October 12, 2021
Storytelling

The universal Do’s and Don’ts of corporate Digital Storytelling

Whether you’re aware of it or not, we’re all bombarded with stories
corporate storytelling
An article written by

Jessica Endert

,
Head of Strategy and Concept @ Purple

We all love those ‘Google Doodles’, right? (If you’re not familiar, you can see examples here). Of course, they’re not only a bit of light-hearted fun; they actually tell us a story about the brand values and culture of the company. They’re a carefully designed way for Google to connect with their customers around the world by celebrating events that they find meaningful.

Google Doodles

What does this tell us about the company and its values?

Well, not only do they have access to all our data and photos – they’re also relatable human beings who have cute fuzzy feelings, just like us. It’s easy to imagine that Google is so relaxed and fun, that everyone just sits around making fun games and animations for us to enjoy.

Of course - in reality - this is a key part of Google’s digital storytelling strategy. It’s a consciously designed approach of building a bigger brand narrative out of multiple small interactions. Trust is essential to their business model. So building trust with their human hosts is Google’s best strategy for long-term survival and growth.

These will help you to maximally leverage storytelling for your specific sector - provided you also stick to the basic rules we outline here.

Every brand benefits from being seen as trustworthy, but it’s essential for Google’s business-model, and a priority objective for their storytelling strategy.

For each industry, sector, and business-model there will always be different priorities and value propositions to communicate.

As a result, there are very different solutions and approaches that depend on the unique pain-points for the customer. We’ll explore these in more detail in our upcoming series of blogs, with the best approach for sectors such as Software, Retail, Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), Education, and Industrial/Manufacturing.  

These will help you to maximally leverage storytelling for your specific sector - provided you also stick to the basic rules we outline here.

We’ll look at these specific approaches in more detail in the other articles, but there are some rules you should always follow. These “do’s and don’ts” cover the most fundamental aspects that every digital storytelling strategy should aim to achieve.

Your digital story is everywhere you are

Whether you’re aware of it or not, we’re all bombarded with stories - constantly.

Some of them are easy to recognize; they have complex plots, struggles and plot-arcs. Most of them however are so subtle we don’t even notice. They frequently come in the form of smaller ‘breadcrumbs’ that our brains file away and assemble into a cohesive narrative. This happens ‘in the background’, without us even realizing that we’re doing it.

By putting newly-acquired knowledge into a narrative structure, our brains create a format for information that we can repeat

It all comes down to the way we process our experiences and form memories. By putting newly-acquired knowledge into a narrative structure, our brains create a format for information that we can repeat to ourselves and access later. It means that information is stored away with a complete context that helps us to interpret what we have learned for later experiences too.

This mechanism is so deeply ingrained that we do it with all kinds of information. We interpret pretty much everything and put it into a bigger picture. This means that you’re broadcasting your brand story with every single customer touchpoint. With this in mind, it’s important to stick to a few basic ‘storytelling rules’ that apply to every sector and industry.

The Don’ts of Digital Storytelling

  1. Don’t muddle your objective. Always stay clear on what you want to achieve, otherwise your effort will be in vain and audiences won’t know what to make of you. If they receive conflicting messages and stories about your brand, the audience will ultimately turn off. Keep your messaging ‘clean’, with the minimum possibility for confusion, and make sure it’s all directed towards your ultimate goal.
  2. Don’t limit yourself based on what you’ve already done. Digital storytelling is a powerful medium that can go anywhere and do anything. Think about the full spectrum of possibilities and use your imagination.  Make your strategy aspirational instead, and use the digital medium to push the boundaries.
  3. Don’t assume that you can get away without doing the strategic work. Digital storytelling is a magical experience and not a ‘magic bullet’. While the medium is capable of achieving a lot it doesn’t do this without a clear strategy. Your strategy should pervade every digital story to ensure it is targeted with a purpose.

The Do’s of Digital Storytelling

  1. Do have clear objectives: whether this is increased sales, improved onboarding, or thought leadership. Whatever the intended outcome is, this needs to be clear to everyone involved. You need to know what you want to achieve and how to do it.
  2. Do enable the ‘presenters’ to tell the story the right way. This is especially relevant for immersive experiences, or using a digital virtual studio. Make sure they are given all the training they need to ensure that the human element of the experience matches the magic of digital storytelling.
  3. Do use digital storytelling software that enables easy construction of unique stories from a common content library. You want to be able to tailor your story to the needs of your customer. But you also want to be consistent in how you, and your stories, show up.
  4. Do consider your digital storytelling as an extension of your brand. It is a vital component of your brand identity. All digital stories should exemplify and strengthen your company’s visual and cultural identity.

