I sat glued to my seats while watching J.K. Rowling's movie titled "Crimes of Grindelwald". Whilst the ending kept me wondering whats going to happen next, it laid down some solid concepts for how storytelling can do wonders to businesses.
Storytelling is a skill that has been passed down for generations on end and will continue to see it's fair share of uses in the modern world.
This article talks specifically how businesses benefit from good storytelling in branding. The gaming and movie industries have used storytelling to significant effect, and give massive sales records. We study deeper into the factors required for a solid storytelling campaign. They include:
Determine the setting appropriate to your business
Choose a setting that suits your business. Firstly you have to identify the tone and style of your business and match the story to it. If your brand tries to be "magical" then maybe a story like J.K. Rowling's could be appropriate.
It requires a certain level of detail to bring the type of imagination to your audience's mind. The more details, the more realistic. Thinking of a room? Make sure you cover the flooring, to windows, to the tables and more. As they say, the devil's in the details.
Take note however, if you don't do the planning and story right, you may get confusion like: "How the heck did that beast get there?"
And funny memes will come to you. (may not be a bad thing)
Once the setting has been setup, the characters has to bring out the flair of the story. Ideally the character has to represent either the business or as the user. We will adopt two examples here, one of an advertisement and one of a movie (or game).
In all advertisements, the business has to consider two roles - the business (solver) itself and the customer (who has a problem). The story-teller has to decide if there will two characters playing both roles, or only one is shown and the other is transparent. For example, the business may be representing itself in terms of the clothes and colors (fashion), or the product (an app), or an actual person talking on behalf of the business.
In movies and games, audiences typically like to follow someone, with something to root for. Many stories include an element where the character grows and sometimes struggle. Struggles often bring a deeper engagement to the viewer.
Also, a supporting cast may be necessary to mesh the whole story together. A great antagonist may go a long way into shining more light on the protagonist.
Once the setting and characters are lined up, a set direction and or destination has to be planned. The ending should be predetermined, and activities between the start and end are added to add depth. These activities in the middle build and improve on the story and bring deeper content for the characters and setting.
It is also very important to note that if you add non-necessary elements into your story, it could bring about confusion. In many cases, the audience may even call it draggy! A story is a well-oiled machine, and it could do without extra baggage to function more efficiently.
One thing we note that works to grab the attention of audiences is when there's some form of conflict. Internal conflict is one major one. A solution to these conflicts give a meaningful bearing on the overall story. What seems to capture hearts is when the conflict requires a deep consideration of good versus bad.
Lighting has the potential to influence the mood of a story. and should should match the story. If the story is moody shadows and a tinge of darkness helps enhance that. If the story of the mood is happy and upbeat, the environment should be well lit and open. Just compare the lighting scenario between a horror flick and a comedy, and it should drive the point home.
Do take note that in advertisements, lighting can ensure a positive branding image to your business. Too many dark colors may give a negative image to your product.
Storytelling for the gaming world
The game Red Dead Redemption has incorporated most of the factors mentioned above, and that is the basis for its success. The setting is as detailed as it gets where both time and geographical location are the best possible pics for the storyline. Based on a historically lawless period in America commonly referred to as the “Old West” or the “Wild West.”
You can see from the gameplay that the creators pulled out all the stops to make it look and seem as close to the real thing as possible.The characters fit the setting, and the details match. Examples include attire, guns, mode of transportation. There is not an element out of place, and that serves to immerse the player fully into the game’s world.
In the game The Walking Dead the main focus is on another aspect of storytelling: the characters. Albeit all other factors are incorporated the characters take the cake as the top attraction. Right at the beginning, the game-play aims to get the player attached emotionally to some of the characters.
They succeed in this respect, and that is part of the reason that later versions exhibit so much success. Initial players can’t wait to find out what happens next for their favorite character.
Also, the fact that the game gives the illusion of control to the player in some of the choices the character makes is bound to increase interest. Being in the fourth installation people will continue to purchase the game even in later seasons due to their love of the characters.
Storytelling for the business world.
Businesses can go one step ahead by using stories to bring out their brand ethos. This forbes article describes how Coca Cola put their product at the center of the story so much so that the story would be incomplete without it.
They already have the recognition, but they want to go a step further and associate certain feelings with their drinks. A look into a few of their advertisements and you will see that their drinks are associated with happiness, social aptitude, and more.
A familiar business quote is that “people buy emotions not things.” They never buy a shoe or a car or a new jacket. They purchase the feelings that come from acquiring these things. Storytelling is crucial because it has the potential to associate good feelings with products as Coca-Cola has done so well. This has been reiterated in a Forbes article on the business to business marketing field as well.
Storytelling is not just for big brands, games, and movies. It can also help with marketing for small businesses. Making sure that your brand and your products have a story to tell that your customers can associate with could launch you to new heights and a higher profit margin.
Have you attempted to use stories to bring your brand forward and what are the ones that you think work well for you?
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