the target audience so that they can strike the right chord with them. Brand storytelling is effective as what people are really looking for at a fundamental level is authenticity, meaning and connection with brands.
With so many brand messages floating around in the form of numerous content pieces, storytelling helps brands to cut through the noise and stand out. Your audience may forget the benefits of your product, but will not forget a story you attached to them very easily. It brings in an element of personalization and impact that other means of marketing can’t bring in.
However, in 2019, brands are going to go beyond this concept and step into ‘Storyselling’. Combining this with video marketing takes it to a whole new level. Online video will comprise of 80% of internet traffic by 2021 and clubbing it with storyselling will go a long way for the overall sales numbers of brands.
What is Storyselling?
Storytelling is great, but it would not mean much if it does not drive concrete results. Here’s where storyselling comes in. As the name suggests, it combines storytelling and business results in the form of sales numbers. Telling a story associated with your brand is intuitively going to build relationships with your audience, gain their trust and raise brand awareness. But when all of this converts to hard sales, you’ve ventured into storyselling.
There are some brands that quite naturally leverage the power of storyselling. Their customers already have good stories to tell. Take Airbnb, for instance. You must have come across one friend who stayed in a sprawling property booked on Airbnb in that beautiful holiday destination and gone on and on about the whole experience. Airbnb’s strength lies in these stories and after hearing one, you are compelled to rent out that Airbnb for your next vacation.
Richard Branson is another name that pops up in mind when it comes to storyselling. If you’ve ever flown Virgin America, you would know what I’m talking about. Branson is famous for creating world-class experiences that people would tell their friends about. Just like Airbnb, you’ll be convinced enough to book your next flight on the airline.
Storyselling in Video
How will storytelling integrated into online video lead to clicks and conversions? Travis Chambers, founder & chief media hacker of Chamers Media suggests a few tips on how to get storyselling right with video. Below are the tips that brands should keep in mind while they are strategizing their video marketing mix.
Use humour to inform and educate
Traditional ways of marketing like product demos, testimonials, celebrities endorsing brands have become so mainstream that they no longer work. To defeat the noise, you have to come up with ways that will help your video marketing strategies to stand out and make an impact.
Adding humour to your video marketing campaign ensures that the entertainment quotient of your content remains intact. After all, the audience flocks to YouTube and video platforms to be entertained or to learn something new. A video that integrates good humour strikes a chord with the audience and encourages them to share and also helps in brand recall. We’ve seen numerous brands succeeding with this strategy integrated in their campaigns that we know for sure this works!
One great example of a brand using humour in their video marketing campaigns is Ben & Jerry’s. They decided to switch their strategy from politically and socially charged videos to using humour. They take a laser-sharp focus when it comes to their target audience while designing their campaign.
Note how their ad campaign, ‘Leena the lactose-intolerant employee eats non-dairy’ was centered specifically around lactose-free products and uses a hilarious take on those who are lactose intolerant.
Videos should help in conversions
Make it as easy as possible for your customers to make a purchase. Storyselling definitely benefits your brand as it raises awareness and builds connections, but at the end of the day, marketers need to make sure that customers are convinced to make a purchase. Marketers need to generate sales and sometimes they need to do that without a delay.
To expedite the process, brands should make it super easy for their customers to make a purchase. One great way to do this is to inspire sales through shoppable videos. They are a perfect mix of content and commerce as they attach quick links with the products featured in the video.
Ted Baker is one brand that’s making this come alive with their ‘Keeping up with the Bakers’ series which shows the Baker family moving into a new house in the suburbs. They also released a 360-degree version of the video which further made it engaging. The brand allowed viewers to simply click on the product to add it to their basket while narrating the story, a perfect example of storyselling. To make it less cluttered and less sales-driven, the number of products in the video were reduced.
Focus on testing and measurement
Marketers often turn their attention to views and click-throughs to analyze the success of campaigns. However, what really matters is conversions in terms of sales and return on ad spend. If you really want to track whether you’re reaching your conversion goals or not, keep testing repeatedly on your way through your storyselling journey.
Like, for instance, you can make more than one version of a video and see which works better with your audience. Travis Chambers takes the example of an air-conditioning brand that he worked with. Two versions of the same video were made, one was brand focussed and the other was product focused. It tuned out that the product focussed video ad campaign doubled sales within a year. Moral of the story – multiple versions of the same video campaign will help you decide what works and what doesn’t.
Storyselling works and will continue to do so in 2019 as stories stay with people much more than hard facts and statistics. If a brand integrates storyselling with a significant character or real-life personality that people can empathize with, it always manages to make an impact on the viewer.
One example of storyselling that I would like to cite is the legendary fashion brand, Chanel. The brand’s founder Coco Chanel is not just an influential personality, but people who are ardent fans of the brand relate to her story a lot. The brand capitalized on this fact and brought her story to life with this video ad campaign. It beautifully talks about her life woven expertly into this brand video.
Niharika Datta is a Content Writer at Vidooly. She started her career as a Human Resource professional but is now pursuing her love for writing. Though she writes about a myriad of ideas, her personal favourite is writing about the latest trends in the content and digital marketing world. An ambivert by nature, she likes to grab a snack with a warm cup of coffee in the company of a good book or a close friend.