Why digital storytelling is important in business
Telling stories in an effective, engaging, intimate, and exciting way is one of the oldest secrets of business. Today, this also spills over into the digital world, with all the enormous potential of Digital Storytelling. What are the pillars that marketers must pay attention to? The channels, first of all, embrace an omnichannel perspective. Then, it’s about the means through which to convey their narratives, with an absolute pre-eminence of the video tool. Finally, the decisive point: the recipients. It's about getting to know your audience, not limiting yourself to a generic and undifferentiated target, but aiming for a truly personalized narrative.
The ultimate boost? Implement personalized video into your storytelling strategy.
Storytelling is one of the oldest secrets of business success
Human beings are storytelling animals. We have been doing this since the dawn of time, ever since one of our ancestors, together with his community, decided to draw hunting scenes in the cave where he lived.
If you look closely, storytelling is one of the reasons for our evolutionary success as a species: we weren't the strongest animals, nor the fastest or the most resilient. However, we are the ones who have learned to share knowledge and messages that are increasingly complex, increasingly detailed, and increasingly precise.
At this point, it's no surprise to consider that storytelling is one of the oldest secrets of business success. It’s also no surprise that it is a technique that is still being used more than any other
In fact, storytelling combines information and emotion: and there is no better way to get across effective, clear, engaging messages that can hit both the "head" and the "heart" of the recipients.
But that's not all. Storytelling has changed. Today, it’s part of a revolution in which we are all immersed: Digital Transformation.
The advent of digital technology has revolutionized our lives and our economic systems. It’s also revolutionized the world of marketing and business communication.
That's why talking about storytelling today means, above all, talking about digital storytelling.
In this post, we will follow a three-step path to focus on the importance of digital storytelling in business, for any sector.
We'll start with channels, which have multiplied.
Then we'll move on to the medium, focusing on the prominence of the video tool.
Finally, we'll conclude with a focus on the recipients, and we’ll look at the most decisive revolution we have before us: that of personalized storytelling.
A question of channels
Let's think about how we interface with the digital ecosystem in our daily lives: if we look closely, we’re constantly jumping from one channel to another.
In the workplace, we are online from our desktops; then we switch to our smartphones as we leave the office, perhaps to check email and read reviews of a restaurant we want to reserve. In the evening, at home, we may watch our favorite series from our tablet.
So, as we have already mentioned, we’re talking about three channels: desktop, smartphone, tablet.
But that's not all: it's one thing to interact on social networks, another to visit the homepage of an online newspaper; yet another to scroll through YouTube's recommended videos, and yet another to listen to music or podcasts on Spotify. And these are just a few examples.
In short, the digital world is a labyrinth of different channels, which sometimes overlap, intertwine, and reinforce each other. The challenge for digital storytelling is to know how to be inserted in each of these channels in a differentiated way, with the right formats, the right modes, the right tones, without losing the coherence of the original message.
It's a technical question of optimization, first and foremost. But it is also, and above all, a question of effectiveness.
To be specific: branded content published in a cultural magazine has (and must have) a very different tone from a campaign designed and created to be spread through social networks. But we can go into even greater detail: there are also important differences between Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.
The ultimate goal for marketers? To embrace an omnichannel perspective as much as possible, using their "stories" in the right way according to the right channel.
A question of medium
There is something, however, that lies even further upstream from the channels.
We're talking about the very mediums that marketers choose to put their storytelling campaigns on track.
There are words, first and foremost, with all their possibilities and limitations.
There's the whole area of images and visuals.
An increasingly important space is being conquered by audio.
But, above all, there is a medium that is now the undisputed king of digital content, and therefore of digital storytelling.
We’re talking about video. And it's not us who say it, but the data.
Consider this data, for example:
55% of people pay more attention to a video than any other type of content (source: OmniKick).
When viewing a video, the average user retains 95% of the message it contains; when it comes to text, that percentage dips to 10% (source: Wirebuzz).
Today, about 82% of all internet traffic is generated by video. In 2017, it was 72.3% (source: Cisco Annual Internet Report).
More than 1 billion hours of video are viewed daily on YouTube alone (source: YouTube).
Around 100 million hours of video are watched daily on Facebook, and they are steadily increasing (source: 99firms).
On Instagram, posts containing videos have a 38% higher average engagement than those containing images (source: Mention.com).
TikTok is a social network launched in 2016 and based entirely on micro-videos. Its growth has been impressive: according to the most recent data, there are now over 800 million monthly active users (source: ScreenRant)
87% of marketers use video in their strategies (source: Wyzowl).
85% of marketers consider video to be the best tool for gaining attention online (source: Animoto).
97% of marketers say video is key to making sure customers have a better understanding of products and services (source: Hubspot).
Today, 81% of businesses use video as a marketing tool. That's an increase of 63% over last year (source: Hubspot).
The data on the effectiveness of video as a tool is clear and undeniable. What's more, the data is quite impressive.
But there's another side to the coin: more and more brands are using video as the mainstay of their storytelling strategies, so the problem of attention remains open.
How can you make your brand's voice heard in the midst of all this crowding?
The answer is the oldest in the world, but today it has become absolutely avant-garde, again, thanks to Digital Transformation: addressing one person at a time, tailoring messages in a one-to-one perspective.
And it is on this point that we conclude the post.
A question of target audience
There is no such thing as perfect storytelling for everyone, at all times, in all places.
A retiree living in Germany may not be impressed and captivated by the same story, the same communication, that attracts the attention of a teenager living in San Francisco.
So, what can and should brands do when targeting a large and diverse audience?
Aim for personalization. Modulate their message based on the different recipients.
Is this possible? Today it is. And it all starts with data, the real fuel of the digital revolution.
We have all heard of the phrase Big Data: the risk, however, is that we limit ourselves to the surface, to the buzzword, and do not go in-depth to understand the enormous potential that lies within all this.
To put it simply: all of us, on a daily basis, leave an enormous amount of "digital traces" in many different places and moments. When we do Google searches, when we leave feedback on a booking platform, when we interact on social media, when we watch a YouTube video, when we chat, when we geolocate, when we go for a run using a fitness app...and the list could go on and on and on.
What companies need to do is collect all these traces (again, in omnichannel mode). Cross-reference this information, analyze it, interpret it.
In this way, they will have an initial overview of their audience, wide-ranging, dynamic, and as real-time as possible.
But that's not all: this audience must be divided into increasingly specific and circumscribed segments, into clusters of recipients that share consistent and homogeneous characteristics. In short, no longer a single undifferentiated target, but many micro-targets.
At this point, storytelling campaigns can be modulated on the basis of data, they can become increasingly tailored.
Can we go even further? The answer, again, is yes.
In fact, it is possible to really focus on individuals, abandoning the one-to-many approach and embracing a truly one-to-one approach.
This is what we mean by personalization, the real trend that is having a decisive impact on corporate storytelling.
Now, think about combining the boost of personalization with the effectiveness of video. It can be done. It is, in fact, personalized video, which Forbes defines in one of its articles as "the marketing breakthrough that brands need."