Brands have analysed data to discover vital facts to tell a story that has deeper cultural significance says India's Arpan Jain.
India is the land of stories. Ancient epics like the Mahabharata and Ramayana are examples of how stories can deeply influence the cultural belief of the whole Indian subcontinent and a greater part of the rest of Asia.
These stories have been narrated in numerous forms and styles. The art of storytelling has evolved over the years, from visual stories to cave paintings, to oral traditions. While some narrate, others employ props like puppets, mask and even musical instruments.
There are some that are told through the medium of dance and music, simply spoiling its audience with choices. From the early days, storytelling has been our method of teaching, persuading, and communicating. Our brains are hardwired to respond to storytelling. Over the year’s brands have leveraged storytelling as the bedrock of branded communication. They developed one key message, focused on a few formats and crafted it with artistry.
Modern storytelling has taken many forms, brands are finding new ways to connect, persuade, and drive human emotion.
Today audiences are scrolling through nearly 300 feet of content in a single day—the size of a cricket ground pitch— Some absorb visual storytelling, while some listen to voices intently - instead of binge-watching, they prefer binge-listening. Some wish to touch and interact to truly absorb an experience. Others need to be fully immersed in sights, sounds, and even smells of an experience to fully absorb the message.
So, understanding audiences’ interests, behaviour, motivations have become more important than ever. Speaking to them as individuals and not consumers, connecting with them at personal and emotional level will increase empathy, connectedness and attention.
Data can help us understand this by bringing to light great insights and intriguing facts which make for unusual, creative, and inspiring stories that resonate with audience in meaningful way.
Brands have analysed data to discover vital facts to tell a story that has deeper cultural significance.
Research revealed that one out of two women in the country is anaemic due to iron deficiency. During Dhanteras, an auspicious day on which devotees worship wealth and purchase gold, DSM (Dutch State Mines) urged women to invest in another element—iron and give iron levels in their bodies an equal importance as the precious metal. Here data helped narrow down on an occasion which not only targeted the right audience but also gave the brand an opportunity to take a creative twist on traditions.
Brands are increasingly harnessing data to predict what will connect with the audience. Google, the powerhouse of data, does that each year with their ‘year in search’ videos - two-minute film crafted out of the trending searches of the year showcasing footage of the pivotal moments – both joyful and tragic. This evokes a strong range of emotions from viewers as it encompasses stories that the audience themselves have cared about and searched.
Over 163 million people in rural areas across India don’t have access to clean drinking water, causing serious health issues and agricultural loss. Yet an average shower in urban areas uses 65 litres of water! This hard-hitting fact was brought to life by HUL in a compelling and emotional story.
Popular spoken word platform Kommune has a discovery team that works across the country to collect data on what people care about and find topics that audiences would be interested in. For example, teens talk about love, mental health and family, 40 plus audience prefers humour and lighter content, etc. They use these data to craft and curate stories that will resonate with the right audience
Brands should take inspiration from OTT platforms such as Netflix and Prime Video which are exploring innovative and interactive forms of storytelling.
So much so that their popular shows have become the topic of conversations at dinner party and office banter. We can expect similar kind of storytelling from the brands as well.
Brands can create “Adisodes” where multiple content films of a campaign could be released episodically. Each Adisode is connected to form a larger story, while still being effective as a standalone content piece. Comments and interaction at the end of each episode can help generate data to target the viewers for upcoming Adisodes and start a conversation.
“Bandersnatch” is another way to go, where you are giving audiences the option to select their own desired outcome through the course of the content via multiple choices, making it a truly customized viewing experience. Viewers are in control of the story and therefore more invested in the storytelling than a linear narrative. It will give brands a plethora of permutations and combinations to tell their story, almost gamifying it, where the right decision can lead the viewer to a more rewarding experience.
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