As part of building a brand, we always recommend having your brand story available. We have encouraged you to retell it often, and to use it to endear your ideal customers to your brand.
Now there’s more. The how-this-brand-got-started story is still necessary; however, story has evolved to mean more. It’s no longer just a recounting of events, but the weaving of a tale. It’s not just a Once Upon a Time proposition; it’s part of an ongoing marketing strategy known as Immersive Storytelling, and it’s sweeping the globe as a new way to create a branded experience and ‘brand’ your brand on the minds of your target audience.
Stick around to learn more about Immersive Storytelling’s media choices, purposes, characteristics…and even a scintillating example that you won’t soon forget.
A Modern Marketing Strategy: Immersive Storytelling
One of the challenges faced by marketers and brand builders is creating experiences that will fully involve and engage their ideal customers…so much that those people will feel compelled to not only do business with that brand, but to establish loyalty to that brand.
As you endeavour to create the types of stories that will draw your target audience in and bid them to become involved, it’s important to decide which forms of media you will use. Transmedia Storytelling is a hot term in use right now, and it refers to the art of storytelling in any number of forms. The form(s) that your brand chooses is highly dependent on your audience, and may include any of the following:
- prerecorded video
- live social video
- real-world, real-time staged events
- written content
- and more
As you decide upon which type(s) of media to use for telling your immersive story, let’s look at a few examples of Immersive Storytelling:
- a mystery that your target is key to solving
- a scavenger hunt
- a ‘crime’ to which your target is an accomplice
- an interactive experience in which your target is required to dress the part
- a collaboration in which your target determines the outcome of the story
These are just a few examples. The only limits to Immersive Storytelling as a marketing strategy are your own imagination and your brand’s values. Here are some qualities that every immersive story should possess:
- The creation of an experience: In order for your brand to be remembered by all the right people, those people should not only read about your brand, they should experience real happenings that solidify your brand with memorable events. Immersive Storytelling doesn’t just tell a story; it involves your ideal customers–creating for them memories that are stronger, longer-lasting and more effective in establishing loyalty.
- The stirring of emotion: Today’s consumers make emotional purchasing decisions. Most purchases are based on how a brand makes the buyer feel, rather than the product itself. Find out what emotion(s) your ideal clients are craving, and use your Immersive Story to trigger those emotions. Your targets will associate your brand with that positive experience (whether it’s creating a positive emotion or relieving a negative one).
- The endearing of your brand to ideal customers: Consumers crave the feeling of having a personal connection with a brand’s key players. They want to know that you share their values and that they have something in common with you. Demonstrate those values through Immersive Storytelling, with attention toward elements like empathy, and they will feel a connection that’s difficult to deny.
- The impression of ownership: Any person’s mentality will change when they shift from feeling like an outsider to feeling like they ‘have a say’ in the outcome of any situation. If you effectively involve key players through Immersive Storytelling, you will find that they’re more willing to go out of their ways to enact their own word-of-mouth marketing strategy, for the growth of your brand.
- The creation of a ‘club’ feel: Sometimes all it takes to feel a sense of belonging is to be in the same virtual space as others with whom you have something in common. Immersive Storytelling has the power to do this. As people who are intrigued get ‘sucked in,’ they join others who have done the same. This creates a tribe…something every brand should have.
- The fulfilment of hero status: If you find that your ideal customers are looking for a way to ‘matter,’ or a way to feel like a hero—or at the very least to be a difference maker—well then Immersive Storytelling will not only give them that power (through the right media and storyline), it will give you brand power in the market.
- The achievement of entertainer status: In many markets, information’s best channel is through entertainment. For their target audiences, the prospect of having to digest bland facts is enough to drive them away; however, give them something useful disguised as entertainment, and they’ll not only be well-educated, they’ll be loyal brand advocates. The possibilities here are limited only by your audience’s preferences and your willingness to experiment.
The command that this type of storytelling can have over an audience is mind-boggling. Consider this example:
Susan Bonds of 42 Entertainment tells the story of Nine Inch Nails, an American rock band, coming to her with a request for something that would revolutionise their brand and the way it captivates its audience. Susan studied the band’s audience and concocted a story that would involve intrigue, mystery and excitement built around devotion to the band. She hid unmarked thumb drives around a concert venue, each of which contained an unreleased Nine Inch Nails song. One was found by a concert-goer in the men’s restroom, and just as Susan predicted, he took it home, searched for the song, realised it was so-far unrecorded…and hit the internet with what he had found. Others argued that it couldn’t be so, and did their own research on the matter. The result was a firestorm of attention for the band. People were involved, they got to feel important, targeted emotions were high…and it all resulted in people who not only realised the level of their devotion to this band, but whose actions caused a spike in web traffic and new level of attention for the Nine Inch Nails’ brand.
I could spend all day listing examples of Immersive Storytelling, but the guidelines really are already inside your mind. Know your audience. Get into their shoes and stay there. Trust them to do, within the parameters of the story, what you expect them to do and always remember…
Immersed = Involved
Involve them, and they will be immersed.
This subject is so intriguing. The number of positive things it can do for your marketing strategy is limitless. And it’s one of the things we talk about in our B.R.A.N.D. Building Bootcamp—a full-day, fully immersive branding and marketing experience that will open your eyes to all the possibilities available to your brand. Register here, and don’t forget to consider the deep discounts for early birds.