Relaying brand essence through digital storytelling

Learn how to unlock the power of stories to convey your brand essence more effectively.

Quantifying the strength of a brand is always challenging, but hardly anyone denies that a powerful brand is a tremendous asset for any business. But even once you’ve gone through the process of defining your brand essence, conveying that to your audience remains challenging.

Oftentimes, this is done through the brute force of repetition. Find a way to distill your brand essence into a few simple phrases and throw them up on your packaging, some page of your website, and anywhere else you can. Then, hope someone in your audience reads them.

The problem is, this technique is hardly very effective. We advocate using digital storytelling to convey your brand essence. In short, you’re harnessing the power of storytelling to create memorable associations with your brand.

Defining your brand essence

Here, you’re aiming to distill your brand down to a single word which captures the central emotion you want to associate it with. This could be “safe,” “adventurous,” “strong,” or any number of similar adjectives. It needs to be authentic and capable of scaling with your brand (trust us, you don’t want to suddenly find you need a new brand essence once you try to scale).

Finding your brand essence isn’t the focus of this article, but you can use examples and a more in-depth guide to get you started if you’re still at that stage.

Deciding how to present your brand essence

This is where the true challenge begins. You need to work out who your audience is and, even more importantly, where they spend their digital time.

Choosing the right media

Honestly, we’re fans of video simply because it gives you the most options. From a video you can create shorter videos, audio content like podcasts, memes and other images, etc. It does require more investment than producing audio, but in most cases the range of micro content you can create from a single video makes the investment worth it.

That said, consider your capabilities when it comes to producing audio or video content. Do you have in-house talent who could do that or would you need to hire an external agency? Something like a podcast might be an easier option, but be aware that its reach will be more limited.

Choosing the right platforms

Ironically enough, while you do want to consider where your audience currently is, it’s worth experimenting with all platforms to better understand how your content might appeal to new audiences. The cost of putting out content on another platform is pretty low relative to the valuable information you can gather about how your content resonates. This is why we recommend content repurposing on multiple platforms (more on that below).

Creating the content to present your brand essence

The key thing to keep in mind here is that your content has to stand on its own. You’re far better off starting with content that’s entertaining and engaging but needs some tweaks to better get your brand essence across than the other way around.

There are a few basic types of video or audio series you can use as a template for your own. You’ve got the interview, reaction video, behind-the-scenes, and documentary. We break them all down in more detail here, but think about which one of these will best match your brand essence. For example, if you’re about deep-diving then a documentary or behind-the-scenes program might be ideal. If you’re about exploration, then an interview series might work better.

Bear in mind, you can always experiment early on, trying out different formats until something sticks. Either way, what you’re relying on is what we call episodic content marketing. By creating episodes in a series, you give your audience more of a reason to subscribe to see what’s coming next and this recurring format gives you space to better develop your brand essence.

An example of brand essence through digital storytelling

In this video, you can see how Ernest Packaging gets its brand essence of authenticity across in a behind-the-scenes style video. The content is engaging even if you’ve never given the packaging industry a thought in your life. Their other videos give employees and their founder a chance to talk about the story of the company while giving you insight into how they do what they do.

Wistia’s documentary series “One, Ten, One Hundred” is an even more compelling example. It draws in people who would be interested in Wistia anyways, reinforces their brand essence, and creates something engaging that people want to watch regardless. The result has been millions of views, likely resulting in millions of hours watched.

Think about how else you could get prospective customers to engage with your company for that long and you’ll see why episodic marketing is one of the best ways to convey your brand essence.

Why a content repurposing strategy gives you the best ROI

Considering the heavy investment needed to develop high quality story-driven content to relay your brand essence, you need to be able to extract as much value out of each episode as possible. You might want to consider hiring an external agency to help with this. Either way, the process of cutting up your content into smaller microcontent is the best way to extract more value out of the content you worked so hard to create.

Trying to work out where to start?

Creating a brand essence is hard enough, but getting into digital storytelling is a big jump. Even if you’ve got experience in one, you’re probably not so great with the other, Fortunately, we’ve got years of experience helping companies create engaging episodic content to help drive their marketing goals. If you’re interested to learn more, or just want to chat about the process, feel free to have a chat with us.

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