Why you need visual storytelling platform to boost your marketing?

Storytelling is a progressive marketing strategy that has the potential to drive revenue and increase customer retention. How a person feels about your company, or your brand, typically determines whether they will buy your product. When you tell a story that embodies human challenges, you create an experience that resonates with your customers.

The importance of storytelling

Storytelling is a strategy which brands utilize in order to help their target audience not only learn about their products and services, but also to form an emotional connection that will lead them to remain loyal to the company for years to come.

Traditional corporate messaging simply spews out ads about new offerings, sales, and other company news, but storytelling helps the business owners, or marketing team, to focus on one overarching theme, and craft all of the messaging (text and imagery) around that topic.

Today’s consumers are becoming increasingly less interested in standard banner advertisements and old-fashioned sales promises. In today’s highly-competitive business space, you need to invest in a lot more than just a shiny billboard or social media ad if you want to get your customer’s attention.

The modern consumer is heavily investing in the brand “narrative”. That’s more than just your sales pitch or your USP – It’s your identity, your background, and your brand voice. It’s the way you communicate with your audience and your internal team, and it’s revealed in everything you do.

How storytelling drives business growth

Storytelling in business is often regarded as a buzzword, but it’s far from it.

Stories have meaning besides the simple entertainment value. Good stories put your company and your product or service in a bigger context. The context must be familiar to your target customers. If your business is a protagonist in your story who helps your target customers solve their problems within the specific context, you just made your brand a hero. People are naturally drawn to problem solvers.

To pitch an idea you need to tell a story of the problem you’re solving. To develop a product, you need more than a solution to a problem, but to create a context where this product exists. Your brand as a protagonist in your story must serve as a bridge to help your target customer overcome their problem and arrive to their desired destination.

Storytelling is not inventing a story. In fact, the very reason why your business exists, why you have developed products and services, and why you do what you do is filled with stories. Everything you do always fits in that broader narrative: from events and content to campaigns. You want to fulfil needs, respond to questions, engage on an emotional level, connect, find your voice and listen to voices of your audience. And the ways you have developed solutions and a value proposition is all about stories.

Think about how your brand was born, what inspired you to create the company and what your personal mission is. But most of all think about what the needs of your audience were when doing so. This is a story right in front of you: your company is a protagonist on the journey to face a challenge that needs overcoming. Create this story, and people will start caring about you and, in turn, about your product or service.

The case of Skype shows how stories can drive the growth of a company. In 2012, Skype needed its customers to transition from using Skype only for important “milestone” life events to using it on regular basis. To advance that goal, Skype created a new marketing strategy, promoting stories about customers using Skype for “everyday moments.” Skype developed the criteria for determining which customer stories would be the most impactful, generated and harnessed those stories, and used the best four stories to launch a successful video marketing campaign in 2013. The company was able to measure the impact of the story-based campaign and moving forward, Skype had to determine how to amplify or market the stories in a way that served its business goals. It also had to make hard choices about how much of its resources to devote to storytelling as a marketing tool. Internally, the company was building a storytelling culture, which was driving teams to be more aligned and committed, and bringing employees closer to the storytelling approach on a regular basis.

The power of storytelling in marketing

The power of storytelling in marketing didn’t just appear. Brands like Coca Cola, Marks and Spencer, BrewDog, and many others, have been using the art and science of stories to their advantage for decades now. The reason is that while the average person consumes more than 100,000 digital words each day, 92% of consumers would prefer to get those words in the form of a story.

Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to breathe life into your brand and is often called one of the main components for a content marketing approach. By giving your products and services an identity and by capturing and sharing the stories around them, you can take your target audience on a journey that they yearn to experience. In order for consumers to form a personal connection with your brand, company stories must be authentic, creative and inspirational.

Stories are captivating for a reason. From childhood through adulthood, we are drawn to the lessons we learn, the exciting journeys we embark upon, the knowledge we gain and the opportunity to unleash our imaginations.

When crafting your brand story, you must illustrate what your voice is, what you stand for and why it matters to the lives of the audience that have their own stories. Outline the actual steps to be taken and show your audience how they can recognize the path towards their desired destination. The selling part must be creative, yet subtle and indirect.

