When do you create storytelling content in digital marketing?


One wonderful way to persuade and influence has been storytelling. We tend to remember and recall better when we are exposed to stories as part of storytelling. It is no surprise our emotional being connects immediately when we recall stories shared with us in our journey of life. From how my grandparents survived through world war two through working and cultivating the land when food was scarce. The story of how my eldest boy said papa or when the time he rode his bicycle successfully the first time. Stories have been known to be passed down through generations as it was advocated in biblical times when parents are commanded to write the laws of the Lord in their hearts and share these stories to the next generation for continuity.

In the online world, there have been numerous recommendations to have stronger narratives and storytelling elements when building a brand in the online world. In the article of the power of consumer stories in a digital world, Gosline, Lee, & Urban (2017) explained that there have been 32% of the increase in purchase consideration when stories were deployed in their digital marketing messages. These results validate the need to integrate an intentional need to superimpose strong narratives into the daily digital marketing scripts. However, supporting from the research above, Harmeling, Bleier, & Palmatier (2019) in their research also highlighted a common must do observation before your story tell, is your Brand trustable?

Building brand trust is an important element in unlocking further conversion in e-commerce business. While many brands have many years of brick & mortar exposure, a less expose brand may have challenges to alleviate their brand consideration or even awareness if it is a young brand.

When a brand is relatively new or rather a startup, the authors have suggested different elements to approach this in the eCommerce world. In their research of a sample size of 10,470 respondents, they have asked a few sets of questions that are presented below:

“[Brand] seems to have much knowledge about what needs to be done to fulfill online transactions”;

“[Brand] appears to be well qualified in the area of e-commerce”;

“[Brand] appears to try hard to be fair in dealing with others”;

“Sound principles seem to guide [Brand]’s behavior.”

Participants responded on a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree)”

This methodology assisted in developing a sense of understanding where the brand stands in the eyes of the consumer.

When a brand is “less” trustable, usage of entertainment pages helps to reduce some of these brand trust elements. The usage of entertainment helps to move consumers more to emotional cues. A bigger picture and even star ratings are a recommendation to address content creation in Amazon Marketplace.

Referencing back to the earlier comment on building narratives, here are some concrete recommendations to build storylines into your digital marketing strategy

Partner with your consumers to generate content
Dive deeper into your social media listening activities of your consumers to curate more content for your brand journey
Transform stories into good quality videos
Create stories with good quality videos. However, Gosline, Lee, and Urban (2017) advocate that storytelling in videos should be good quality but not too professional done as it will lose the emotional hook. Consumers avoid these.

Embed consumer stories into your social media feeds
Simple and powerful referencing pushes your brand acceptability

Brands need to understand what type of product that is being offered before stories creation. If a product is a technical type of product or medical type solution, telling stories can be rather distracting. In this scenario, stay hygiene with strong product specification communication with the basic what and how supported with comparison charts. For example, if you are offering wireless routers, storytelling will not do the trick. Keep it technical with comparison charts. Storytelling works best with products that require more sensory and social selling cues. A close-up of actor or actress using fashionable products allows consumers to connect at the social and sensory level. Sharing of meals on a family table touches the emotional aspect of community and sensory of love.

Therefore, as we take the brave step of embarking on brand storytelling, determine what type of product you are offering, determine your brand trust level and execute an intentional storytelling journey in your digital marketing efforts. Finally, as always in digital marketing, observe, assess and readjust when necessary. Have a wonderful journey.

Gosline, R. R., Lee, J., & Urban, G. (2017). The Power of Consumer Stories in Digital Marketing. MITSloan Management Review.

Harmeling, C. M., Bleier, A., & Palmatier, R. W. (2019, 12 1). hbr.org. Retrieved from Harvard Business
Review: https://hbr.org/2019/11/how-to-design-product-pages-that-increase-online-sales

Photo credit: https://www.connectingup.org/learn/articles/five-story-telling-elements-your-next-funding-
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Doh Hau Goh
Goh Doh Hau is in the leadership team of Garganto, a boutique style digital marketing agency and ecommerce builder. He enjoys marrying evidence-based research with observation insights to curate gems of practical information. He is a MBA graduate from Sydney Business School (University of Wollongong)

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Doh Hau Goh
Goh Doh Hau is in the leadership team of Garganto, a boutique style digital marketing agency and ecommerce builder. He enjoys marrying evidence-based research with observation insights to curate gems of practical information. He is a MBA graduate from Sydney Business School (University of Wollongong)