Storytelling in marketing terms isn’t just about producing an advert with a narrative, it’s about telling the story of the ‘brand’ across multiple channels and using various tools and methods.

Storytelling techniques can give credibility and personality to brands both large and small.

You can build more meaningful relationships with customers by either highlighting the people behind the brand, creating a distinct tone of voice across all channels or by using the history of the brand to broaden the richness and authenticity of your story.

Join us at our Festival of Marketing, a two-day celebration of the modern marketing industry held in November, where we have an entire stage devoted to Brand & Creative.

Here speakers will help you find the right story for your brand and teach you to how to grow your business while maintaining culture and brand authenticity.

In the meantime, let's take a look at some other useful case studies.

Visa

Despite being one of the most used credit cards in the world, Visa had identified an emotional distance between its brand and its customers.

Industry research suggested that brands have people’s attention for just 6.5 seconds, so Visa created the GoInSix campaign where the brand would generate interactive content designed to motivate people to dine, shop and travel, using either six-second videos, six-image vignettes or six words.

The campaign ran across all of its social channels and Visa urged influencers to upload their own GoInSix stories.

Visa’s Facebook engagement score ranking went from seventh to first in ‘finance’ and climbed to second in all lifestyle brands. The campaign delivered 284m earned impressions, five times more than a previous Visa campaign, which had 18 times more media spend.

WaterAid

‘The Big Dig’ by WaterAid was an integrated campaign which brought fundraising, communications and country programme teams together to raise over £2.5m for WaterAid’s work in Malawi through digital storytelling.  

Mobile blogging direct from Malawi meant supporters and donators could see their support in action and meet the people they were supporting.

It was a first for the sector, using social platforms and mobile tools so that supporters could meet people whose children were dying from lack of clean water, come together with them to change it and watch as a truck drilled the borehole bringing the village clean water.

The Big Dig was WaterAid’s most successful fundraising and awareness campaign, raising £2.6m (including government matching) against a target of £1.2m and bringing clean, safe water and sanitation to 134,000 people in Malawi.

Digital channels including the Big Dig blog raised £75,000 directly, but also drove engagement and reach to increase the overall result. 7% of new supporters signed up for email updates or left a comment. 

ITV

ITV wanted to create a new multi-screen synchronised ad format that made the most of the growing audience using their smartphone and tablet to use play-along games.

While the percentage of the broadcast audience on these games is still small, it is proving to be a useful tool as it combines the storytelling potential of broadcast TV advertising with the intimacy of tablets and smartphones.

The new ad format was integrated into ITV’s play-along games so as to complement the broadcast advertising, reaching consumers on second screen devices with interactive messages synchronised with on-air spots.

The ad format was launched during The X Factor final last year, and it resulted in 252,865 impacts and 1,327,657 page views, with an average CTR of 8.75%. 

Active engagement was 38% (the percentage of page views that were actively viewed by the user swiping rather than shown automatically after 10 seconds). 

Microsoft

Microsoft needed to prove to an audience lured away from IE9 by Google Chrome, that its browser was just as exciting, fast and easy to use.

Microsoft teamed up with director Edgar Wright and illustrator Tommy Lee Edwards to create an animated story, The Random Adventures of Brandon Generator.

After each film, the viewer was able to contribute ideas, messages, prose and drawings through an interactive hub, all using the capabilities of IE9.

The crowdsourced, immersive story led to:  

  • 600,000 unique visitors to the Brandon Generator site
  • 10,000 crowd-sourced entries to create subsequent chapters
  • 308,342 organic YouTube views
  • 12.2m media-driven YouTube views
  • IE market share finished ahead of target (target: 51.8%, actual: 53.9%)
  • 1.7m IE9 downloads

IKEA

In 2011 the IKEA catalogue had more competition from other print and online publications than ever. The catalogue needed reinvention, however it needed more than a digital-only solution.

Ikea created an augmented reality application to enable smart-phone users to unlock extended content. This enhanced the experience of reading the catalogue, thereby breathing new life into its pages and giving consumers a continuous brand experience.

The design, technology and storytelling overhaul turned the catalogue experience into an evolving innovation platform, which generated real time insight around consumer preference. 

Globally, the app was the No.1 downloaded marketing app for a brand in 2012 and the catalogue received three times the attention of the 2011 catalogue.

The new print and app experience led to an increase in engagement with a six minute time spent in app vs. the average 3 min with just the catalogue. The 42 scannable pages saw a 35 % increase in scanning. The app was downloaded 6.2m times.

Manchester United

Manchester United has a massive global following, with more than 300m fans in Asia alone. Connecting with this fanbase is a key part of the club’s strategy.

It identified that social media platforms are one of the primary methods by which it engages and transacts with its global following, and can be used to create new revenue streams. 

Man United launched an official Facebook page in 2010 and posts an average of ten times a day, often running competitions to capture data and using content to support sponsors’ requirements, as well as running polls and asking fans’ opinions. Its timeline also displays the history of the club.

In July 2013 the club launched a presence on both Twitter and Chinese site Sina Weibo.

On Twitter, it taps into its players’ individual followings, with Q&As as well as news, with an average of ten tweets a day. It also tweets lots of photos as well as sharing fixture updates and infographics. A similar approach is taken on Seina Weibo, with the majority of posts hitting over 100 shares within a few hours.

With over 34.5m Facebook 'likes', MUFC is one of the most popular brands on Facebook. Both Twitter and Sina Weibo accounts attracted over 700,000 followers within just over a month of launching, with the majority of Twitter posts averaging over 700 retweets. Its Google+ page also acquired more than 40,000 followers within less than a month.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 3 November, 2014 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Richard Trus, Moderator at Google Local Guides Toronto

Thanks Christopher Ratcliff for the great post with examples showing content you were discussing and the metrics of the results. - Richard Trus

11 months ago

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