The myth of storytelling
Although the term "storytelling" is constantly (over)used in marketing circles, it sometimes feels like a mythical creature that many talk about but few have ever actually seen.
Nevertheless, one thing is certain: stories work. People have been telling each other stories since before they even invented the words to phrase them properly. So storytelling is more than just a buzzword - in marketing, but also beyond. In marketing, however, the question now is: What is storytelling about and how can you do it effectively and efficiently in today's digital omnichannel world?
All about the hero
Good stories stimulate the listener's imagination and lead to emotional identification. In the case of brands, stories help customers imagine themselves wearing a pair of shoes or enjoying a stay in a luxurious hotel.
The Hero's Journey is the foundation of many compelling stories. Brands should see their customers as heroes of their own story. When people feel like a hero*, even if only briefly, who are empowered by the brand, some magic is already happening. Brand perception is the key to a brand being respected, trusted and ultimately bought from.
Social media is great for interacting with each other, making it the perfect place for marketing. If you do effective storytelling on them, you can change how customers perceive the brand and the surrounding issues, ultimately increasing sales. This is an element of "social influence." The more this storytelling is integrated into the marketing, communications and channel mix, the greater its potential impact.
But what are the secrets of good storytelling and how can you make the customer the heroine of your story?
What kind of heroes do customers want to be?
A very important question is what kind of heroines the target audience would like to be. Whether they want a perfect smile, a clean home or a culinary adventure, they expect to be protagonists in moments big and small. So how can you explain to customers that you will do just that for them? How can you ensure that the audience absorbs the right message? The answer is simple: with successful storytelling.
In order to tell a good story, some principles must be followed. These principles serve as a foundation on which to build the story. Without a solid foundation, the story becomes either unstable and therefore not very believable or uninteresting. The four principles are purpose, emotion, relevance, and continuity.
Purpose 1: Start with mission and vision
You should start from the brand's mission, vision and values and ensure that all marketing initiatives are consistently aligned with these. Every story needs to be traced back to your purpose: Why does the brand exist and what is it about? This way, you create a common thread that allows people to get to know the brand better and get an idea of who the brand is and why you like it or even love it (or at least why you should).
2. Emotions: Being authentic and creating emotional connections
It's very simple. When you talk about people, you talk about emotions. Successful brands connect with consumers and build a relationship. This relationship leads to short-term conversions, but also long-term loyalty and even brand advocacy. The best way to stand out from the crowd and connect is with emotion, empathy and authenticity. You can cultivate brand love by focusing on people and telling creative stories that unlock emotions.
3. Relevance: The target group, should find themselves in it
You have to consider how the product or service affects the different members of the target audience and then find connections so that all posts are engaging. The more the target audience can relate to the situations you describe in posts, the more likely they are to identify with the brand and ultimately buy their products.
4. Continuity: progress over time
The story should progress over time, rather than consist of several random posts. Solid, ongoing stories can captivate the audience, generate engagement, and even make them want to seek out the next posts in the future.
What does this mean for marketers?
Kingfluencers will present the most exciting cases around the topic of omnichannel storytelling on November 4, 2021 at the Dolder Grand in Zurich. The largest social media marketing conference in Switzerland will take place there - the WebStage Masters.
Example case Corona beer: The Swiss Limetrack
Some brands are more than just providers of products: They represent a lifestyle, a way of thinking, a philosophy. Corona is one of these brands with a strong identity and a clear message.
To strengthen its presence in the Swiss market, Corona worked with Kingfluencers to develop an influencer marketing campaign that increased their local appeal and appealed to Swiss consumers on an emotional level.
Kingfluencers assembled a team of influencers - "The Limetrack Squad" - and developed a series of creative activities and steps that allowed the influencers to tell a compelling story over 3.5 months. The Limetrack Squad took the audience on a summer journey where every consumer could become the hero of their own story by following the influencers' posts, and dozens of Corona kits were given away through interactive challenges and contests - preparing the winners for their own adventures.
Give the brand a voice, create dialogues and generate more brand love
Brands can increase emotional appeal by engaging in both people-oriented and creative storytelling and advertising. Using brand advocates and influencer marketing to tell stories puts a face to the brand that people can relate to and creates more emotional connections. Influencers can tell their own unique stories with emotion, giving products a face that people can identify with.
In addition, social media and influencer marketing provide agile real-time communication channels with consumers. Brands should interact with their consumers and aim for effective two-way communication. You can transform storytelling from brand monologues to conversations by encouraging participation and interaction and incorporating user-generated content.
Influencer marketing has excellent potential for interactive campaigns. Influencers' close relationship with their communities is ideal for engaging audiences.
According to the Swiss Influencer Marketing Report 2020, around half of the marketing managers surveyed estimate the return on investment of their influencer campaigns to date to be higher than for alternative forms of advertising.
Music connects - the first Swiss TikTok advertising song story
Evian-Volvic Switzerland worked with Kingfluencers to build on their central themes of freshness and authenticity. Different storytellers were used and the first Swiss music video was created especially for TikTok. (Werbewoche.ch reported). The video "Volli Kiste" has received more than one million clicks by the beginning of September. With tailored rap lyrics, it features a line-up of Swiss TikTok stars from dance and comedy, including comedian "Kiko" from eastern Switzerland.
"Since Volvic teas are much more natural than other tea-based soft drinks, with no additives and much less sugar, authenticity was doubly important to us for this project," said Nina Heller, marketing manager Evian-Volvic. Kiko added: "The whole project has to be as fresh as the Iced Tea: from the song to the video to the people... I see the project as a kind of cultural promotion with advertising."
Be smart and consistent and connect the dots
Omnichannel storytelling is not without its dangers, however. The core principle that brand identity and messaging should be consistent everywhere means that brands need to make connections not only between channels, like the website and Instagram, but also between stories. Even in separate posts and across channels, posts should function as ongoing conversations in a segmented, yet connected way.
Stories also reinforce the brand message, and research shows that a consistent brand message across all channels significantly increases brand trust and purchase intent. Content can still be tweaked to better fit different channels, but it must maintain an underlying core consistency.
About the WebStage Masters
For the fourth edition, the Swiss social media industry will meet on 4 November 2021 at The Dolder Grand Hotel Zurich. The 400 visitors from the fields of marketing, communication, media and PR will be offered a line-up that is quite something on three stages in parallel. Among others, Facebook, Heineken, Groupe Mutuel and the University of St. Gallen will share their latest insights with the audience. In addition to the "classic social media topics" such as social commerce, LinkedIn updates and sustainability communication on Instagram, speakers on topics such as messenger marketing and podcasts will round off this year's programme.
Details about the program and the speakers as well as tickets are available at Webstage-masters.ch.
This article was produced as part of a media partnership between m&k Werbewoche.ch and Webstage Masters.