Corporate digital storytelling is a vital part of any corporate brand strategy. It demonstrably shortens sales cycles and improves the depth of customer relationships. In this article, we look at how you can successfully deploy storytelling, whatever sector you operate in. We’ll define exactly what digital storytelling is, how to deploy a digital storytelling strategy and process, and which rules you should always follow – regardless of which sector your business operates in.
What is digital storytelling?
Digital storytelling is the application of storytelling using digital media. This can include immersive experiences, short films, videos, and short-form or micro-content. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, digital storytelling can also be applied to newer formats including social media and microblogging. The one crucial ingredient is the storytelling itself.
Storytelling is special because it reflects how our brains naturally process and retrieve complex data. While we can ‘cram’ facts and figures using an intentional process, storytelling simply hitches a ride on our natural train of thought.
It can present complex and interrelated ideas, emotional contexts and experiences in a way our brains are just waiting to lap up.
How to do digital storytelling the right way
There are two main parts to creating a successful digital story: your strategy, and your process.
The strategy is the blueprint for your digital storytelling offensive. It includes your objectives, and what you want to communicate, of course – but something else too. It needs to have the customer perspective. Your storytelling strategy should always be about the challenges of your customer/audience for it to have impact. When your strategy combines these two sides to the story, you have a better chance of reaching the audience on an emotional level – and this is what digital stories are especially good at.
Your process is the way you approach the writing and creation of the digital story, as well as the media you use.
A digital story writing process consists of the following steps:
- Concept development – A free-thinking brainstorm over what you want to communicate.
- Planning – Formulate your strategy, and identify what matters to your audience.
- Create an outline and script – Draw out the flow of your story. Write a script so you can say everything you need to, and plan which scenes are needed.
- Storyboard – It helps to plan your filming and content creation when you have a good storyboard. It also highlights gaps in the ‘flow’.
- Filming – Record your story! You can use a combination of real-life and animated sequences, interview and testimonial formats to gain depth and show ideas.
- Post-production – This is a time consuming process that’s made easier with good digital storytelling software.
- Publish/Show – Finally you can share your story with the world. Use an immersive experience to get the biggest impact, or online videos to reach wider audiences. Again, the right digital storytelling software makes it easier to scale to multiple locations.
- Review – Always go back and see what worked really well, and what needs improvement in the future.
Digital storytelling: rules to follow
Digital storytelling can take numerous forms and formats. It can range from complex fully immersive experiences, blended events and VR, to short YouTube videos or games. In any case, you should follow these rules.
Rules for successful Digital Storytelling:
- Always have clear objectives from the start. Know what you want to accomplish with your brand story.
- Always make sure that the people who present your story are able to do it the right way. This is especially important for immersive experiences, where the presenter guides the experience and sets the tone for the event.
- Always use digital tools that make it easier. Use a powerful digital storytelling software solution like Hyro, which is designed to make it easy to use a common content library to create diverse and targeted stories that reach specific audiences.
- Always see Digital Storytelling as an extension of your brand story.
- Never allow your objectives to become muddled. Keep to a simple plan or you’ll confuse the audience.
- Never let yourself be limited by what you have (or haven’t) done before. Dream big and show the world what you’re capable of.
- Never fool yourself into thinking that Digital Storytelling doesn’t need work. It does. But with a strategic approach, hard work, and a compelling story, you’re sure to win.
One final Digital Storytelling Tip
Remember the audience always wants to experience a story that is ‘about them’ – this will have the most significant emotional impact. It doesn’t need to be all about them, but it should illustrate their struggles and, ideally, the fact that you recognize and understand those struggles. It should also clearly demonstrate how you are offering a solution to their problems. If you can further connect their emotional experience to your solution it’ll help to cement a deeper connection to your own brand story.
Each distinct audience will have its own distinct background and challenges, so you should be able to show different versions of your story that are relatable for each audience. To do this successfully, you need the right digital storytelling software.
With the right storytelling software, you should be able to easily use and re-use a digital content library. It should also enable you to display your story through any medium or AV setup. Collaboration is at the heart of the digital creative process, so make sure you choose digital storytelling software that can enable collaboration with creative partners around the world using a cloud-based service. This way, you’re also not limited by physical location – you can take your digital story anywhere you want, and this will help you reach the right audiences.