Staying on-target: Identifying the specifics for your sector

We saw that a key feature of Google’s brand identity is trust, because it is essential for supporting their business model. Your sector might have a different focus because you offer something different, and your business will have different vulnerabilities.

As an example, a heavy industrial manufacturer might also benefit from a ‘trustworthy’ brand image but their most essential qualities are different. Each storytelling strategy needs to address the concerns and needs of the customer. In this case, the strategy will focus more on issues like environmental responsibility and reliability of the products. Depending on your specific industry and role, your focus will always be different and it should seek to distinguish your offering from the competition too.

How do you create a Digital Story for your (immersive) brand experience?

These are the basic steps everyone should follow when creating digital stories, but a key part of the success will come from using the right digital storytelling software too. Your digital storytelling software should be able to cope with whatever medium you might use - now, and in the future. Your software should be able to deploy digital stories just as easily for an immersive experience as any other medium.  

As we explore further below, a powerful enough digital storytelling software solution should give you the latitude to create unique stories using a common content library. The key to a successful digital story is to take a strategic and focused approach.

How to make a Digital Story, step-by-step:

  • Step 1 Develop Idea - Brainstorm basic ideas, think freely, no strings attached.
  • Step 2 Plan – Plan out your strategy. Identify your audience, goals, and the emotional connections you want to make.
  • Step 3 Outline/Script – Make a scheme for how your story flows, planning how much time each part uses. Give your story a great structure with a pleasing resolution.
  • Step 4 Storyboard – Draw out a storyboard, so you can plan your recording or content design sessions.
  • Step 5 Record/Produce – This is the fun part, when you actually get to make it come to life. Filming live action, or animating your scenes are just two possibilities.
  • Step 6 Finish – This is a careful process of editing and assembly. Using Digital Storytelling software like Hyro can make this a lot easier.
  • Step 7 Publish, Share & Scale – Put your Digital Story online, or show it with more powerful AV tech. Storytelling software allows you to scale your story to multiple locations. So everyone, anywhere knows about it.
  • Step 8 Review – You should always seek to improve. Look back and see what worked well, and what can be omitted or changed next time.

Use Digital Storytelling Software to create Digital Stories that reflect the customer perspective

The most important part of any digital storytelling strategy is the customer/audience perspective. This should always be at the centre of your strategy.

Your customers don’t want to hear about how great you are – they want to know the story about how you can help solve their own problems – and they want you to tell them in terms they recognize. Your stories should always show how your solution will help your customers to live and work better. They should also address any concerns that might prevent a deal.

From our experimentation and research at Purple, we have identified distinct key strategies for each sector that ensure digital storytelling offensives land on target, with the maximum impact. An immersive experience room is one of the best ways to showcase your brand digital storytelling, but the strategy and focus needs to be right. It needs to be the right story for the right audience.

The key to telling the right story for each audience is to use the right digital storytelling software. When you use a powerful enough digital storytelling software solution, you’re better able to easily use and reuse different content to suit your audience.

We believe that Hyro is the best option for this. Not only does it enable you to make unique and tailored experiences, the software is also easy to use. This turns your digital content library into a valuable resource that can be used by your employees around the world. Digital storytelling software with this kind of collaborative approach enables you to create unique brand stories that still have the same strategy, no matter where you are.

Digital Story FAQ's

How can I use digital storytelling in my sector?

Each sector has unique pain points and situations, as well as preferred modes of viewing digital stories and other digital content. You should identify the main challenges of your target audience and show how your company solves those challenges.

How do I make a digital story appeal to the audience?

Audiences love stories that reflect their own experiences. You can think outside the box here; dive into their backstory, and think about your audience as human beings. How do they balance their work and home life? What age or generation are they? What kind of music do they like or find evocative? The audience will always find stories appealing if they show how their own problems get solved.

What is Digital Storytelling software?

Digital storytelling software is a way of compiling digital content into a cohesive story. It enables people to put together videos and soundtracks in a way that flows and makes sense to unique audiences. A key feature of digital storytelling software is the ability to connect to the AV hardware setup, so it needs to work with whatever screen is available to you.

Can the Hyro Digital Storytelling software edit videos?

The Hyro Digital Storytelling software is a powerful tool for assembling unique digital stories. It is used as a post-editing content management tool that enables you to create unique versions of your brand digital story that resonates with specific audiences. This might mean using different ‘case studies’ or testimonials in a presentation, to show a situation more relevant to the actual audience, or distinct color palettes and soundtracks.

Jessica Endert

Head of Strategy and Concept @ Purple

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