Until recently, creative publishers dominated the nascent digital storytelling trend. They use digitized audio/visual, animation and interactive technology to teach skills and explore subjects and causes. In the past two years, many more articles and books about using digital storytelling to relay their messages have been directed at marketers, financial analysts, and sales managers. Concomitantly, engaging the audience interactively is trending.
Engaging the audience stimulates audience interests and senses and the creative expression of authors and marketers. Publishing across compatible social media devices is critical for the process to succeed in communicating pivotal points the author and business want the audience to take away or actions they want the audience to take.
Teachers and librarians use digital storytelling in stimulating the imaginations of children and to encourage children to tell how they feel and what they think about topics. The side effect is to increase students’ technology literacy and skills. There are university classes in journalism using digital storytelling to improve journalistic writing skills. Columbia University offers a lab in digital storytelling.
Digital storytelling is being used to make history relatable in museums, to improve patient healthcare, and for religious instruction. Mary F. Wright and Karen Ryan are pioneers in the use of DS in higher education. They produced in 2009 five stories about life experiences and diverse identities. Writing in International Journal of Media, Technology & Lifelong Learning (2010), they conclude, “The digital storyteller becomes keenly attuned to the critical relationship of word, image and sound, bringing the audience directly to the moment of the experience.”
Selling the Lifebuoy Story Sells the Brand
Stories are becoming the power driver for brand development. Lifebuoy soap marketers built brand awareness by first publishing on Facebook-India the strong emotional story about Gondappa. The story detailed the diarrhea epidemic among children, pointing out it can be stemmed by hand washing with soap and personal hygiene. Their three-minute film story (advertisement) spread across social media garnering over 20 million views, helping build Lifebuoy brand among the world’s second largest population.
Coca Cola’s Storytelling
It is important to get it right, and the best way to do that is to use an outsourcer with experience in the field of digital storytelling for business. An outsource company is helping launch Coca-Cola 2020, the Coca Cola company’s most ambitious marketing redesign since 1995.
Forget press releases and big-name stars; for Coke, marketing is best told as a story. According to research by Monica Savut @ Econsultancy (2013), digital storytelling tells the world what Coke means to generations of drinkers through compelling and captivating stories that accomplish the following goals:
* Telling the audience why the consumer cares about the story
* Surprising the audience
* Offering universal appeal
* Generating interest among consumers while linking to business objectives
* Measuring data like search generations after the ad/story launch through technology the audience uses
* Being culturally relevant
The Marshall McLuhan axiom, “The medium is the message,” takes on new meaning in the digital age, exemplified by digital storytelling.