#RoadTo2021: How to ace storytelling in 2021?

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Anupama Ramaswamy, Managing Partner & National Creative Director, dentsu Impact, shares a few methods and tactics to master the art of storytelling.

Storytelling isn’t new.

It has been around forever. The recent shift in storytelling is because of the change in behaviors. The millennials are actually creating and sharing stories every day. These have helped them stay in touch, build bonds, and stay top of mind. The same should be replicated by marketeers. This is an era of short attention spans with multiple contents always competing for attention.

There are no rules and honestly, trends are passe’.

So, I don’t really believe in tips and tricks which supposedly can gauge what lies ahead. But there are certain behavioral changes that can be studied, and these may help us in choosing an effective way to tell a story.

One thing we have noticed is that the customers of today crave authenticity. When actual users talk about the products and therefore, come into the spotlight, other consumers believe them and start relating.

PR can help create new narratives for brands. Virtual reality (VR), 360-degree videos, and any kind of interactive asset which helps in exploration, and makes people feel inspired should work.

We all know social distancing is here to stay, but at the same time, there is a strong desire to stay connected. And the digital space is coming to the rescue in innovative ways. Virtual events will become the new way to launch products, engage, and persuade consumers.

Reduced face-to-face interactions make brands rely on the digital space. But with compelling storytelling, they can attract the attention of customers even if they have a hundred other tabs open on their browsers. 

Brands have been collecting data for years. While using data to generate insights into customer trends and preferences is already common practice, more brands will tap into their existing database to create hyper-personalized stories and messaging.

Also Read: #RoadTo2021: Marketing strategies for flexible workspaces

From language localization to recommendations that help increase the likelihood of purchase, brands have already begun leveraging data. These customized insights make us feel special and will eventually generate customer loyalty.

A change we may see is with influencer marketing. While brands prefer to maintain creative control when working with influencers and like to direct influencers regarding what kind of tone, time, or language to use,  I believe this will shift towards influencer-driven storytelling.

Consumers are wary of influencers and consider them to be mouthpieces of brands. If influencers have more control over the narrative and storytelling the content would come across as authentic.

FOMO will be a big motivator.

Everyone is afraid of missing out. It’s human. When we use this to talk to the audience and motivate them to take action, the storytelling will push them towards engaging and buying.

Data-driven storytelling is something we all are talking about. It will also see a sharp increase. Look at how Spotify uses its year-end-wrap-up. How we use this to engage better is something we should see in the coming time.

And lastly, even though we have committed to a digitally-driven world, what we still crave is genuine connections. It is important to remember that people engage with people. So, the context of the story must be a human, not a transactional relationship.

Customers will want to get a sense of a company as if it were a person. The purpose will now take the centre stage as the heart of marketing. Finding brand purpose will be central to a brand’s growth, thinking, and success. It actually reflects trustworthiness and authenticity.

Once brands have found their purpose, one that fits with product and brand ethos, it can help build a higher-order emotional bond with all stakeholders.

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