Storytelling is a form of narrative in which certain messages, values and knowledge are conveyed using a story. In areas of human communication, literature or media studies, storytelling is one of the standard canons of many disciplines and scientific discourses. Multimedia storytelling, i.e. storytelling with new media, is currently experiencing a renaissance in marketing in particular.
The story in storytelling is different from a simple narrative in which the author transports the content, for example by using a narrator or protagonist. The author and the narrator are two different characters. This difference is supposed to lead to listeners and readers being able to identify with the protagonist in a different way. Similarities, human weaknesses or a conflict of action ensure that listeners and readers better absorb the narrated story and put themselves into the narrator's perspective.
The purpose of this distinction, however, is also to convey knowledge and values – through the stylistic means of narration via protagonist, the meaning of the story, the point or certain values can be better conveyed. This is achieved, among other things, by the narrator not using a direct, factual approach, but rather pictorial actions, metaphors or his own thoughts and feelings.
Storytelling in this form allows the listener or reader to better understand and grasp the meaning of the story. He remembers what should be transported. The way in which a story is told determines the perception of the story by readers and listeners. Storytelling is therefore a form of infotainment.
The principle of storytelling is now often used. In literature and media studies, it is a matter of course, but in corporate communication and marketing it has been in use for some years now. The simple communication of facts and product highlights is not always well received by customers and business partners. This is particularly evident when marketers move away from the beaten track and pick up customers when they have a problem to recommend their products to them.
Companies are increasingly relying on storytelling to highlight their business and communicate key corporate values. In the meantime, people are generally moving away from written text and making use of the possibilities of new media. Pictures say more than a thousand words - this maxim is applied to marketing and successfully integrated into product advertising.
Modern terms such as digital and liquid storytelling stand for the application of the principles in these areas. Multimedia content is used to tell a story and convince interested customers. Brands and products are brought to life through images, videos or interactive websites. Quite often, it is based on a branding campaign or a concrete product advertisement.
The campaign "U-Turn in your head" by Opel is a suitable example. It is not the products that are in the foreground, nor the brand itself, but rather Opel's campaign that attracts more attention and creates a new image for itself. At the same time, the campaign is set up in such a way that it is received by the public as both a print advertisement and a viral marketing campaign. Multi-channel marketing and storytelling go hand in hand.
Special tools and platforms can support storytelling, for example photos on slideshare or interactive content on project.
In the area of SEO, it is always about good content. Since the last updates from Google, it has become clear that content marketing is an indispensable tool in online marketing. Storytelling is an opportunity to enhance and communicate content. Depending on whether it is about creating multi-value content for websites or entire campaigns, concepts such as corporate identity or branding play an important role in storytelling.
In addition to the level of storytelling, there are also aspects that have to formally characterize the respective content so that users on the Internet can become aware of it. And search engines can also do something with this content. For example, videos or images are tagged with keywords in the ALT attribute so that a crawler can retrieve them.
The structure of such stories is also important if users and search engines are to capture them. The aspect of the narrative form is therefore accompanied by various technical aspects, which affect the accessibility of the content and ultimately also the quality. Results of successful storytelling can be: viral attention, increased traffic, social signals, branding effects or even increased conversion rates when it comes to well-done product advertising, which is ideally new, unusual, interesting and therefore convincing.