Today’s content creators are corporate storytellers, engaging their page viewers with creative communications.
Internet surfers crave interactivity and visuals as well as informative text. Graphics, videos and interactive displays are now an integral part of creating viable Internet content. Corporate storytellers use a dizzying array of tools to convey their stories in powerful ways.
Still, the story is the centerpiece of creative communications. Learning to build a story on compelling facts and tell it well, using an array of pictures, videos and text, is the key to implementing successful marketing strategy.
How do corporate storytellers use creative communications?
Stories engage human emotions. They make us feel, and because of this, we remember stories. Storytelling is an ancient art, and many stories predate the written word. In many cultures stories were memorized word-for-word and taught to each successive generation, without the benefit of literacy.
Since the dawn of history, mankind has used stories to think and communicate ideas. After thousands of years, humans are still falling in love with great stories. The challenge to online corporate storytellers is to improve upon the old ways, using new technology to drive stories to new heights of interest.
How to use creative communications to write a good corporate story
Every good story has five elements: characters, setting, plot, conflict and theme. Corporate stories need four additional elements; immersion, interactivity, integration and impact.
Immersion is created through skillful use of multimedia. It heightens the sensory experience, perhaps incorporating sound effects, music and video. The interactivity of creative communications encourages consumer participation. The video game generation craves the ability to interact with media, to influence the story line or interact with characters.
The goal of integration is to tell a story across platforms and incorporate real-world elements. Impact is a powerful call to action. The story should inspire a contribution or purchase. “The Future of Storytelling,” published by Latitude, explains these principles in more depth.
The corporate storyteller’s toolbox for creative communications
In her article for Fast Company.com, Kathy Oneto, vice president of brand strategy at Anthem Worldwide, illustrates the many ways marketers use stories to promote corporations. She recounts how a new perfume, Paper Passion, was marketed using a story and creative packaging that actually looks like a book. She also cites Lego’s recent animated video that recounts the touching story of Lego’s 80-plus-year history. Her overview drives home the point of multi-media approaches and also the general goals of storytelling in 2013.
Using multi-media for creative communications
Pamela Vaughan drives home her title point, “Visual Content Trumps Text in Driving Social Media Engagement, with a simple but powerful infographic. Vaughan’s infographic was recently posted on HubSpot.
Adam Singer concurs. In his 2010 article “Data Visualization and Infographics to Tell Your Story,” Singer illustrates the many infographic possibilities and points out the ease of understanding numbers and statistics in graphic representations, compared to numbers embedded in paragraphs. Almost prophetically he points out that while some forward-thinking digital publishers were using strong graphics, most marketers are “not there yet.”
Today, we can safely say that many more have arrived. In 2013 most sites incorporate combinations of photos, videos, charts, graphs and interactive media:
- Word power – Text is often used to tell stories with great success. Throughout most of mankind’s history, text was the only way to record stories. Many skillful writers create mental imagery with words.
- Photos and Illustrations – Stories are even more memorable when accompanied by pictures. Good illustrations enable us to visualize what the writer is saying more easily. Photos are “liked” on Facebook twice as often as text or links.
- Infographics – Using display type, combined with illustrations, charts and graphic representations, speeds our comprehension rate, and makes statistical facts more interesting and memorable.
- Video – Video has taken social media by storm. Videos are shared on Facebook 12 times more frequently than article links and text posts combined. On YouTube, more than one billion unique viewers watch more than six billion hours of video each month. On Twitter, users share 700 video tweets per minute.
Corporate storytellers must use a wide range of skills to develop their stories. Creative communications with a multi-media approach usually requires a team of professionals. Writers, graphic artists and video producers work together to develop a cohesive presentation. It can be quite complex.
Occasionally a multi-talented individual can become a master corporate storyteller, managing the plot development, writing, artwork and photography. Either way, a good story presentation requires a lot of work, but the results are worth it. This type of creative communications boosts sales, enhances branding and bonds the consumer to the corporation.