To drive conversions you need a good storytelling campaign, and a good storytelling campaign must be personal and must trigger the emotion. When you affect the way someone feels, you affect the way they act. Creating an emotional connection with your customers can lead them to do things they’d normally guard against, like spending money on your products.

To create a successful marketing campaign, you need a cohesive story of the brand with a company vision that spans all channels and campaigns.

The case of Budweiser shows us in a best way the power of storytelling in marketing. During the 2014 Super Bowl, Budweiser purchased a 60-second commercial spot that cost them more than $4 million. The commercial scored top honors in two separate polls for being the most popular among viewers. The YouTube video of the spot has well over 58 million views as of August 2015, and the commercial was ranked as the second most effective commercial of the 2014 Super Bowl. How did a commercial for beer inspire that kind of response? It worked because of the power of storytelling.

How to choose the right medium for your story

Storytelling as a concept is as old as mankind. Storytelling, whether factual or fictional, is an intrinsic human characteristic. However, the way we communicate with others has changed drastically over time.

Storytelling originated with visual stories, such as cave drawings, and then shifted to oral traditions, in which stories were passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth. There was then a shift to words formed into narratives, including written, printed and typed stories.

Due to the use of advancing technologies, such as the printing press, the camera, and the internet and its social media platforms, the way we tell others stories and keep ourselves informed about current topics has shifted to a more all-encompassing experience. Technology has allowed humans to utilize all forms of storytelling through the years: visual stories in photographs, spoken stories in videos and recordings and written words on blogs and statuses.
All of these platforms allow users to express their thoughts in a public manner with everyone on the Internet or to choose with whom to share their information. Twitter and Facebook allow users to post statuses, photos and videos of memories and personal stories. Instagram, a photographic-based platform, enables users to share only photos or videos.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of shortcomings to the use of current social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to tell the stories.

Businesses with good products and sound marketing tactics are running into issues they don’t expect.That’s because having a market, a product, and an effective marketing strategy are only parts of a whole system.

No matter where you promote your content, the channel always defines the rules. Facebook decides how it portrays your images, and doesn’t give you much organic reach anymore. Ranking on Google is an uphill battle that may take years to win. And every other social media platform, search engine, and marketplace is the same.

They all, to some degree, dictate how you interact with their platforms and thus your audience. According to Neil Patel, this is an issue across the dozens of channels at your disposal.

„The platform you choose will always limit your marketing in some way. And then you have to take another step back and look at your competition within the channel you’ve chosen. Competition in any industry will always be huge. There are 6,829 companies that all have viable products in just one industry. They’re all using the same channels to promote their products. They all face the same limitations. And all of them are seeking to win new customers each year. With all this competition, simply creating a better product and creating a marketing campaign is no guarantee that you will stand out.“

So the real question is: how do you equip yourself with a storytelling strategy and a medium of communication that are proven and effective?

A platform for visual storytelling is what businesses need in 2019

We have built phlow, because we feel that there is no choice out there. In 2019, businesses need much more than a social media focused on chasing likes and followers that bring $0 sale. We need a new medium of communication, a collaborative content media for sharing meaningful stories and reaching out to the right audience.

phlow is a new platform for visual storytellers. It’s a content media tailored to creatives, enabling them to tell the stories without limiting their creativity. Using photos from the community, or uploading your own, you can start telling stories. You can combine visuals and text to convey your message. You can add links to direct your readers to your website or online store, and you can easily share them on virtually any platform you want.

By creating your stories in phlow, you get access to more than 100k monthly phlow users who will easily find your stories organically. One of the main advantages of phlow is that our users see only the content that is relevant to their interests. This means that users who find and interact with your stories are indeed your right audience!

Our algorithm is not and will never be under the veil of mystery, leaving our users uninformed on how to make their content stand-out. Our behavioural engine transforms users’ behaviour in numeric values, that translate into content relevance. We use this to target ads and foster the engagement within the community.

Visual stories that are authentic, compelling, and that convey your message in a humanised way have the potential to expand relationships between your brand and your customers in a much more meaningful way and drive a much deeper level of engagement and conversions.

Curious to see how phlow would work for your business? Try it out now!

Jovana is a marketer with a university degree in International Marketing and a postgraduate degree in Marketing Management. She has almost 10 years of experience in marketing jobs in various industries and business types and a proven track record of over 50 successfully delivered projects related to digital marketing and business growth.
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