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Why Brand Storytelling Matters in a Digital Age
That variety of channels gives you a greater opportunity to build a strong brand story.
Marketing and advertising — and the world in general — is undeniably digital. Whether scrolling social media or interacting with their smart home devices, they're getting information and making choices in a digital space.
As a result, brands are leaning into the bevy of new platforms. It's a lot of noise — and although people are constantly plugged in, they're also disengaged. Attention spans have shrunk. It's no surprise, given we see more than 5,000 ads a day (and that estimate is from 2017!)
Digital marketing and branding can seem counterproductive. The more you're putting out there, the more that's getting lost in that heavy stream of information.
To make a splash, you may be tempted to pump out as much content as possible. But it's much more effective to create a strong brand narrative. This will engage your audience and give them something to remember you by.
And when people recognize you, they're more likely to pay attention to what you have to say.
Content marketing has evolved into a multi-channel experience. Brands can connect with their ideal customers via social media, email, text, apps, in-store digital experiences, and more.
That variety of channels gives you a greater opportunity to build a strong brand story. Think of it this way: instead of distilling your entire narrative into a tiny ad, you can coordinate each chapter across various digital channels.
The solution? Create bite-sized pieces of content that can be easily consumed in a short timeframe. This includes short videos, social media stories and reels, and concise blog posts.
Micro-content serves as entry points to your larger narrative. Plus, it's ideal for people who are quickly skimming their screens
According to HubSpot's latest State of Marketing report, short-form video has the highest ROI among all forms of content. It makes sense: video is more affordable to create, and people love watching videos.
However, any sort of visual content can help you stand out in the feed. In the age of short attention spans, most people won't read posts. They'll scan them to catch a few words.
Even if they do read, visual information makes more of an impact. The picture superiority effect describes how images cover six times more information than text. Also, pairing images with words helps people remember what they saw.
This effect is even more powerful when the visuals work together to tell a story. Think of any iconic filmmaker, such as Stanley Kubrick or Wes Anderson. They have a distinctive visual style that you can easily recognize.
Your brand benefits from consistency. So while you're leveraging your visuals, be sure they align with your brand aesthetic. Choose powerful, authentic images rather than the glossy stock photos that everyone else uses.
Give your audience something to chew on
Bite size doesn't just mean small. Make sure your content is snack-worthy. You know the importance of staying concise, and on social media, you already have limited space.
As everyone is competing for those same shreds of attention, your content must be enticing. To achieve this, focus on delivering value. What will the reader get by consuming your content?
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It's not enough to post a photo of your latest product with a witty caption. That may work for Starbucks or Nike, but most brands need a bit more to stand out.
Try posting a small clip of how your product can be used (ideally by a real customer). Share a tip that your target audience would find helpful. For example, a cosmetics brand could share eyeliner application tips. A brewery could explain how to pair their craft beers with various foods.
This approach works for B2B enterprises and nonprofits, too. You can launch a conversation by sharing the latest insights in your industry or stories that illustrate your mission.
Spark the reader's curiosity
If you're not directly providing value, help your audience discover it for themselves. Remember, marketing is about showing your audience what they already desire. What will they find if you spark their curiosity?
Pose questions or ask them to share their insights. Present intriguing statements that get them thinking. Invite them to get creative. This sort of open-ended content breaks the mindless scroll and nabs their attention.
By encouraging your audience to explore an idea or express themselves, you build a meaningful relationship with them. That's something they won't get from most brands — and the next time they encounter your content, they'll be likelier to pay attention.
Tap into FOMO
Nothing gets people's attention like a slight feeling of panic. That's why FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is so powerful.
Leverage the fear of missing out by creating a sense of urgency in your narrative. Why does your brand do what you do? Is there a time element to it, such as getting ready for holiday parties or meeting the tax filing deadline?
When creating limited-time offers and other promos, tie them to a story. Think about what your ideal customer is experiencing right now, then reflect it in your narrative.
You can also make your audience fearful of missing that snack-worthy content! Many brands are using the subscription features of Instagram, Patreon, etc. to offer exclusive access. This creates intrigue and can provide a passive income stream.
And of course, never underestimate the power of a sneak peek. People love feeling like they're the first to know something. That can align with your brand story, too. Are you excited about launching your new collection? Invite your audience to go behind the scenes and celebrate with you.
No matter which tactics you choose, remember that authentic content will always rise to the top. Indeed, most algorithms penalize spammy posts and prioritize helpful content. Platforms such as LinkedIn and Instagram have been very candid about this preference.
That means it's always better to choose quality over quantity if you want people's attention. If it comes down to posting low-effort content every day or posting a great story once a week, choose the latter.
In this digital age with so much information overload, people still want human connection. To craft a compelling brand narrative and capture that limited attention, you must be authentic above all else.