The Power of Digital Story For Your Brand (And How To Create One)

There are plenty of ‘recommended’ elements needed for the success of a Startup or  a small business brand. The power of digital story for your brand isn’t something you haven’t already heard of. Storytelling has fast moved into the category of a buzzword and a new need for brand success, yet very few people tend to explain how this can be implemented in business settings. This is especially true for Startups who may not naturally take to storytelling in the product context. 

The irresistible power of storytelling as a strategic business tool has been explained in this very well research HBR article. But it needs to be felt tangibly before it can be understood. Take, Google’s Parisian love, as an example. Google’s designer uses emotions to communicate a rather technical search product, and brings the consumer into the center rather than talking about the features of their product. Or believing that the product will market itself (seriously, no, that doesn’t even work for Google!). We no longer live in the lean back (TV/ Newspaper ads) marketing world. The modern consumer interacts with a brand, expects a brand to engage, inform and entertain.

The Power of Digital Story For Your Brand (And How To Create One)

From Ghalib to Shakespeare, to Ramayana and Aesop’s fables, people are attracted to stories. While listening to stories, we are involved, leading to a neurological response. We react. We have feelings: anxiety, tension, happiness, empathy, hope, love, trust. Storytelling is seen as the most persuasive form of communication. All that a brand would ideally love to develop in consumers towards choosing their product – including getting into anxious queues to buy the latest iPhones. Or reading Chapman’s car theory at age sixteen and growing up to own the Lotus Elise, poetically. All brands want this level of adulation. 

In the words of Kevin Murray,

“You have a vision for an enterprise in your head, but it is only powerful when you have it into a story – a story about where you have been, where you are going, about how you will behave along the way. Then, you persuade everybody in the organization that they are part of the same story. Your story has to describe how people are going to feel when they reach at destination point, so that they feel the journey is worth it.” – Kevin Murray

With multiple channels and platforms – mobile phones, Internet, social media, emails, newsletters, traditional media or whatever else you’re exposed to; it is even more difficult to hold on to public attention let alone in recall. Stories distinctly connect people with their memories and values. 

Digital Story For Your Brand

Specifically for brands, there are three types of stories brand managers need to keep in their brand tool-kit:

1. “Who am I’ digital story for your brand – This story gives people an insight into the brand’s journey to current times. It is designed to take the consumer on a journey of self-discovery and create empathy with the brand. It is also useful to reveal past mistakes and tough decisions that reveal your brand vulnerabilities and serve in establishing a emotional connect with your audience.

2. The ‘Future’ digital story for your brand– Create the space and potential for tomorrow and extol what needs to be achieved. Play on the journey that needs to be undertaken towards a brilliant future for your brand.

3. The ‘Values at work’ digital story for your brand– celebrate the work culture and what your brand stands for, including the team culture, individuals who live those brand values that you want the entire organization and your consumer to reflect on and connect with.

How To Create The Digital Story For Your Brand

A story in the business context of a brand has to create impact or results, or a change in consumer behavior. And before you start creating a remarkable story for your brand, here are some questions to answer:

1. What’s the purpose of your digital story?

2. Who is the audience of your digital story?

3. What’s in it for them?

4. What is the key takeaway?

Once you know your goals, while creating a digital story for your brand, use these three tips:

1. Use a strong storytelling framework: A successful storytelling framework has been provided by the Freytag’s pyramid. It allows the Brand to create a digital story with a narrative arc and spilt into five acts, each invoking different types of emotional reactions.

The Power Of Digital Story For Your Brand

2. Co-create stories with your employees and consumers: Engage and find out what the brand means to your stakeholders. Ask employees and customers to share stories of the days gone by and their experiences with your brand for them to get a sense of place, its history and culture.

3. Hire experts for an outside-in view: Sometimes brands need an outsider view to note aspects that they may not have considered before, or missed out on. Get external experts to bring in fresh perspectives, creativity and give your brand a winning edge!

Thank you Ashwati Michael for your tips while creating this piece.

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Upasna Kakroo

Upasna co-founded Brandanew in 2014 for the sheer love of storytelling and authentic connections. She has been blogging and documenting digital stories since 2003.
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